The Baptism of the Bulgarians in a Baroque Musical Drama from Vienna Cover Image
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Покръстването на българите в една барокова музикална драма от Виена
The Baptism of the Bulgarians in a Baroque Musical Drama from Vienna

Author(s): Slavia Barlieva
Subject(s): Christian Theology and Religion, History, Language and Literature Studies, Literary Texts, Cultural history, Theology and Religion, Philology, Drama
Published by: Институт за литература - BAN
Keywords: Jesuit drama; periocha; Bogor/Boris-Michael; baptism of Bulgarians

Summary/Abstract: From the Middle Ages to the Modern Age and its Age of Enlightenment, the conversion to Christianity is the most common motif in Western historical sources about Bulgarian history. Baroque literature does not deviate from this tradition and frequently uses this motif – in hagiographic, homiletic, and very often in dramatic works performed in educational institutions of the Jesuit Order. This article presents a musical drama titled The Fruitful, Free and Wonderful Baptism by God’s Providence of Bogor, King of the Moesians that was performed on an uncertain date in 1716 at the Royal Academic Jesuit College in Vienna. Twenty-three dramatic works of the eighteenth century, dedicated to the Bulgarian Christianization, were known until now. They have been investigated and published by Nadezhda. Andreeva in 2004. The play introduced here is another one, the earliest drama on the subject. It is a musical work composed by Johann Georg Reinhart, a well-known court musician in Vienna. The author of the text is unknown. The play has come down to us in the form of a booklet, called in the Baroque theatrical tradition periocha, containing a bilingual Latin-German summary of the drama. The booklet contains nineteen pages: an Argumentum in Latin with parallel content (Geschichts-Inhalt) in German, as well as a bilingual prologue, three acts, and an epilogue. Between the acts are two chorus parts, also bilingual. The narrative is indicated as being based on the Chronicles of Sigebert of Gembloux and Skylitzes–Kedrenos. The periocha presented here does not list all dramatis personae, noting only some of them. Still, the number of participants in the performance speaks of a monumental spectacle: 187 participants are listed by name in the cast list, along with their nationality, status, and profession or faculty. Through participation in the musical drama about the Bulgarian conversion to Christianity, the educated Baroque public acquired knowledge, albeit with quite a few historical errors, that represented the Bulgarians as bearers of the values of Christian Europe. The article concludes with an Appendix containing a Bulgarian translation of the Latin text of the periocha.

  • Issue Year: 2022
  • Issue No: 65-66
  • Page Range: 317-345
  • Page Count: 29
  • Language: Bulgarian