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Johann Heinrich Schmelzer

„Magnificent concerts in a period of time.“

The description of project

The project focuses on the interpretation of 2 re-discovered Baroque serenades and is based on the co-production of the artistic components that will jointly participate in the overall production of opera performances. The most important element in the project is the partners. From Slovakia and Poland we will introduce the string section and players on the traverso, the Hungarian clarinists, the other musicians from the Czech Republic. The singers are going to be from University of North Texas.

With this project we want to show the audience a perfect Baroque interpretation, which would be impossible without foreign partners. With all the V4 countries, the Czech Republic has a long common past.

The project leader is the Ensemble Damian, whose artistic director has a wealth of experience with the reconstruction of forgotten Baroque operas.

Especially for these baroque operas, baroque costumes will be produced for the singers. Musicians will perform in black.

Within the framework of the project, a baroque improvisation will be held before the premiere, as the two operas are built on baroque improvisation. The visitor will be able to hear short short stories on the theme of baroque instruments (traverso, clarina, theorba, etc.), and will then witness the previously untrained Baroque improvisation. With this project, we want to focus on lay and professional audiences.

The Baroque operas will be presented at the festival of the Olomouc Baroque Festival and will be shown to the public on the boards of the replica of the baroque Schrattenbach Theater (which is owned by the main partner of the project) in the Baroque Jesuit Konvikt in the baroque Moravian town of Olomouc.

We want to start cooperation at the international level, which will continue after the end of the project.


The launch of the project is foreseen for June 2018 and its completion for September 2019.

Each group of artists will have dedicated time specifically to try these two operas. The musicians' exams would be individual at first. For the sake of sound singing, the singers would initially pass the trials (2-3) with Rocc, and then have room for individual preparation.

The first general exam will take place 2 days before the premiere of the Baroque performance in Olomouc. The premiere of both serenations will be held in the Olomouc Baroque Festival in July 2019.

Project goal

The aim of the project is to rebuild two Baroque serenades from the J. H. Schmelzer, who belonged to his favorite Baroque composers at the time. We do not want to focus only on the professional public, but we also want to show to the naked audience the work that, thanks to the composition of the orchestra from all the countries of Visegrad 4, will interpret as much as possible the Baroque art.

All public (without the limits)

We are an Opera Ambulant, we focus on all public (including children, students, older people). We do not have a target group, which is more important than the others.

Through this project we want to attract more lovers of Baroque music. We are not targeting specific target groups.

What's news

Baroque improvisation workshop

As part of the project, a baroque improvisation workshop took place in Olomouc.

The first rehearsal

The first rehearsal of singers in Olomouc

The first meeting

The first meeting of the director and singers

We are preparing

Costume by Borjan Litovski

Meeting of team

Meeting of project’s team in Laxenburg in winter 2019.

Singers are from University of North Texas


Johann Heinrich Schmelzer - biography

His early years are hardly known. He probably came to Vienna in to the thirties of the 17th century, when he was a composer and musician in the Habsburg service where he stayed for the rest of his life.

Schmelzer was one of the most important violinists of his time. One of his contemporaries in 1660 about Schmelzer writes about "the most accomplished violinist in Europe". They have made a significant contribution to the development of violins' gaming and compositional techniques, which until then were mainly Italian musicians. He has devised the development of the sonata form and suites in Austria and southern Germany.

Significant are his Sonatae unarum fidium from 1664, which is the first collection of sonata for violin and basso continuo published by the German-speaking composer. The compositions do not have excellent virtuosity, substructure, or bassocontin variation, typical of the violoncello sonata of the Baroque. His violin sonatas are also known, mimicking animal sounds.

He was the leading Austrian composer of then instrumental music, the leading generation in Austrian targeting with a significant influence on the later German, Austrian (and Czech) violin composers. He was heavily influenced especially by a violinist and composer from North Bohemian Straz pod Ralskem, Heinrich I. F. Biber (1644-1704), who was his friend and probably also one of Schmelzer's pupils.

