Vienna, 1733. For the birthday of Elisabeth-Christine, consort of reigning Habsburg Emperor Karl VI, court composer Antonio Caldara and imperial poet Pietro Metastasio produced a new opera with a plot set at the ancient Olympic Games. Staged in the garden of the Imperial summer residence, Schloss Favorita, it was so successful that it spawned countless imitations all over Europe.
With generous musical illustrations, former BBC broadcaster Piers Burton-Page tells the story of L'Olimpiade – a surprising tale of love, cheating – and athletics! – that, with the London Olympics 2012 a bare fortnight away, is nothing if not topical.
Presented together with the Austrian Club London