L’ARIANNA All that has been preserved of Monteverdi’s Ariadne is the libretto and part of the score of the 4th act, containing the famous Lamento of the abandoned heroine of the title. This free reconstruction gave rise to a new theatre form that surrounds and, using new visual and musical relationships, explains the uniquely-preserved musical fragment. Ottavio Rinuccini’s original libretto is a guide with which to tell a story about a woman who breaks all prohibitions for love, is humiliated and then subsequently abandoned by her lover on an inhospitable island. At the point of her deepest personal crisis, as she is preparing to say goodbye to life, she meets the god of wine who makes her his wife. The opera is reconstructed on the basis of period sources scattered in archives all over Europe. At the Opera 2020 biennale Olomouc’s Ensemble Damian won the Audience Award for this free reconstruction of Claudio Monteverdi’s Baroque opera L’Arianna, created by composers Vít Zouhar and Tomáš Hanzlík.
It is remarkable to see how Kristýna Vylíčilová, in the most demanding title role, manages to adapt to the changes of style. Not only does she manage the minimalistic sequences brilliantly, but above all her interpretation of the Lamento, with the subtle accompaniment of the theorbo and the viola da gamba, is a truly moving lament over lost love, painful recriminations and the determination to end her life. A wonderful contrast to Vylíčilová’s soprano is the more dramatic soprano of Dora Rubart-Pavlíková not only as Ariadne’s companion Dorilla; Rubart-Pavlíková also makes use of her comic talent in the role of a humorous parody of the goddess Venus. A firm and deep bass foundation is provided by Jiří Poláček, who plays the Advisor, the Fisherman and Jupiter, who at the end, after all the laments, welcomes the married couple Ariadne and Bacchus to heaven. Zouhar and Hanzlík’s adaptation also makes plentiful use of ensembles, and in these other soloists shine, including the tenor Filip Dámec as the treacherous lover Theseus. A work and production have been created that vault four centuries of the development of the operatic genre, connecting, in an ancient myth, its beginnings and current approach into a unified whole that oscillates in an interesting way between the tragic and the comic.
– HELENA HAVLÍKOVÁ, Lidové noviny
TOMÁŠ HANZLÍK (1972) The artistic head of the Ensemble Damian and also the impresario of the travelling theatre Theatrum Schrattenbach. He graduated from the Department of Musical Education at the Pedagogical Faculty of Palacký University in Olomouc, as well as from the Department of Musicology at the Faculty of Arts of the same university. In addition to his teaching activity he is involved in creating critical editions of old Czech music. From 1996–1998 he was the classical and folk music correspondent of Czech Radio Olomouc. Since 1993 he has performed as a conductor, vocalist and stringed instrument player. In 2006 he staged the Czech premiere of Steve Reich’s Three Tales, and himself is the author of the operas Yta innocensis and Lacrimae Alexandri Magni. He describes his compositions as neo-Baroque minimalism.
ENSEMBLE DAMIAN Since its first public performance in 1993 the Ensemble Damian has focused almost exclusively on authentic interpretation of Baroque and contemporary music. It draws on the rich collections in the Czech and Moravian archives, and works with composers Vít Zouhar and Tomáš Hanzlík, who is the group’s artistic head. The Ensemble Damian has a flexible number of members, depending on the work being performed. When playing Baroque music it uses copies of period instruments. It is affiliated to the Department of Musical Education of Palacký University in Olomouc. The largest event in which the company has taken part to date was the 2011 Prague Baroque Festival, during which the Ensemble played a marathon of 72 performances. The event became the inspiration for the founding of the Olomouc Baroque Festival, which the company initiated. It first took place in 2013.