Emperor Leopold I, also an outstanding musician and composer, was fond of a close friendship. On April 13, 1671, the Emperor appointed him as the deputy director of his court bands, where he assumed the duties of ailing actor Giovanni Felice Sance. His performance of this office, coupled with his current work and his ever-growing reputation, besides his personal friendship, as well as his father's military achievements he described in his petition, could have been an impulse for Leopold I to award a noble title. In 1673 he was given the "von Ehrenruef" predicate. This title was later taken over by his eldest son Andreas Anton (1653-1701), who was also a composer and violinist, as well as other sons.

Only after Sances' death on November 24, 1679, J. H. Schmelzer was officially appointed as the court bandmaster, the first non-Italian origin of the imperial band. His contract for this position came into force only in Prague on December 18, 1679, where the emperor with his family and court relocated because of the raging plague epidemic in Vienna. The Prague Treaty was signed retroactively from July 1, but could not really be fulfilled until October 1. However, Schmelzer was able to perform his new job only for several months, since in 1680 he became a victim of the plague, which in the meantime also hit Prague.


Le Veglie ossequiose

The work was compiled to mark the birthday of Emperor Leopold I, celebrated on June 9th. The design took place at Laxenburg Castle on the surface of the ditch in the castle garden. The author of the text was the imperial court poet Nicolò Minato. There are five characters in the work - allegories: Fortuna, Virtù, Giubilio, Piacere, Il silentio notturno. The emperor's virtues compare to the infinite sea, while emphasizing the necessity of waking during his voyage.


  • Fortuna
  • Virtú
  • Giubilio
  • Piacere
  • Il silentio notturno

Die sieben Alter stimben zu samben

The Serenate was carried out on the evening of 18 January on the birthday of the Archbishop of Austria, Marie Antonie. In writing, librettist Johann Albrecht Rudolph of Ptolemy's breakdown of human life led to seven stages. Childhood celebrates the beauty of the Archduke and puts it on Venus. Time keeps this beauty forever. All the characters promise to follow the Archduke and remain faithful to her. It also loves the Wisdom and Virtue. The adult age sends to the world of Fama to declare that she is bowing before the Archduke. A reasonable age promises to please Maria Antonia with fertility. The upcoming age calls Diana and asks for a festive hunt. The other goddesses are coming. Pallas assures the participant that he will moderate all the enemies, and will order the allegiance to the subjects. Juno will give the Archduke a wealth and glory. The ending age wishes the giver of health and new strength into the coming life. The Age of Age symbolically conveys the government and invites the Muses, who, on the basis of Apollón's invitation, sing the final tribute.


  • Fama
  • Juno
  • Apollo
  • Pallas
  • Diana



Rocc   | director

Slovenian-born opera stage director, scenographer, dramaturge, performance artist, opera manager and pedagogue Rocc studied opera stage direction at the Janáček Academy of Music and Performing Arts in Brno, followed up by postgraduate studies of stage design at the Universities of Art and Design in Zurich and in Offenbach am Main. Rocc has staged and designed more than 40 opera productions in the National Operas in Prague, Brno, Ostrava (Czechia), Ljubljana (Slovenia), Riga (Latvia), Wrocław Opera (Poland), Opera Bergen (Norway) and elsewhere. His projects have been presented within several international festivals. His work in contemporary music theatre is combined with alternative performing arts, installation, new media and site-specific projects. Since 2013 he has been the initiator and Artistic Director of opera povera, an ensemble focused on contemporary music-theatre aesthetics.

In the 2007/08 season Rocc held the post of Dramaturge in the Slovenian National Opera in Maribor. The 2008/09 season saw him as Deputy Artistic Director of the Janáček Opera of the National Theatre in Brno, in 2009-11 he was Artistic Director of the Janáček Opera and a member of the Programme Board of the International Festival Janáček Brno. In 2011-13 he was Artistic Director of the Prague State Opera, which is from 2012 affiliated with the National Opera in Prague. In 2013-19 he was Artistic Director of the Slovenian National Opera in his hometown Ljubljana. In 2018 Rocc received the recognition for important works of art, the highest artistic title of the University of Ljubljana, which is equivalent to the scientific title of Doctor of Science. He works as Docent of opera acting at the Academy of Music in Ljubljana and he has been a member of professional juries at international singing competitions.

