theFILM

Il Boemo

Vojtěch Dyk stars in Petr Vaclav’s epic biographical film about Josef Mysliveček, the most celebrated Czech composer of the 18th century. Contrary to his family’s expectations, this son of a Prague miller embarked on a journey to Italy, to the very heart of the world of opera, in search of his dream. Unlike so many others, succeeded in making his mark there and enjoying a stellar career in the second half of the 18th century.

So, who was Josef Mysliveček? How is it possible that he so quickly managed to enrapture the audiences of the most important opera stages in Italy? He captured the attention of the most famous performers, the impresarios, and even monarchs themselves. In doing so, become one of the most sought-after composers of that time. How is it possible that he disappeared from the collective memory just as quickly? The film attempts to answer some of these questions and, above all, to commemorate this Czech musical great, about whom little information has been preserved to this day. The music of Josef Mysliveček itself is therefore key to the narrative. Thanks to this music, the creators have been able to at least put together a few pieces of the puzzle in the world of one of the most celebrated Czech composers of all ages. The very best Baroque musicians of our own time, led by Václav Luks and Collegium 1704, have come together to provide the audience with the perfect musical experience. Realia from Mysliveček’s world, costumes, make-up, and sets, all detailed to perfection, transport the audience to Venice, Naples, and other Italian cities of the age, as does Vojtěch Dyk’s authentic performance – in Italian – in the main role.

Detailed preparations also played a fundamental role in the making of the film. Petr Vaclav worked with leading experts on the life and works of Josef Mysliveček, such as American musicologist Daniel E. Freeman and Czech musical historian Stanislav Bohadlo. The conductor and founder of top Baroque orchestra Collegium 1704 Václav Luks, meanwhile, had a decisive influence on the musical aspect of the film. Some of the world's leading operatic soloists, such as Philippe Jaroussky, Simona Šaturová, Raffaella Milanesi, Emőke Baráth, and Krystian Adam, perform Mysliveček's operatic arias in the film with authenticity and to perfection. The script for the film was written in large part thanks to a grant from the French government, which awarded Petr Vaclav a prestigious Prix de Rome, including a scholarship at Villa Medici in Rome. The filmmaker was therefore able to spend a year in Italy, where he searched all references to Josef Mysliveček in the archives and accurately mapped out the places he stayed on the Apennine Peninsula. He was then able to put what he had learned to good use when making a documentary about Josef Mysliveček, Zpověď zapomenutého (Confession of the Vanished).      

Actual historical figures that appear in the film

Opera singer Caterina Gabrielli

(1730–1796)

One of the most celebrated singers of her age, the brightest star in the heavens of European opera. A soprano whose voice enraptured Italian audiences and led her to secure long-term engagements in Vienna, London, and St. Petersburg. An independent artist and woman admired by those around her for her independent and free-spirited way of life, she worked her way up to the very top of the opera world in spite of having come from a poor background, her nickname of La Cochetta – Little Cook – referring to Caterina's father's profession. She was paid staggering fees for her performances, incomparable to the incomes of even the most sought-after composers, including Josef Mysliveček. And yet society of that time looked down on her, something that was not helped by the fact that she never married and gave birth to a daughter whose father was unknown at the age of almost fifty.   

She frequently performed in Josef Mysliveček's operas, which caused people to speculate about the nature of their relationship. However, no documentary evidence exists to confirm that they were romantically involved.

King Ferdinand IV of the Kingdom of Naples

(1751–1829)

Also ruled in parallel as Ferdinand III of the Kingdom of Sicily andlater Ferdinand I King of the Two Sicilies.

A member of the Bourbon line, his parents and older brother left him alone in Naples at the age of only eight and moved to Spain, where his father took the Spanish throne as Charles III. Little Ferdinand roamed the streets of Naples with his peers. It is said that his tutors deliberately tried to prevent him from gaining an education so that they would be able to control him better later on. The regency council initially ruled on his behalf, and Ferdinand took power himself in 1767. He embarrassed his court many times with his eccentric behaviour. Yet in spite of this, he was able to maintain control of both the Kingdom of Naples and the Kingdom of Sicily until his death in 1825, with a few short breaks along the way.

