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Servandoni at Württemberg

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Abstract

On June 15, 1763, Jean Nicholas Servandoni was hired for one year at a salary of 15,000 marks (7,500 gulden), travel expenses, free lodging, and a carriage to work at the court of Herzog Karl Eugen in Württemberg. Thanks to the industry of Joseph Uriot, the Duke's librarian, we have brief but invaluable descriptions of the fifteen decorations which he produced for the spectacles of February 11, 1764, the magnificent festival in honor of the Duke's birthday. Not at the opera, nor at any time in his career, was Servandoni's genius challenged as it was here, for he was in the company of Europe's most celebrated theatre personalities and perhaps its most sophisticated audience. His colleague for the occasion was Innocenz Colomba (1717–1793), an Italian designer of wide reputation, who had worked for the Duke since 1761. The operas were in the charge of Niccolo Jommelli, the chapel master there, and the ballets of Jean-Georges Noverre and his company of one hundred dancers, not including twenty principal performers each of whom had been first, dancer at one of Italy's chief theatres. The costumes were designed by Louis Boquet who spent a month each year at Württemberg.

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