JEWEL OF THE BAROQUE, A – THE STORY OF THE CASTLE THEATRE IN KRUMLOV
Pulleys, tracks and strong arms – Behind the scenes of an incredible opera house
Lovers of Baroque opera had every reason to rejoice recently when the comic opera “Dove è amore è gelosia” by Giuseppe Scarlatti was rediscovered in the archives of the ducal palace of Cesky Krumlov in the Czech Republic. For not only was a sparkling opera full of lively ensemble pieces awakened to new life, but it also marked a historical milestone: Scarlatti’s work was the first opera performed at the newly rebuilt castle theater in 1768, a work commissioned by Duke Schwarzenberg for the wedding of his son Prince Joseph Adam of Schwarzenberg.
To mark the completion of the restoration of the castle theater, Scarlatti’s work was staged in 2011 in a historical reconstruction employing the original theater machinery, decorations, costumes, props, lighting technology, etc. As a companion piece to the recording of this one-of-a-kind performance, Clasart Classic now presents a one-hour documentary that gives us a backstage look at the theater’s fascinating Baroque technology, and at the men and women who infused the work and the theater with new life!
Guided by the exuberant castellan Pavel Slavko, we learn that the aim of the restoration was to preserve all authentic elements as much as possible – restoration through conservation. As he takes us on a behind-the-scenes tour amidst ropes, cranks and pulleys, amidst props that slide and rise and descend, we marvel at the wonders achieved with clever mechanisms and strong arms!
Joining Slavko is stage director Ondrej Havelka, who explains how he sought to revive old theatrical customs such as specific hand motions used to convey emotions or other information. Conductor Vojtech Spurný, in his turn, reflects on musical matters concerning Scarlatti – the nephew of the more famous Domenico, and one of the leading opera composers of the 1760s and 70s – and the performance of Baroque comic opera in this wonderful jewel of a theater!