Rediscovery Project - Antonio Caldara: Le Cinesi (1735)


Abstract / About the project


This project aims to contribute to the field of research that investigates the Chinese-themed operas in 18 th century Europe through the performance of Caldara’s Le Cinesi and the preparation of performance materials based on the newly rediscovered manuscript of Le Cinesi (an opera by Anotnio Caldara written in 1735, libretto by Pietro Metastasio) from the Austrian National Library. It addresses the main research question: How do newly discovered historical texts interact with contemporary media, technology, and interdisciplinary forms to (re- )create performance practices? Item 1: A performance edition of the opera score with critical commentary (to be published by Central Conservatory of Music press (Beijing) in 2020. The edition provides a keyboard realization of the continuo part and translations in English and Chinese. Item 2: A live recording of excerpts from the opera. Item 3: A mixed-media modern adaptation of the opera with three sound pieces by sound artist, Vanissa Law incorporated into the work for an extra layer of commentary. The mixed-media components include a pre-recorded multi-camera dance sequence that was artificially rendered through the MSP Max Software programme with moving images projected onto the gauze screen thus creating a theatrical counterpart to the operatic narratives. This research delivers the first modern edition of the opera since the its premiere in 1735, and it gives voice to the actual sounds of the music that were previous unknown to scholars and modern audience. The live mixed-media performance demonstrates ways to further extend the artistic property of this centuries-old music through modern adaptation. This includes the commissioning of additional companion works to be incorporated into the opera and the employment of technology, video arts and dance to create a new genre of theatre production of artistic value.

Mixed Media Modern Adaptation


24 March 2017 / Hong Kong City Hall Theatre
Louise Kwong (Soprano) / Collegium Musicum Hong Kong / Johnny M Poon

01 Caldara: Overture

02 Vanissa Law: Exhaled Rhyme

03 Vanissa Law: Exhaled Rhyme Antonio Caldara: Ferma crudele, ferma verro (Recitative)

Excerpts from Live Performance – Concert Version


1 November 2016 / Hong Kong City Hall Concert Hall
Collegium Musicum Hong Kong / Johnny M Poon

A. Caldara: Le Cinesi, Overture

A. Caldara: Le Cinesi, Prenditi il Figlio (Aria)

A. Caldara : Le Cinesi: Non sperar, non lusingarti (Aria)

Performance Edition with Critical Commentary (2019)