28 JUNE, FRIDAY 7.30 pm
29 JUNE, SATURDAY 7.30 pm
2nd - 4th Castle Courts, Masquerade Hall, Casing Hall, Baroque Theatre, Castle Garden

Baroque Night in Český Krumlov Castle ®

Jiří Stivín, Alla Danza, CK Brass Quintet, The Hadr, Echt Street Puppets, En Garde! – Sun horses, Fantescas, Flauti cantanti, Krumlov Pipers, Ludus Musicus, Wagabundus Collective and pupils of the Primary Arts School in Český Krumlov as a pantomime in Baroque masks, children’s Schwarzenberg Guard

BAROQUE FIREWORKS

Master of ceremony Pavol Smolárik
Commedia dell´arte Josef Wiesner, Eliška Boušková, Richard Fiala, Vítek Maštalíř
Commander of the Schwarzenberg Guard Justin Svoboda

Baroque opera

Antoine Dauvergne
Libretto by Jean Joseph Vadé
LES TROQUEURS / THE BARTERERS / HANDLÍŘI

CAPELLA REGIA
Robert Hugo
 – artistic director
Magdalena Švecová – stage director
František Dofek – choreographer

The Baroque Night in Český Krumlov Castle combines within a single evening a broad scale of 18th-century genres, ranging from commedia dell’arte street performances, Baroque songs and dances, opera and period entertainments, to flower and food arrangements and garden illumination with Baroque fireworks. A harmonious interconnection of senses and enjoyments, images and tones, playfulness and imagination. Endeavours for historical authenticity adorned with the contemporary creative reality. The Baroque Night not only aims to present a historically faithful copy, it also strives to draw the audience into the multilayered Baroque world, making them direct participants in a Baroque festivity, an extremely popular type of entertainment in the 17th and 18th centuries. As has become a tradition, the Baroque Night starts before the visitors have entered the second courtyard, where they will be welcomed by the guide through the evening. En route to the fourth courtyard, the guests will be accompanied by figures in Baroque masks, the music by the Krumlov pipers, street Baroque spectacles and the legendary Schwarzenberg Guard, who over two centuries not only adorned the castle’s second courtyard but also served to afford prestige to many generations of the Schwarzenberg family. The programme at the Masquerade Hall juxtaposes two very different worlds. The contrast between the buoyancy and impishness of the servants (English early-Baroque counterdances) and the refinement and nobleness of the courtiers (French la belle danse style, which originated during the reign of Louis XIV). The programme will be performed by the Prague and Brno sections of the Alla Danza company and the Ludus musicus ensemble. At the Mirror Hall, the guests can try their luck by participating in Baroque gaming. The audience can freely roam through the illuminated castle from 7 pm onwards, after entering the first courtyard. We recommend that you arrive in time so as not to miss the gala opening of the Baroque Night in the fourth courtyard at 7.45 pm. We wish you an inspiring Baroque experience.

 

Jean Joseph Vadé - Antoine Dauvergne
Les Troqueurs / The Barterers
Synopsis

Lubin and Lucas are supposed to get married soon, as they are bound by contracts with their fiancées. Yet the two friends are not sure whether they have chosen the best brides (Lubin: On ne peut trop tôt se mettre en ménage). Lucas is engaged to Fanchon, but he finds her too laid-back and languorous. Lubin is engaged to Margot, but he finds her too flighty and querulous (Lubin: Margot, morbleu, est pas trop joyeuse). Consequently, the two young men decide to swap partners and tear the marriage agreements to pieces (the duet Troquons, troquons). The girls initially do not understand what is going on, and are disappointed and outraged by inconstant love (Fanchon: D'un amant inconstant, l'amour se venge). Fanchon and Margot secretly agree that they will pretend to be content. They plan to demonstrate to the young men that their idea is foolish indeed. Lucas tells Margot that he wants to make her happy, whereupon she says that although she feels flattered, she expects him to earn plenty of money, as she loves abundance, games and dancing. Otherwise, he will face derision and fury (Margot: Ah! qu'il me tarde de te voir, mon époux). Lucas realises that he has made a mistake and that Fanchon is the woman he should marry (Lucas: Pauvre Lucas, quelle est ta peine?). Lubin too starts to regret his choice, awakening to the fact that he likes the explosive Margot more than the sloppy and inert Fanchon (Lubin: Sa nonchalance serait mon tourment). He asks Margot to take him back, but she ironically rejects his offer, ridiculing him and twisting his words (the duet: Sans rire, comment va le désir conjugal? - Mal!). Lubin and Lucas beg for pardon – the ladies refuse, yet they make the men promise to obey them in all things. Only then do Fanchon and Margot reconcile with their suitors. A dance pantomime is held to celebrate the double wedding, in which the main role is played by the two couples’ servants. After they eat and drink their fill, the servants perform a short story, showing what happens when the Cupid shoots his arrow at the wrong moment ...

