In Prague, late summer heralds an annual Baroque festival, with a splendid palace of the era as its breathtaking backdrop. Book your tickets now for Opera Barocca

Like much of Europe, the pace of life slows in the Czech capital in August as the majority of locals head further afield for their holidays. But those who happen to be in the Golden City from the middle of the month are in for a treat. The cultural season for classical music is just getting under way with Opera Barocca – the Prague Festival of Early Music, Dance and Theatre – which, in 2015, runs until 6 September, with a buzz-worthy lineup of Baroque performers hailing from the world over.

The historic Old Town

The historic Old Town

Few European destinations can boast such a fitting backdrop for the Baroque; indeed, the period’s effect on Prague’s architecture and culture is palpable. Opera Barocca makes its home at the Clam-Gallas Palace, a beautiful Baroque edifice located on the historic King’s Road route in Prague’s UNESCO-protected Old Town. Dating from the early 1700s, the palace played a key role in the artistic life of central Europe and exudes an authentic Baroque atmosphere that is perfect for this year’s festival theme of early music and court entertainment of the 17th and 18th centuries. Featuring exquisitely designed costumes of the time, the performances are held in the Marble Hall or in the open-air courtyard as a series of three Baroque soirées.

A performance at Opera Barocca

A performance at Opera Barocca

The first series is Il Dolce Tormente (The Sweet Torment), which features works from the High Baroque period as well as those by Claudio Monteverdi and his contemporaries; it was the popularity of this Renaissance/Baroque artist and his followers that laid the foundations for opera as we know it today. The second is Musica Amorosa (also known as the ‘Four Forms of Love’), highlighting German composers in the court of Leopold I, Italian pastoral court music of the late 17th century, French music from the court of King Louis XIV, and the works of Handel and Purcell. To finish, the third series is On Azure Waves (or ‘Music in Honour of Noble Ladies’), which celebrates Italian composer Giovanni Battista Bononcini, whose patrons included Sir Johann Wenzel Earl von Gallas, Imperial Ambassador to the Vatican and the namesake of Opera Barocca’s venue.

Few European destinations can boast such a fitting backdrop for the Baroque

The courtyard of Clam-Gallas Palace

The courtyard of Clam-Gallas Palace

Performances are held nightly at 8.15pm, providing a perfect after-dinner opportunity for a cultural digestif. Tickets are available either online at operabarocca.cz or at the box office, located at the entrance to the Clam-Gallas Palace on Husova Street. If your favoured performance is already full, it’s worth stopping by the venue an hour before the show, as uncollected tickets are resold. Otherwise, return to enjoy the festival in its winter incarnation, the Baroque Carnevale.

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