La Margarita, Schloss Schielleiten, 2017

photos: Tom Woolner

A baroque horse ballet

Opera scenes from Emilio de Cavalieris La Pellegrina, Antonio Cestis Il pomo d’oro and Orontea, Francesco Cavallis Serse and Il Giasone, Alessandro Stradellas San Giovanni Battista, ballet music by Johann Heinrich Schmelzer & Antonio Centi.

For “Tanz des Lebens” (engl. dance of life), the 2017 Styriarte summer festival, a fantastic endeavour was undertaken, the realisation of La Margarita, a baroque pastiche* opera with dancing horses. The inspiration was the historic horse ballet, from 1667 under emperor Leopold in Vienna. The setting for this revival of a forgotten art form, was the baroque castle Schielleiten and its surrounding gardens. Visitors were invited to enjoy a festival for all their senses, an afternoon of musical events and happenings around the castle grounds as well as the final opera spectacle in the evening.

Julla von Landsberg – soprano as La musica

 Flavio Ferri-Benedetti – countertenor as Herkules

 Daniel Johannsen – tenor as Kaiser Leopold I

 Jochen Kupfer – baritone as Hesperos

 Neue Hofkapelle Graz

 Trompetenconsort Innsbruck, direction: Andreas Lackner

 Thomas Höft –  chamberlain and stage production

 Michael Hell – harpsichord & musical direction

 Lilli Hartmann – set design and costumes

 Epona – Spanish Equestrian School Hungary

 Dorottya Borsó – choreography

* In music, a pasticcio or pastiche is an opera or other musical work composed of works by different composers who may or may not have been working together