Venus and the elements: Music and dance from the era of the Sun King

Opening gala evening with Baroque illumination of the Castle Garden

Friday 19/07 2019, 21:00

Baroque fountain in Castle Garden

Venus and the elements: Music and dance from the era of the Sun King

Opening gala evening with Baroque illumination of the Castle Garden

Admission fee includes banquet

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Choreography, direction, script: Prof. Helena Kazárová, Ph.D.
Production designer: Roman Šolc
Set designer: Ing. arch. Václav Krajc
Specialist adviser: Pavel Slavko

Assistant director: Leona Primová
Choreography assistants: Veronika Brzková, Miroslav Stehlík

Dance: Hartig Ensemble and guests
In the role of Venus: Ida Fišerová
In the role of Apollo: Francesco Scarpato (IT)

Program: J. F. Rebel (Les Éléments), J. B. Lully, M. Marais et al. (Divertissement royal), G. F. Händel (Water Music, Suite No. 2)

The spectacular performance titled “Music and dance for the Sun King” will outline the period of the French monarch Louis XIV, who loved music and dance, staged a number of musical-dance performances and also performed in them himself. The first time was in 1651, when he was still a boy and performed in the Ballet de la Nuit. At the time he was accompanied by Jean-Baptiste Lully, the king’s court composer and bandmaster, who later composed other ballets for the young Louis and became his confidant. The performance at the Baroque fountain of the Castle Garden will be completed by the music of Lully’s contemporaries.

The Castle Garden with the fountain portraying antique deities of water and harvest is a perfect place for the celebration of the genius loci of the Český Krumlov Castle and at the same time for the reminiscence of Baroque feasts, the focal point of which was dance. This happened above all thanks to Louis XIV, who used his dance role of Apollo as a metaphor for his fame and power. Everybody headed to his court including the duke of Český Krumlov Johann Christian of Eggenberg. Thanks to the music, dance and the sophisticated art of illumination and other effects we will be transported to their era and at the same time we will celebrate earth, air, water and also fire symbolizing the heat of the sun (Apollo) and the ardour of love (Venus).

Prof. Helena Kazárová, Ph.D. specializes in the movement culture of the past centuries both practically and theoretically. In the field of Baroque dance, she studied and cooperated with numerous international specialists, above all with Marc Leclerq. She dedicates herself to period interpretation means (gestures and movement on stage) in the repertoire of the 17th and 18th century and uses such knowledge for staging works of musical theatre from the Baroque to the Preromantic period. She has been cooperating with the Musica Florea orchestra for ten years already and together with this orchestra and others she has produced a large number of theatre projects as well as opera and ballet works which were presented at prestigious festivals both in the Czech Republic and abroad: Armida (G. Scarlatti), Didone abbandonata (G. Angiolini), Terpsichore (G. F. Händel), La danza (Ch.W. Gluck), Costanza e fortezza (J. J. Fux), Die Geschöpfe des Prometheus (L. van Beethoven), Dioclesian (H. Purcell), Der aus der Löwengrübe errettete Daniel (G. Ph. Telemann), Mozartiana and others. She is a professor at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. Since 1997 she has been the artistic director of the Hartig Ensemble – Dances and Ballets of Three Centuries, which she founded. She is an author of two books about Baroque dance and ballet and of many specialist studies and is regularly invited to international conferences as a researcher.


The Hartig Ensemble is a free grouping of professional dancers who have been focusing on the interpretation of dances of “three centuries”, i.e. from late Renaissance to early Romanticism, including Spanish dances (“escuela bolera”) for a number of years under the leadership of Prof. Helena Kazárová Ph.D. The ensemble closely cooperates with the department of dance of the Music and Dance Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague based in the Hartig Palace in the Lesser Quarter in Prague, where the ensemble also rehearses. It is a chamber orchestra, but it often also invites guests, important personalities of the world of dance. Since its foundation in 1997 the ensemble has cooperated with a number of ensembles and musicians which dedicate themselves to historically informed interpretation and together they have started discovering forgotten repertoire which consists of both ball dances (suitable also as ceremonial opening dances) and virtuosic theatre dances, dance acts in operas from the 17th and 18th century and individual ballet works. Since the beginning of its activity the ensemble has been restoring dances according to preserved historical sources (e.g. Baroque dances according to graphic records in the so-called Beauchamp–Feuillet notation). These reconstructed dances are the basis of chamber programs.

Ida Fišerová graduated from the Dance Conservatory in Prague under the leadership of Aneta Voleská and Pavel Ždichynec and received an engagement at the National Theatre in Prague. She interpreted a number of roles from the classical as well as contemporary repertoire, for example Spring Fairy in Cindrella by S. Prokofiev, several roles in Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker (choreography by Y. Grigorovich), Infanta in the ballet Isadora Duncan (choreography by L. Vaculík), Fairy of Generosity and Little Red Riding Hood in Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty, the title role in Ravel’s L’Enfant et les sortilèges (choreography by J. Kylián) and she also danced many roles in Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake. Audiences had the opportunity to see her in J. Cranko’s (Taming of the Shrew) and P. Zuska’s (Among the Mountains, Ways 03) choreographies among others. At the J. K. Tyl Theatre in Pilsen she played the role of Amor in Don Quixote by L. Minkus. Ida Fišerová received a master’s degree in dance pedagogy at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague and was active as a teacher at the Dance Conservatory in Prague. Since 2015 she has been appearing with the Hartig Ensemble as a guest in historical ballets, for example, Didone abbandonata, La Guirlande enchantée and The Creatures of Prometheus, and she teaches in her own ballet school.

Francesco Scarpato was born in Naples. He graduated from the ballet school of the Teatro alla Scala in Milan under the leadership of Anna Maria Prina, Frédéric Olivieri and Leonid Nikonov. In 2008-2010 he had an engagement at the National Theatre in Brno, where he interpreted the virtuosic solo Entrée d´Apollon from 1704 for the first time under the leadership of Helena Kazárová. Since August 2010 he has been a member of the National Theatre Ballet in Prague and he has been a soloist since 2015. With the National Theatre Ballet ensemble he dances in many ballets of the classical repertoire as well as in the most contemporary choreographies thanks to his masterful dance technique, great musicality and versatile dramatic talent. He has danced in ballets by Youri Vámos, Petr Zuska, Kenneth Greve, John Crank, Jean-Christophe Maillot, Christopher Bruce, William Forsythe, Javier Torres, Geoge Balanchine and Jiří Kylián.

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