His marriage to the daughter of Austrian Empress Maria Theresa, Maria Carolina, was not a happy one, but did produce a great many descendants. Ferdinand IV was thus the founder of the Cadet branch of the House of Bourbon, which ruled Naples and Sicily until those territories became part of unified Italy in 1861.

Ferdinand IV commissioned many works from composers, including Mysliveček.

Leopold Mozart
and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

(1719–1787)
(1756–1791)

Leopold Mozart was initially much closer to Mysliveček than his young son. He washimself a good musician who composed music and taught it tohis children Wolfgang and Maria Anna. He set out a path in life for both ofthem at a very early age and made sure that neither of them deviated from it. 

The complicated relationship that young Amadeus hadwith him is evidenced by the extensive correspondence that has survived to thisday, from which we can also learn many details about their relationship withJosef Mysliveček. Wolfgang survived his father by only four years.

Mysliveček and Mozart, or Il Boemo and Amadeus?

The wider public became aware of Josef Mysliveček thanks to a romanetto written by nineteenth-century Czech author Jakub Arbes, who gave Mysliveček the nickname “Il divino Boemo” (The Divine Czech) and similarly distorted many other facts about the musician's life. The perception of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is similar in this respect, most of the lay public drawing information about his life from Miloš Forman’s acclaimed film Amadeus, which is, of course, based on a play by Peter Shaffer, who was entirely aware of deviating from historical fact. The truth is, however, that the lives lived by Mozart and Mysliveček followed paths that crossed each other on many an occasion.

The correspondence still in existence to this day tells us of a number of meetings. Mysliveček and Mozart met for the first time in Bologna in 1770, and for the last time in Munich in 1777. To begin, theirs was a very friendly relationship, the young Mozart admired Mysliveček and was grateful for the experience that the older artist was passing on to him about music composition. Mysliveček even tried to use his contacts to secure a commission for Mozart in Italy, but did succeed, which is one of the reasons for the later cooling of relations with Wolfgang's father, Leopold.

A comparison between Mysliveček and Mozart in terms of recognition is inescapable. The Czech, a generation older, achieved stellar success in his own lifetime and although the young Mozart later attempted to do the same, he never managed to break through on any of the opera stages of Italy. Their fates after death were almost entirely the opposite, only this time the other way round. While Mozart became one of the world's most respected composers after his death, Mysliveček was almost completely forgotten for more than two centuries.

Crew and cast

Petr Vaclav

Screenplay and direction

Petr Vaclav is a graduate of the Film and TV School at the Academy of Performing Arts (FAMU) in Prague. He was nominated for a student Oscar for his film Paní Le Murie (Madame Le Murie), which won the Grand Prix for Documentary Film at the Munich International Festival of Film Schools. His feature debut, Marian, won a number of awards abroad in 1996, including a Silver Leopard at the International Film Festival in Locarno, and prizes for direction in Angers, Belfort, Tehran, and Bratislava. He was also nominated for a Czech Lion award.

His next film, Paralelní světy (Parallel Worlds), was a finalist in the NHK Award — Sundance scriptwriting competition and was screened as part of the competition section at the festival in San Sebastian. His film Cesta ven (The Way Out) was screened in the ACID section at the Cannes Film Festival in 2014 and became the first Czech film to premiere at this most prestigious of film festivals in 23 years. It was awarded seven Czech Lions, including Best Film, Best Screenplay, and Best Director.

The drama Nikdy nejsme sami (We Are Never Alone) (2016)won the Tagesspiegel Award at the Berlinale Festival and the prize for artisticcontribution at the Cairo International Film Festival. The documentary Zpověďzapomenutého (Confession of the Vanished) then won the Fipa d'orAward at the Biarritz Festival. Vaclav’s most recent work to date, Skokan(The Jumper), arrived in Czech cinemas in June 2017.

Vojtěch Dyk

Starring as Josef Mysliveček

Vojtěch Dyk is a Czech actor and musician whostudied at the Theatre Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts (DAMU) inPrague, specialising in drama. He performed on the boards of the National Theatre for the first time playing the main role in the classical play Radúz and Mahulena (directed by JanAntonín Pitínský).