Veronika Manová

Veronika Manová   | music director

Veronika studied baroque violin with Antoinette Lohmann at the Hogeschool voor de Kunsten in Utrecht and later with Pavlo Beznosiuk and Kati Debretzeni at the Royal Conservatoire in den Haag. Within the Erasmus Programme she undertook her postgraduate studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. To accomplish the research objective, Veronika incorporated philosophical studies at the Leiden University into her curriculum and finished her research under the supervision of Oliver Webber.

Veronika performs with the European leading baroque ensembles including Collegium 1704, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightment, Luthers Bach Ensemble and worked with such musicians as Simon Rattle, Alison Bury, Julia Wedman, Rachel Beesley and Wilbert Hazelzet among others. In 2008 she was a member of the European Union Baroque Orchestra, working under Roy Goodmann, Lars-Ulrik Mortensen and Enrico Onofri. She is a founding member of the Reicha Quartet which focuses on an early romantic repertoire. Since 2017 she is a concertmaster of Ensemble Damian.

Megan Koch

Megan Koch   | soprano

Megan Koch, soprano, is currently pursuing the Master of Music in Vocal Performance at the University of North Texas with Dr. Carol Wilson. She was featured in Fort Worth Opera’s 2018 Frontier’s Showcase as Mabel in Nell Shaw Cohen’s Mabel’s Calland “shimmered with nuance” (The Column Online). Megan made her debuts as Fiordiligi (Così fan tutte), Rose (Street Scene), and La Princesse (L'enfant et les sortilèges) at the Varna International Opera Academy. Her performances with UNT Opera include a Rogers and Hammerstein Revue, Vixen-Sharp Ears (The Cunning Little Vixen), and Pamina (Die Zauberflöte). In preparation for UNT’s Czech Festival and Texas tour, she coached the role of Bystrouška at the Janaček Academy in Brno and performed Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater in Olomouc. In 2019, she was a finalist in the Lewisville Lake Symphony International Voice Competition. Megan holds a Bachelor of Music Education from Illinois Wesleyan University and has a passion for teaching young voices.

Josefina Maldonado

Josefina Maldonado   | mezzo-soprano

Josefina Maldonado, mezzo-soprano, is a senior vocal performance major from Dallas, Texas, studying voice with Dr. Carol Wilson. Her major roles with UNT Opera include Cherubino/Le nozze di Figaro, Ruggiero/Alcina, Siebel/Faust(a remarkably mature mezzo voice…vocally superb—Theater Jones), Mother Marie/Dialogues of the Carmelites, and Valletto/L’incoronazione di Poppea. She appeared with the UNT Symphony Orchestra as a 2018 Concerto Competition winner, and most recently as soloist with the Orchestra in Mahler’s 4thSymphony.  Josefina is a young artist with the Dallas Opera Outreach Program in the role of Barcarolle/Bremen Town Musicals. Her recent performance with the Dallas-based Opera in Concert was critically acclaimed by Texas Classical Review: Maldonado possesses a remarkably rich timbre with impressive stage presence, and the vocal flexibility this operatic repertoire requires.  She is the recipient of the David L. Shrader Scholarship.

