The mature musical works of Josef Myslive?ek (1737-1781) are rightly compared to the pieces his close friend and admirer W. A. Mozart wrote in his mid-period. Although the opera L’Olimpiade, dating from 1778, is one of the most accomplished of Myslive?ek’s compositions, it has virtually been omitted from the modern operatic repertoire. This is the first-ever National Theatre production. Myslive?ek’s L’Olimpiade has many renowned predecessors composed to Metastasio’s libretto, including Antonio Vivaldi’s and Giovanni Battista Pergolesi’s versions. The dramatic talent of the Czech, who gained unprecedented fame as an “Italian” opera composer, is still highly valued.
Against the backdrop of the Ancient Greek Olympic Games, a symbol of the Classical ideal of a mentally and physically balanced man, another timeless “fight for primacy” takes place with a certain bitter undertone – the close friends Megacle and Lycidas have no inkling that they are striving for the love of the same woman. Circumstances gradually force them to take fateful decisions – they either dishonour their friendship and the promises once given or renounce their love. We are presented with a view of the reverse side of human relationships, the heedless blindness of desire and passion which, just like excessive trust in friendship, leads to injudicious actions. Václav Luks and his Collegium 1704 orchestra will explore and present the work in a historically informed interpretation. And the stage direction, entrusted to Ursel promises another exciting integration of “early opera” and sophisticated contemporary theatre poeticism.