His work at the Divadlo v Dlouhé theatre and the La Fabrika Theatre also earned him considerable praise. He became better known to the public after appearing in the television series Letiště (Airport), Velmi křehké vztahy (Very Fragile Relations), and Pan profesor (Mr. Professor) and in the films Ženy v pokušení (Women in Temptation) by Jiří Vejdělek and Tři bratři (Three Brothers) by Jan Svěrák. Both films are among the most successful Czech films of recent few years. The critically acclaimed Zpráva o záchraně mrtvého (Saving One Who WasDead), a film directed by Václav Kadrnka, opened in cinemas in 2022.

Musicfans know Vojtěch Dyk as the frontman of Nightwork and, in recent years, for his own project, where he performs with B-Side Band from Brno.

Diego Romero

Camera

Spanish cinematographer Diego Romero has made feature and documentary films in a number of countries and has worked with director Roberto Minervini for many years. Their film The Other Side (2015) impressed audiences of the Un Certain Regard competition section at the festival in Cannes, while the film What You Gonna Do When the World Is On Fire (2018) won four awards at the festival in Venice.

Jan Macola

Producer

Jan Macola joined Barrandov Studio in 2006 after studying international relations at the Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University. There he worked as Marketing Manager until 2011, and during his final two years as Head of Development and Coproduction. This gave him a chance to acquaint himself with the practice of Czech and international film financing in detail. In 2012, Jan Macola founded his own Mimesis Film production company.

His first production, Cesta ven (The Way Out), was made in cooperation with director Petr Vaclav. It was screened in the ACID section at the Cannes Film Festival and went on to win a number of awards, including seven Czech Lions, among them Best Film, presented to the producer of the film. Their next film together was the drama Nikdy nejsme sami (We Are Never Alone). The film was selected for the Berlinale Festival, where it won the audience award for Best Film in the Forum section.

In addition to feature films, Jan Macola also makes documentaries, winning a Czech Lion for Normální autistický film (Normal Autistic Film) together with director Miroslav Janek in 2017. His other documentary productions are Na Sever (Into the North), Zpověď zapomenutého (Confession of the Vanished), V Mosulu (Inside Mosul), and Nebe (Heaven). In 2016, Jan Macola and his wife Alžběta reconstructed and reopened the Kino Pilotů cinema in Prague-Vršovice and founded the Pilot Film distribution company.
Jan Macola is a member of the Czech Film and Television Academy and the international association ACE Producers.

Václav Luks

Conductor, music advisor

Václav Luks is the founder of the Prague Baroque orchestra Collegium 1704 and studied at the Schole Cantorum Basiliensis in Basel, Switzerland. He has been deeply involved in the renaissance of interest in the works of Czech composers Jan Dismas Zelenka and Josef Mysliveček. Collegium 1704, meanwhile, quickly established itself as one of the leading world orchestras dedicated to the interpretation of 17th and 18th century music.

The ensemble regularly guests at prestigious European festivals such as Salzburger Festspiele, Bachfest Leipzig, Chopin Festival Warsaw, Lucerne Festival, Oude Muziek Utrecht, and Handel-Festspiele Halle, and performs at prominent concert and opera houses — Opéra Royal de Versailles, Wiener Konzerthaus, Berliner Philharmonie, Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, BOZAR in Brussels, and elsewhere.

Between 2009 and 2018, Václav Luks and Collegium 1704 were involved in 4 European opera projects — Handel's opera Rinaldo (2009—2014 National Theatre Prague, Versailles, Caen, Rennes, Luxembourg), the modern premiere of Mysliveček's opera L'Olimpiade (2013—14, National Theatre Prague, Caen, Dijon, Luxembourg), which was nominated for the International Opera Awards, the modern premiere of Vivaldi's opera Arsilda (2017—2019 Slovak National Theatre Bratislava, Versailles, Caen, Lille, Luxembourg), and a production of Handel's opera Alcina (2022, Slovak National Theatre  Bratislava, Versailles, Caen). Václav Luks and Collegium 1704 were resident artists at Opéra Royal & Chapelle Royale de Versaille during the 2018-21 seasons.