Bree Nichols

Bree Nichols   | operatic soprano

Bree Nichols, operatic soprano, is known for her warm timbre and compelling stage presence. Last season, she traveled to the Czech Republic to perform Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater before touring the state of Texas as the Fox in Janáček’s Příhody lišky Bystroušky, igniting a passion for Czech opera and art song that began with her 2016 performance as Mařenka in Prodaná nevěsta. Bree recently debuted as Gilda in Rigoletto with Capitol City Opera; her career has taken her to the stages of Symphony of the Mountains, Capitol City Opera, Opera Roanoke, Opera on the James, Appalachian Opera Theatre, and more. Recent roles include Béatrice in Roussel’s rarely performed comic opera Le testament de la tante Caroline, Nedda in Pagliacci, Jennie in Kurt Weill’s Down in the Valley, Adele in Die Fledermaus, Despina in Così fan tutte, and Valencienne in The Merry Widow. ​Bree Nichols is an innovator in community opera advocacy, where her performance expertise informs her leadership in shaping the next generation of musicians. She is founder and general director of Stafford Opera Troupe in Stafford, Virginia, where she created the tuition-free Summer Opera Program offering opera training and performance opportunities to young singers. Bree earned her Master of Music degree from University of Georgia and her Bachelor of Music from Liberty University, whose School of Music recognized her as an outstanding alumna in 2018 (Liberty News). She currently calls the state of Texas home, where she lives and frequently performs with her husband, tenor Jason Nichols.

Jason Nichols

Jason Nichols   | tenor

Jason Nichols, tenor, is a winner of the 2016 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, is a versatile singer with ample experience onstage and in the studio. Jason recently appeared on the Opera Roanoke stage as Little Bat in in Susannah where he sang with “vulnerability...and passion” (Roanoke Times) and Gastone in La Traviata where he was “heard with pleasure in his every line” (Voix des Arts). A member of Opera Roanoke’s Apprentice Artist program in 2015, he graduated from Liberty University in 2015, where he was honored as 2014-15 Performer of the Year, Vocalist of the Year and winner of the 2015 Concerto & Aria Competition.Previous roles include Ferrando in Così fan tutte, Canio in I Pagliacci, Vašek in  The Bartered Bride, and Tobias in Sweeney Todd. His career continues to grow as the upcoming year holds a number of role debuts, including Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi, Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni, and more. Also an experienced performer of popular music, Jason opened for the Gaither Vocal Band on their 2014 tour, along with traveling for one of Liberty University’s premier ministry teams, Crimson Flood. He is active in academia, recently having mentored a group of high school students with Stafford Opera Troupe’s 2016 Summer Opera Program in addition to teaching voice privately.

T. Hastings Reeves

T. Hastings Reeves   | bass-baritone

T. Hastings Reeves, bass-baritone, has performed at the Pittsburgh Festival Opera as a guest artist, performing the roles of Benoit and Alcindoro in the company’s production of La Boheme. He attended the Tanglewood Music Center in 2016 where he performed a variety of works from Bach to Mussorgsky to Weill, all under the tutelage of Dawn Upshaw, Sanford Sylvan, Margo Garrett and other faculty. He recently performed with the University of North Texas Opera Theatre in the roles of Figaro in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, the Forester in Janácek’s Cunning Little Vixen, Leporello in Don Giovanni, Mephistopheles in Faust, among other opportunities. He has enjoyed performing in the Dallas Opera’s Education Outreach program as Colas in Bastien und Bastienne and Wolfgang Bigbad in Three Little Pigs over the last two years. Mr. Reeves currently studies with Stephen Morscheck and is in the second year of his doctoral studies.

Borjan Litovski

Borjan Litovski   | costumes designs

Is currently studying fashion and textile design at the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Engineering, University of Ljubljana. Recently he created pieces that were presented on the fashion show KO-LAB in Ljubljana and also worked as assistant costume designer with the costume designer Belinda Radulović for the Prague Quadrennial 2019 Opening Ceremony. Borjan is also working in the field of textile design, in May 2019 he created an light-textile installation for the Lighting Guerrilla Festival in Ljubljana and he is also creating embroidered jewelry for already 3 years.


Partners of project

Partners of the project:   Arte dei Suonatori   Solamente Naturali Bratislava   Sonatores Pannoniae

Contact us

Ensemble Damian z.s.



Lužická 391/10
779 00 Olomouc
The Czech republic