News > New projects in historical music and dance – Mozart and court ballet

New projects in historical music and dance – Mozart and court ballet


The turn of July saw two premieres of Musica Florea orchestra at the HAMU Summer Stage. The first one revived rococo ballets from the Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart period, the second one dealt with the court ballet Phasma Dionysiacum Pragense, which was staged after 400 years. Both performances took place in the transport theatre Florea Theatrum.

New projects in historical music and dance – Mozart and court ballet


The Mozartiana project is the result of cooperation with Hartig Ensemble – Dances and ballet of Three Centuries with Helena Kazárová as the choreographer and director. The premiere took place on 29th June and offered an evening with several pieces from the rococo period. The introduction was a short pastoral ballet Narcis and Palimene, which is the overture to Christopher Willibald Gluck’s La Danza opera. The premiere of W. A. Mozart’s Les petits riens composed in Paris for the famous choreographer Jean Georges Noverre in 1778 followed.

The third part reminded us of commedie dell´arte. Mozart wrote a thirty-minute piece Pantaloon and Columbine (also called Harlequinade, Masquerade or Pantomime Music) for one masquerade ball in Vienna during the carnival in 1783. The said music is also connected with his participation in the public production of the fashionable genre ballet-pantomimes according to Italian commedie dell´arte: in the letter to his father, Mozart describes that he played Harlequin, his sister-in-law played Columbine and his brother-in-law was Pierrot. “It is very personal music Mozart wrote for himself and his family, which is very precious, “says Helena Kazárová. “The composer wrote a script, whose small fragments are preserved above the first violin part but all the other parts are lost. Franz Beyer performed orchestration in the 1960s and revised in in 1995; he added the overture and finale from other Mozart’s pieces – we reevaluated his finale proposal with conductor Štryncl. Mozart had an ardent relation to dance and he was a passionate dancer. He danced publicly on the stage at the age of five in the school play “Sigismundus Hungariae Rex” in the university hall in Salzburg. It is no wonder that he also composed ballets apart from dozen dances like minuet, länder or allemande (German dance). They are not staged frequently, yet it is interesting to restore them and try to stage them in contemporary setting.”

Phasma Dionysiacum Pragense

In cooperation with In Cordis Ensemble, Chorea Historica Collegium Floreum choir, Musica Florea premiered another performance on 4th July. It revived theatre celebration Phasma Dionysiacum Pragense or Prague Dionysian Apparition. It is the biggest theatre event in Czech lands before the Thirty-Years’ War, which premiered at Prague castle in 1617. The aristocrats themselves played there as it was usual at that time, one of the characters was played by count Vilém Slavata. Phasma Dionysiacum Pragense is a court ballet, which merges opera and ballet in their historical forms as well as dancing and singing parts. The author of the libretto and the alleged director of the performance was Italian nobleman Giovanni Vincenzo d´Arco, who was also one of the actors.

Unlike music, iconographic materials and libretto in Italian are preserved, so it was necessary to compose most music parts and arias. However, participating ensembles are trying to preserve historical accuracy in staging methods or music performance using contemporary instruments and their copies. The musical reconstruction was created by lutenist Miloslav Študent, the head of In Cordis Ensemble in cooperation with Marek Štryncl, the artistic director of Musica Florea orchestra. He was also the conductor of the production. The director was Lorenzo Charoy from France, who specializes in Baroque theatre and Kateřina Klementová created choreography.

Source: Musica Florea

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