It was also under his direction that Collegium 1704 performed Mysliveček's oratorio La passione di Gesù Cristo (2012, Prague Spring 2013) and recorded an album of the composer's violin concerts together with Leila Schayegh. Opera stars such as Vivica Genaux, Véronique Gens, Max Emanuel Cenčić, and Franco Fagioli have all sung Mysliveček's music at concerts played by Collegium 1704.

"A key event in Mysliveček's career was the performance of his first opera, written for Teatro San Carlo in Naples. It is not clear how the little-known composer received an exclusive commission to compose an opera to mark the birthday of Spanish King Charles III, father of King Ferdinand I of the Kingdom of Naples, but the triumphant success of the premiere on 20 January 1767 opened the door to Mysliveček to the most radiant European hub of opera."

(Harmonie magazin, July 2013)

Soloists

Philippe Jaroussky

Soloist

French vocalist Philippe Jaroussky is the most admired countertenor of his generation. His recordings give listeners the opportunity to acquaint themselves with the work of a number of important composers associated with the style of Italian opera seria. He has also recorded albums that focus on the repertoire of famous castrati, such as Carlo Broschi, nicknamed Farinelli. He embarked on exclusive cooperation with Erato and has received numerous awards for his recordings for this label: a Gold Disk for his recordings of Heroes (Vivaldi's operatic aria) and La Dolce Fiamma (J. Ch. Bach); CD of the year at the Victoires de la Musique and Midem Classical Awards in 2009 for his tribute to Carestini (with le Concert d 'Astrée and Emmanuelle Haïm); and his Stabat Mater with soprano Julia Lezhneva and I Barocchisti picked up the International Classical Music Awards in 2014 for the best Baroque vocal album and the best opera album. In recent years, he has collaborated with singers such as Cecilia Bartoli and Nathalie Stutzmann. In 2002 he founded his own Baroque orchestra Ensemble Artaserse, whose name is derived from Vinci's opera of the same name – Artaserse.

"Mysliveček had a huge influence on development of the style of his age. He was a modernist.” (Harmonie magazine, May 2019, interview with Philippe Jaroussky)

Simona Šaturová

Soloist

Soprano of Slovak origin Simona Šaturová is regular guests at Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels and works on a frequent basis with Aalto-Musiktheater in Essen and Oper Frankfurt. She has also performed at Teatro Colón Buenos Aires, Megaron Athens, Théâtre du Châtelet Paris, and Opéra de Monte-Carlo. Other concert productions include a performance at Carnegie Hall with the Philadelphia Orchestra, a performance at Salzburger Festspiele, collaboration with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, a concert conducted by Iván Fischer with the Munich Philharmonic, a New Year's concert of Haydn's The Creation with the London Philharmonic, conducted by Ádám Fischer, or a tour with Philippe Herreweghe and Théâtre des Champs-Elysées. She is also a winner of a Charlotte and Walter Hamel Foundation Award for Excellence in Singing (Lübeck 2007) and a Thalia Award for Best Opera Performance in 2001. She played the main female role – Princess Aristea – in a production of Mysliveček's opera L'Olimpiade (2013), a production by Collegium 1704 under the direction of Václav Luks. In 2014, she released a CD called Decade: Mozart & Mysliveček, featuring operatic arias written by each composer within the space of a single decade, a time at which they were in close contact with each other. A number of arias for this album were world premiere recordings.

Simona Šaturová on comparing Mozart and Mysliveček: "A few years ago I had the opportunity to record a CD featuring both composers. We chose the pieces from a single decade, when Mysliveček was at the peak of his work and Mozart was just starting out. It was an extremely interesting comparison. Since then, I have had the impression that Mozart essentially followed smoothly on from Mysliveček and elaborated on his contribution in his own beautiful works." (Harmonie magazine, November 2021, interview with Simona Šaturová)

