Magdalena Kozena 1280x680 © Julia Wesely

Serenata in one act (1723)

Music by Antonio Caldara

Libretto by Pietro Pariati

Concert performance in Italian

Wednesday, 22 September 2021, 7 pm until 9 pm (no intermission)

Content / Background

Fighting one minute, friends the next: once again, the gods are at each other’s throats. And why? Because, while they may be wrong from time to time, they never hold back when it comes to loudly making their views known. And besides, celebrating various vanities is part and parcel of a god’s life. One has a reputation to uphold, after all. But what exactly is the problem this time? The seven gods Venus, Diana, Jupiter, Apollo, Mars, Mercury and Saturn are discussing whether they should celebrate an as yet unnamed person in the heavens. When it becomes clear that the person in question is a mortal, the arguments begin: mortals should content themselves with mortals’ honours and not aim for celestial ones. After the opera’s first section, a majority is found: four gods (Venus, Diana, Apollo and Mars) are in favour of bestowing heavenly honours on the mortal, three (Jupiter, Mercury, Saturn) are against. When Jupiter puts his foot down, Mercury finally reveals who the unknown person is: Empress Elisa. Her qualities are so impressive that even her former opponents change their minds and support her. Harmony among the planetary gods is restored. In her personal tribute, Venus – formerly Elisa’s most vocal opponent – herself lays this harmony, the Concordia, at the Empress’s feet. It is no accident that this one-act serenata celebrates Empress Elisabeth Christine, wife of Emperor Charles VI, since it was written for her. During a journey from Bohemia to Vienna, Elisabeth Christine’s name day was celebrated at Znojmo Castle. Antonio Caldara, deputy maestro di cappella of the court music ensemble, wrote his “componimento teatrale” La concordia de’ pianeti to a libretto by the imperial court poet Pietro Paria. Besides strings, continuo, oboes and bassoon the orchestra boasts four trumpets and two timpani – possibly owing to the conditions at the open air concert on 17 November 1723. The cast of singers was excellent, most notably the castrato Giovanni Carestini who brilliantly portrayed Apollo. In 2014, the conductor, organist and harpsichordist Andrea Marcon was responsible for the first performance of this forgotten work in the modern era and will also conduct it at the Theater an der Wien.



Andrea Marcon


Magdalena Kožená


Margriet Buchberger


Christophe Dumaux


Vadim Volkov


Sonia Prina


Anthony Gregory


Luca Tittoto


La Cetra Barockorchester Basel


Vokalensemble Basel