 

Baroque opera

 
Antoine Dauvergne – Jean Joseph Vadé
LES TROQUEURS / THE BARTERERS / HANDLÍŘI

CAPELLA REGIA
Robert Hugo
 – artistic director
Magdalena Švecová – stage director
František Dofek – choreographer

Marie Fajtová – Fanchon
Zuzana Benešová – Margot
Daniel Kfelíř – Lubin
Tomáš Votava – Lucas

Alla Danza Brno Baroque

Antoine Dauvergne (1713–1797) was born in Moulins in the province of Auvergne, France. He probably received his initial violin training from his father. In the late 1730s, he moved to Paris, where he gained recognition as a performer and composer (his mentor was Jean-Philippe Rameau). The majority of his early works were written for the chamber formation made up of the violin and basso continuo instruments, in line his own inclination, as well as with a view to meeting the demand on the printed sheet music market. In 1751, Dauvergne was promoted from the post of the violinist to the director of the Académie royale de musique (the name of the Opéra de Paris prior to the French Revolutin), as a result of which he was afforded the opportunity to compose stage works. He created ballets and operas, primarily the grand-scale five-act tragédies lyriques, but his oeuvre also contains cantatas, motets, violin and trio sonatas. The greatest acclaim and popularity from among his pieces was earned by his 1753 one-act comic opera Les Troqueurs. Until the late 1780s, Dauvergne’s career was thriving, as he occupied prominent positions at the major French music institutions. In addition to heading the Académie royale de musique, between 1762 and 1773 he served as the director of the Concerts spirituels, an influential public concert series, attended by the French aristocracy, wealthy bourgeois and foreign visitors to Paris. His career was cut short in 1789 by French Revolution, which led to dramatic social changes. In 1790, Dauvergne moved from Paris to Lyon, where he would spend the rest of his life.

With regard to his professional path, it is rather paradoxical that Dauvergne did not create his most lauded and most noted opera for the prestigious Académie royale de musique, but for the much humbler (competing) Théâtre de la Foire Saint-Laurent, one of the two venues used by the Opéra-Comique, which in 1714 acquired a licence to perform on its stage comedies with inserted songs and dance scenes. Unlike the performances at the theatres founded by the king (Comédie-Française and Académie royale de musique), the shows hosted at the Théâtre de la Foire Saint-Laurent were attended by lower-class, and more heterogeneous, audiences. Accordingly, the operas it staged were mainly simple-structured, with their musical numbers not being original, but taken over from vaudeville comedies and supplied with new texts. Owing to its quality, Dauvergne’s Les Troqueurs was exceptional in this respect, and is deemed to be a landmark work in the French comic opera tradition. To a large extent, it was a positive outcome of the “Querelle des Bouffons”, a battle between rival musical philosophies in Paris, which was sparked by the reaction of the local literary circles to a performance of Giovanni Battista Pergolessi’s buffa La serva padrona by an itinerant Italian troupe at the Académie royale de musique in the summer of 1752. The show was a triumph, yet it also gave rise to a controversy between the defenders of the French operatic tradition and the champions of Italian music, who attacked the stiffness and artificiality of tragédies lyriques. Even though the criticism mainly aimed at tragedy, it would soon include French opera in general.

The situation was taken advantage of by Jean Monnet, who at the beginning of 1752 was appointed director of the Opéra-Comique company. According to his memoirs, he contacted the librettist Jean-Joseph Vadé and asked him to write a text for an opera based on a tale by La Fontaine. Monnet wanted to entrust the music, which was supposed to be in the spirit of Italian buffa, to a French composer, with Antoine Dauvergne appearing to him as the most suitable candidate. Dauvergne allegedly completed the new work within a mere 15 days. Anticipating that the vehement advocates of Italian opera were likely to reject everything French out of hand, Monnet resorted to a ruse: he spread the rumours that he had commissioned the libretto from an Italian composer living in Vienna, who had a good knowledge of the French language. Les Troqueurs was an immediate success, and Monnet, with a degree of malignity, enjoyed the praise on the part of the tricked Italian opera partisans, although when he revealed the deception they were furious. When it comes to Dauvergne, he adroitly brought to bear the buffa techniques, unprecedented in French comic opera, including melodies, sung recitatives, arias (or rather ariettas) da capo, as well as numerous ensembles. At the same time, he accommodated the taste of the local audience by incorporating a final short ballet number, a component that was inherent in the theatre forms in France at the time.

In a matter of fact, Monnet’s false claim that the opera was of Viennese provenience might have come across as credible. In the 1750s, French plays and comic operas constituted a significant part of the repertoire of the Burgtheater, in compliance with Empress Maria Theresa’s penchant for them, as well as due to the political objectives pursued by her Chancellor, Wenzel Kaunitz. After all, French was the prevailing (if not the primary) language of communication between the Austrian noblemen. The Burgtheater was regularly attended by Prince Josef Adam of Schwarzenberg (1722–1782), an ardent lover of music and theatre, who most likely saw there a performance of Les Toqueurs. The opera was first staged in Vienna in 1758, when the libretto was printed too. We do not know when precisely the Schwarzenberg copy was made, yet as the family usually procured transcripts of new works shortly after their premieres in Vienna, we can conjecture they did so in this case too. The Schwarzenberg music collection contains copies of the instrumental parts, which suggests that the material was not only intended for exploration but also served for performances. After all, Les Toqueurs, a relatively easy-to-stage one act opera, featuring merely four protagonists, was suitable for household shows. And if the Schwazenbergs held its performance some time at the turn of the 1750s and 1760, the actors had to make do with the premises of one of the family’s palaces, since the Český Krumlov Castle theatre was too dilapidated at the time (before it was revamped and given its current appearance).