Emőke Baráth

Soloist

Hungarian soprano Emőke Baráth is highly sought-after as a performer of Baroque music and increasingly as an artist to portray the roles created by Mozart. She works successfully with the Boston Early Music Festival, her first recording with this group a selection of love duets by Agostino Steffani (CPO label). In March 2018, she performed at Théâtre des Champs Élysées in the role of Morgana in Handel's Alcina with Cecilia Bartoli and Philippe Jaroussky, accompanied by Le Concert d 'Astrée under the baton of Emmanuelle Haïm. At TCE she sang the role of Amore in Gluck's opera Orfeo ed Euridice alongside Philippe Jaroussky and Patricia Petibon. During the 2018/19 season, she toured with Philippe Jaroussky and Ensemble Artaserse, performing a programme of Handel's love arias and duets, sang Mozart's Requiem on tour with the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées orchestra, led by Philippe Herreweghe, and debuted with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra under the baton of William Christie. She entered into long-term cooperation with Warner Classics (Erato) in 2018. Of her recent projects we should mention the release of two recordings: an album of Handel's arias Dualità, which she recorded with Philippe Jaroussky and his Ensemble Artaserse, and the CD Voglio cantar, where she presents the work of prominent 17th century Italian composer Barbara Strozzi, among others, accompanied by the Il Pomo d'Oro ensemble.

Raffaella Milanesi

Soloist

Italian soprano Raffaella Milanesi is one of the most sought-after soloists in the world of Baroque music and also sings in roles written by Mozart. Her extensive discography reflects the impressive breadth of her repertoire and her passion for discovering rare and lesser-known operatic works. This is evidenced, for example, by the recordings of La capricciosa corretta by Martin y Soler (Cilia) and Salieri’s Grotto di Trofonio (Ofelia), both with Les Talens Lyriques under the baton of Christophe Rousset, or Vivaldi's Armida al campo d 'Egitto (Erminia) with Concerto Italiano and Rinaldo Alessandrini. For Deutsche Harmonia Mundi, she recorded Gluck's La Clemenza di Tito (Sesto) with L'Arte del Mondo under the baton of Werner Ehrhardt and Pergolesi’s L'Olimpiade (Aristea) with Academia Montis Regali under the direction of Alessandro De Marchi. She released the CD Handel – Cantate per il Cardinal Ottoboni for the Glossa label and performs as Donna Anna on the CD Don Giovanni, released by Warner Classics. She played the main male character Megacle in a production of Mysliveček's opera L'Olimpiade (2013), performed by Collegium 1704 under the direction of Václav Luks. Her role in this opera is also depicted in Petr Vaclav’s documentary Zpověď zapomenutého (Confession of the Vanished).

Krystian Adam

Soloist

Polish tenor Krystian Adam has an extensive repertoire, featuring works by Monteverdi, Purcell, Handel, Mozart, Haydn, Gluck, and Schubert. He recently took the role of Gioconda in Rossini's La Pietra del Paragone at Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris under the baton of Jean-Christophe Spinosi, followed by Monteverdi's Vespro della Beata Vergine with Monteverdi Choir and Sir John Eliot Gardiner in Cambridge, Versailles, and Barcelona. He also performed in Mozart’s opera Idomeneo at Covent Garden under Marc Minkowski and excelled in the title role in Monteverdi’s Orpheus under Sir John Eliot Gardiner on tour in the United States, in London at the BBC Proms, and in Versailles. Krystian Adam regularly works with Václav Luks and Collegium 1704, with which he has performed to a Czech audience in the role of Aminta in Mysliveček's opera L'Olimpiade, for example. His role in this opera is also depicted in Petr Vaclav’s documentary Zpověď zapomenutého (Confession of the Vanished). He also performed on the first complete Czech recording of Handel's Messiah, released by Collegium 1704 in 2019.

Written and directed by
Petr Vaclav
Camera
Diego Romero
Make-up
Andrea McDonald
Architects
Irena Hradecká Luca Servino
Sound
Daniel Němec
Expert advisor
Daniel E. Freeman
Music, Music advisor
Václav Luks, Collegium 1704
Starring
Vojtěch Dyk,
Barbara Ronchi, Elena Radonicich, Lana Vlady
Costume designer
Andrea Cavalletto
Soloists
Philippe Jaroussky, Emöke Baráth, Raffaella Milanesi, Simona Šaturová, Juan Sancho, Krystian Adam
Producer
Jan Macola, MimesisFilm (CZ)
Co-producers
Czech Television (CZ)
Marco Alessi — Dugong Films (IT)
Marek Urban — sentimentalfilm (SK)
Libor Winkler (CZ)
Magiclab (CZ)
Daniel Bergmann (CZ)
Jan Menclík (CZ)
Locations

The shooting of Il Boemo took place on many locations

including those where Josef Mysliveček really lived

Theatre scenes

The theatre scenes shot for the film are of particular note as they were among the most complicated.

