Jan Čižmář - lute, theorbo, guitar

Stage experience

Throughout my career I have been fortunate to be part of several remarkable theatrical productions. Although they are not my main activity, I am grateful for getting to know the many different ways theatre can be made and how music can be part of it. Below I am trying to highlight just a few that have remained a special memory to me.

In 2002? I was on tour with Lindsay Kemp company. I was the only musician there, playing theorbo and classical guitar in a play about Queen Elisabeth I. with modern music composed by Carlos Miranda. A very special experience, my very first real stage experience. For a guitar player an unexpected new skills - walking on stage... We toured Spain for several months; happy and warm time.
Playing lead electrical guitar in a tour with Jesus Christ Superstar led me to many cities in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. I was on tour for about 6 months and musically I experienced such a proffessionalism from all the cast and band members! Really remarkable experience, which was happening just months before my classical guitar diploma concert at the Conservatoire (yes, I was practicing on tour every day). But it also made me sure about one thing: I will not stay with classical guitar and one genre forever.
Although never went beoynd the audition session in London, it was a great few days for me. Fabulous beast company was looking for a musician and I spent really great tim in London with them in 2002. Thanks also to my friend Angello Smimmo.
In 2008? I was playing continuo in a "double bill" production (joined Royal Ballet and Royal opera) at the Covent Garden theatre London. As a member of Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment under the batton of Christopher Hogwood I was playing theorbo and baroque lute in Purcell´s Dido and Aeneas and Handel´s Acis and Galatea. Being part of the continuo team made my days there special even more, working more closely with the singers such as Danielle de Niese and Sarah Conolly.
My first ever baroque opera was after about a week of playing the theorbo (actually the opera was partly the reason for picking up the instrument in the first place). Handel´s Sosarem, re di Medea. In Český Krumlov castle theatre - fantastic experience to be part of this house!!!
Another nice experience I had in the orchestra Collegium 1704 under Václav Luks with production of Handel´s Rinaldo. Touring in France and several times coming back to Prague Estates theatre, combined with candlelight...
Dafne - forst ever opera from 1600..? on libretto by Ottaviano Rinuncini with music by Jacopo Peri. Music is lost, so two czech composers Vít Zouhar and Tomáš Hanzlík had to recompose it. Staged in Nationa ltheatre in Brno and musically colose to style of Michael Nyman, but also other influences. It is iusing original instruments (three in total - organ positive, cello and theorbo).
In the National theatre Prague I had the great opportunity to be part of the cast of Benjamin Britten´s opera Gloriana, directed by Jiří Heřman. I am only playing renaissance cittern in a short scene, but for me as a luteplayer in 21st century, the feeling of connection to the past masters and names of renaissance (Queen Elisabeth, Essex, ...) as well as the modern (Britten, Julian Bream, Robert Specer - players in the original London production of 1952) is a very special one. The opera was written and premiered in London in 1952 for coronation of Queen Elisabeth II. and is about Queen Elisabeth I.
In 2013 with several friends we staged an improvisational afternoon with music an theatre in Brno entitled Spring festivities...
Recently I was happy to meet several other enthusiastic people (notably Patricie Částková from Opera on Tour) and prepare an opera project Domenico Sarri: Didone abbandonata (Reduta, Brno, CZ, January/February 2014). I am playing basso continuo on theorbo and as musical director I was preparing the whole piece with the singers for several months. I was also preparing edition of the score and as a bonus I learned about many production activities.