The Carnival of Venice

André Campra’s 1699 Opera for Versailles
(concert performance)


Judith van Wanroij - soprano (Isabelle / Eurydice)
Mathias Vidal - tenor (Orphée)
Marie Lenormand - mezzosoprano (Léonore / Une Ombre)
Thomas Dolié - baritone (Léandre)
Lisandro Abadie - bassbaritone (Rodolphe / Pluton)


Jana Semerádová - artistic director
Lenka Torgersen - concertmaster


Thursday 4. 8. 2016, 19.30
Prague Castle, The Spanish Hall


Supported by the French Institute in Paris, the French Institute in Prague and in collaboration with the Centre de musique baroque de Versailles and the Prague Castle Administration, and within the concert cycle “Music of the Prague Castle”.


It must have been a memorable event when the opera-ballet Carnaval de Venice by André Campra was premiered in the Salle du Palais-Royal in Paris in 1699. Campra combined the world of commedie dell’arte with Roman mythology into a grand whole and, in order to evoke the atmosphere of Venice in the heart of Paris, he fused the French and Italian style. As one critic remarked after the modern premiere of the opera, Campra masterfully commingled the signature style of Lully with elements of Monteverdi, thus paving the way for the music of Haendel and Rameau. The festive concert performance of Campra’s opera at the close of the Summer Festivities of Early Music hosted a cast of exquisite vocal soloists, Judith Van Wanroij, Mathias Vidal, Marie Lenormand, Thomas Dolié, and Lisandro Abadie, accompanied by the Collegium Marianum orchestra directed by Jana Semerádová. The Spanish Hall of the Prague Castle shone with all the sounding colors of Harlequin’s costume.


Concert Programme

André Campra (1660–1744)
Le carnaval de Venise (1699)
opéra-ballet (concert performance)


The Carnival of Venice in Paris or French-Italian Opera Friendship
Opera PLUS, 8. 5. 2016, David Chaloupka
[...] The performance of the opera in Prague by Collegium Marianum under the baton of Jana Semerádová was by all means a success. […] What is to be appreciated, considering that this was a concert performance of an operatic work, was the shape in which the artistic director of the orchestra, Jana Semeradová, presented the work to the listeners at the final performance of the 17th international music festival Summer Festivities of Early Music. It was a thought-out, dynamic whole, composed of a number of selected arias and recitatives which revealed the general development of the story line and the contrasting character of the individual characters. […]


The orchestra (composed of 32 players) rendered the score with great vivacity, musical colour and joyful musicality. The onomatopoeic moments were wittily supported by the percussions and the singers were elegantly accompanied by the harpsichord of Elisabeth Geiger. The conductor remarkably differentiated the various states of mind contained in the score, including the comical, satiric moments, elements of royal opera and folk music, as well as the emotional upheavals of the typified characters (jealousy, love, revengefulness, desponcency etc.). The singers were all very professional and well chosen for their parts in this concert performance. Still, they were all visibly aware of performing an operatic work, still valid and vivacious, accompanying their singing with relevant gesture and expression thus making it easier for the visitors to understand the development of the individual characters. […]

Judith van Wanroij was able to render dramatic as well as comic parts. Her detailed approach to the interpretation of her part was apparent in her performance, especially the clarity of pronounciation and the flexible voice […] Lisandro Abadie´s versatile bass with a sonorous lower and well controlled upper registers was ideal for the rendering of the vengeful Italian (and later on Pluto).


A very temperamental way of singing, slightly different in its intensity from the other soloists, was characteristic of the parts of the Bohemian and Orfeo, performed by Mathias Vidal. An experienced tenor, Vidal frequently performs also parts from the French haute-contre repertoire. His Prague performance was much more persuasive than the one I had a chance to hear last week in Rameau’s Les Indes galantes in Munich. […]


The audience reacted spontaneously to the work, especially the dance numbers with catchy rhythms, supported by the elgant dance gestures of the conductor which are an inerent part of her performance and musical leadership.