Theatre in Como (Italy)
All musical performances and shots on stage were filmed here in the summer of 2019, meaning one year ahead of all the other scenes.  

The Estates Theatre (Stavovské divadlo) in Prague
Perhaps even trickier in terms of filming was shooting at the Estates Theatre in Prague, where Miloš Forman’s Amadeus was filmed in 1982 and two of Mozart operas were premiered: Don Giovanni and La clemenza di Tito. Josef Mysliveček never actually worked at the Estates Theatre, and indeed could not have, as it was completed and opened only after his death, but some scenes for Il Boemo were transferred here from the sites originally selected in Italy because they were unavailable for use on account of the COVID-19 epidemic. The epidemic meant that the theatre could only be filmed when empty, i.e. at night, after the evening performance and before work at the theatre began again in the morning.

Mahen Theatre (Mahenovo divadlo) in Brno
Transferring the shoot to the Estates Theatre brought one more complication. The San Carlo Theatre in Naples, where the most famous productions of Mysliveček's operas were staged, has the Royal Box in the centre of the auditorium, while the Estates Theatre has the Royal Box at the side, just next to the stage. To make sure that King Ferdinand IV was seated in exactly the right place, the scenes from his box had to be filmed at Mahen Theatre in Brno.

Italy

Palazzo Negrone in Genoa
The palace belongs to the Negrone family, which has been based in Genoa since 1030. The resemblance between the family name and the Negroni cocktail (gin/sweet vermouth and bitter) is not entirely coincidental: the cocktail was created in 1919 by a member of the family, Camillo Negrone.

Palazzo Doria in Genoa
A beautiful medieval Italian palace in the historic centre of Genoa, a magnificent residence in the very heart of the former Republic of Genoa.

Villa Gavoti in Albisola on the shores of the Ligurian Sea
A place of great history, a residence of two popes.

Villa Wirtz in Palermo
A beautiful historic villa on the island of Sicily.

Canals in Venice
Even Covid measures had a few positives – the crew was able to shoot on the canals of Venice with nobody around. At the same time, incidentally, Tom Cruise was here with the crew of the next film in the Mission Impossible series.

Castellodi Thiene near Vicenza
Originally a Gothic castle which came more to resemble a Venetian palace during later reconstruction.

Il Boemo was also filmed in Naples, where Josef Mysliveček experienced his greatest moments of glory, and in Rome, where he died in poverty and oblivion. It was also here, quite symbolically, that shooting of the film came to an end.

Czech Republic

Doksany Monastery
Scenes were filmed in the Baroque surroundings of the monastery, close to Litoměřice.

Martinic palace
A richly decorated Renaissance palace on Hradčany Square in Prague.

Charles Bridge in Prague
Josef Mysliveček was probably born close to Charles’ Bridge on the banks of the River Vltava, in Sovovy mlýny (Sova Mills), his family having owned the mills at one time, along with Kutilův mlýn (Kutil Mill), which stood in today’s location of Novotného Lávka (Novotný Footbridge).

Footbridge
Today's Novotného Lávka (Novotný Footbridge) near the Old Town end of Charles’ Bridge.

Colloredo-Mansfeld Palace
A Baroque Palace in Prague's Karlova Street.

Chateau Jaroměřice nad Rokytnou
A Baroque chateau complex in which opera productions have a great tradition – located to the west of Brno.

Chateau Bučovice
A unique, well-preserved example of Italian Renaissance architecture situated to the east of Brno.  

Walking route:

In the foosteps of Josef Mysliveček

If you are interested in following in the footsteps of Josef Mysliveček, we recommend taking a thematic trail that we have prepared for you in cooperation with Prague City Tourism. You will find details of the route here.

