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Johann Joseph Fux: Julo Ascanio, Re d‘Alba, K 304 (1708)
A baroque opera from the Viennese court as a cheerful celebration. The earliest preserved opera by the Styrian composer Johann Joseph Fux turns into an evening brimming with surprises on the occasion of the opening of the 2018 styriarte. It starts long before the bubbly Roman Alfredo Bernardini conducts the thrilling overture and ends long after the dancing final choir has sung its final note. The styriarte audience finds itself in a gala just like in 1708. “Today, on Saint Joseph’s Day, his Majesty’s name day was celebrated in a royal gala,” the Wienerische Diarium newspaper reported on 19 March 1708. On this occasion, a “sublime serenade” was performed at the Vienna Hofburg: “Julo Ascanio, Re d´Alba” by Fux …
Julo Ascanio – up until now, only connoisseurs knew that this one-act opera with its 15 arias encompasses a firework of brilliant ideas. Alfredo Bernardini and his baroque orchestra Zefira will quickly change this fact. They bring out the Italian in Fux, who was able to compose in such a “light and natural” way. Young baroque voices slip into the roles of the famous castratos and prima donnas of the Viennese court for whose “familiar throats” Fux wrote his “sweet” melodies. But there is also a lot going on dramaturgically when Julus Ascanius – the hero of the story – courts stubborn Emilia. They eventually end up together and centuries later, the Habsburg dynasty will originate from this bond. The emperors in Vienna believed in this myth just like Julius Caesar once did, who also thought of Julus Ascanius as his ancestor.
To transfer the story of this opera from the antique town Alba Longa to the Graz of today, the styriarte has to give its very best: The light artists of OchoReSotto bathe the antique story in magical light, while Lilli Hartmann contributes her bizarre baroque costumes. This creates a magnificent atmosphere that allows the baroque “Serenata” to unfold its entire magic. Before and after the concert, the celebration continues in the “garden of bliss” next to the Helmut List Halle.
Our first opera fest begins and ends in the styriarte Garden of Bliss, which is open as from 5pm. Enjoying the styriarte set meal would be an ideal way to start the evening, but that’s entirely up to you. The main part of the evening will take place in Helmut List Halle. After the concert, you are invited to join us in the garden for a bite to eat, which will be an integrated part of the story.