S podporou
With the support of:
Distributor
Producer
Co-producers
With the financial support
Media partners
Other partners
Under the auspices
of the Mayor of Prague
councilor for culture of Prague
Fun facts:

Things you can hear & see but maybe didn't know

How much does an opera cost?

Making a narrative historical film is always a very expensive business, particularly when the creators wanted everything the camera captures to resemble the age when Josef Mysliveček enchanted demanding Italian audiences with his music. The price in the case of Il Boemo is over CZK 120 million, making the film one of the most expensive projects in the history of Czech cinema. This is just one of the reasons the film has been under preparation for many years.

How do the actors dress, and in particular
the actresses?

Dressing really well, even in the 18th century, was still very much the domain of the well-to-do. Everything was naturally done by hand, from weaving the fabrics to sewing on the last button. And with such care! What, though, if you want to sew exactly the same clothes today, in the twenty-first century, using exactly the same fabrics and other techniques? You can’t just wander into a shopping centre to pick them up. Fortunately, however, there are still factories that have been working for several centuries without interruption which are still able to produce the same fabrics worn by Josef Mysliveček or Caterina Gabrielli. If you are planning to see Il Boemo in a cinema, take a moment to focus on the costumes and notice, for example, how refractive the fabrics are, something you simply will not see in contemporary clothes. Of course, perfection comes at a cost – in this case, for example, one outfit for an opera diva came out at around 8 thousand euros.

If you feel like seeing the costumes at your own pace and up-close, you will have the opportunity to do so at the upcoming exhibition Josef Mysliveček, detto Il Boemo, which will open on 21 October 2022 in the newly reconstructed Clam-Gallas Palace on Mariánské náměstí in Prague.

By candlelight

Electric lighting was the music of the distant future in the second half of the 18th century, so even the grandest social events had to make do with candlelight alone. How, then, do you get the camera to capture the same atmosphere as back then when shooting a film? Candlelight is very specific and very difficult to replace with another light source. The seemingly obvious and simple answer is to just use candles. This will certainly achieve authenticity, but there really is nothing simple about it, especially when you decide to use period candles, made of identical wax and wicks as back in Mysliveček's time. On the one hand, you have to get hold of a lot of candles: Il Boemo used more than 4 thousand. Then, though, you must learn how to work with them properly. Soon, for example, you find that it is far more practical to shorten them to half-size, so that they do not strangely change in size during shots from another camera or during repeat shots of a particular candle. This means, however, that before the beginning of the shot you must light several dozen candles really quickly, so that the first ones don’t go out in the meantime. Some even had two wicks to make them shine more. So essentially there is no option other than to create the new position of “candle lighter” and occupy it immediately with two skilful and above all fast crew members, equipping them with reliable and powerful gas lighters. Then, every time you give them the instruction to start, you can watch and marvel as these fire starters move deftly around.

When a film delights more
than just the eye

Music, particularly their own, is a crucial part of any biographical film about a composer, and therefore Il Boemo features many excerpts from Mysliveček's operatic arias, performed by the most famous contemporary operatic soloists, such as Philippe Jaroussky, Simona Šaturová, Emöke Baráth, and Raffaella Milanesi. They are accompanied by top music ensemble Collegium 1704, conducted by Václav Luks, who also worked on the film in the capacity of expert music advisor. This would be enough to provide viewers with a unique musical experience, but what takes it all to a remarkable new level is that the operatic arias and instrumental music were not only performed live during the shooting but also recorded at the same time.
Visitors to the upcoming Josef Mysliveček, detto Il Boemo exhibition, which opens on 21 October 2022 in the newly reconstructed Clam-Gallas Palace on Mariánské náměstí in Prague, will have a unique opportunity to listen to complete versions these arias.

Babylon on set

Although no longer anything extraordinary in the European context, it is far less common in the Czech environment for a film crew of several dozen nationalities to come together during filming. This also proves that Il Boemo goes beyond the prevailing trends in Czech cinema. On the other hand, of course, the involvement of so many artists from various countries might lead to difficulties in communication during the shoot. This, however, has long been solved by using the “Esperanto” of today, the main language of communication on set being English. Even if you are shooting a Czech film in Italian with Czech and Italian actors.

ILBOEMO

In Czech cinemas from 20 October 2022