Prague Concert Life, 1850-1881

Event title:

'Flora-Festival Ball [Flora Fest-Ball]' last of series of 'Soirées dansantes'

Venue: Konvikt

Event type: Popular social musical and dance events

Date: 18/02/1857

Season: Carnival

Ball programme including [see commentary]:

General participants:
  • ensemble of the Royal Infantry Regiment of Baron Wernhardt: participating ensemble
  • JEŠKO, Ludevít: director of ensemble
JEŠKO, Ludevít : polka Prager Faschings-Devisen, orch

Interval concert comprising:

VIEUXTEMPS, Henri : Rêverie no.3 from 6 Morceaux de salon, vl, pf, op.22
     • Jandl, J. : vl
UNSPECIFIED, ? : unspecified work for zither Alpenklänge, zither
     • Petroni, ? : zither
TOMÁŠEK, Václav Jan Křtitel : 3 Dithyrambs for pianoforte, pf, op.65
     • Horová, Anna : pf
BÉRIOT, Charles Auguste de : Rondo from Concerto for violin and orchestra, vl, orch, G major, op.76
     • Jandl, J. : vl


Mercy‘s Anzeiger 4/1/1857 published an advertisement announcing the availability of subscription tickets for the series of 5 ‘Soirées dansantes’ to take place on specified dates in January and February. The series culminated in a ‘Concert together with Festival Ball’ on 18th February.’ Ticket could be obtained from the music shop of Robert Veit. This advertisement was repeated in the newspaper on 5/1/1857.

A large advertisement was published by Mercy’s Anzeiger 7/1/1857 announcing that a musical trial of dance compositions to be given at the ‘Flora Fest-Ball’ on 18/2/1857 and at the forthcoming series of Soirées dansantes [the dates of which were also specified], would take place on 8th January. This source identified the participating ensemble at the trial and that it would be personally directed by Kapellmeister L. Jeschko [Ješko]. Whether this ensemble participated in the series of later events was not noted, although this seems likely and is therefore noted in this event record. Subscription cards were available for gentlemen [ladies were not specified] at 3kr for each of the Soirées dansantes with admission too to the final Fest-Ball. A subscription to all events cost 50kr. These could be obtained from the music shop of Rob. Veit. This advertisement was published again in Mercy’s Anzeiger on 8/1/1857.

Mercy’s Anzeiger 13/2/1857 reported that ‘On 18th Febr. takes place the Flora-Ball which is arranged as the finale of the Soirées dansantes in the Konvikt Hall. On entering the hall the ladies will be presented with bouquet of camelias, the gentlemen with a copy of Kapellmeister Jeschko’s [Ješko] Polka Faschingsdevisen. In the interval those present will be entertained with a great concert. The hall will be festively decorated for this evening.’ The specified polka by Ješko was almost certainly included in the programme of this event and has been incorporated into the event programme record.
This issue of the newspaper also contained a substantial advertisement announcing the availability of gentlemen’s admission cards for the event from the music shop of Robert Veit. Single gentlemen seeking admission to the event were requested to obtain their tickets with their names and addresses on 16th February from Veit’s shop. The ball was to begin at 8pm and finish the following morning at 5am. ‘Upon entry to the festively arranged hall ornamented with flowers and decorations’ the source related too the ladies would be presented with a bouquet of camelias, and gentlemen with the polka composed especially for this festival by Jeschko [Ješko] Faschings-Devisen in piano arrangement. The orchestra was identified, and Ješko was to direct ‘the newest and favourite dance compositions... During the interval takes place a great concert, including the performance of vocal and instrumental works.’ Ball-dress was compulsory for ladies and gentlemen. This advertisment was repeated in the newspaper on 15th, 16th and 18/2/1857.

A report about this event was also published by Tagesbote aus Böhmen 13/2/1857. The newspaper reported: ‘For the „Flora-Ball“, which takes place on 18th February in the Konvikt Hall to close the Soirées dansantes, the Committee have published their own Festival Programme. The Hall should be decorated with a rich variety of flowers and most brilliantly lit. In the interval takes place a concert, consisting of the performance of vocal and instrumental pieces. In addition, at the entrance to the Hall, as souvenirs, will be given to the ladies Camelia poesies and to the gentlemen a piano arrangement of a Polka composed by Jeschko especially for this Festival, entitled „Faschings-Devisen“. The orchestra will be provided by the ensemble of the worthy Royal Infantry Regiment of Baron von Wernhardt.’ Tagesanzeiger 18/2/1857 then reported that: ‘In the concert that is taking place during the interval of the Flora Ball scheduled today in the Konvikt Hall, will be participating the violinists Messrs Jandl and Staněk, the zither player Mr Petroni, and the piano player Miss Anna Hora. The last plays three Dythyrambs by Tomaschek [Tomášek].’ The source ended by remarking upon the irony of how it took a performance of his works in the course of a Ball to remind people of one of the greatest late Bohemian composers (i.e. Tomášek).

’s Anzeiger 18/2/1857 reported the ‘Concert-Programme [for] the Flora-Ball taking place today in the Konvikt Hall’, noting the works to be played during the interval concert and listing the participating soloists. Whether the Rondo by Bériot was performed with orchestra or with piano accompaniment was not specified by the source. No details were given of the dance programme.

The Vergnügungsanzeiger of Mercy’s Anzeiger 19/2/1857 noted ‘Today Thursday... Konvikt Hall: Flora-Ball.’ This entry was without doubt an error and probably should have appeared in the previous day’s almanac of entertainments. The Flora-Ball took place on Wednesday 18th February at the venue.

Summary of sources:

Mercy's Anzeiger für Böhmen (04/01/1857)
Mercy's Anzeiger für Böhmen (05/01/1857)
Mercy's Anzeiger für Böhmen (07/01/1857)
Mercy's Anzeiger für Böhmen (08/01/1857)
Mercy's Anzeiger für Böhmen (13/02/1857)
Mercy's Anzeiger für Böhmen (13/02/1857)
Tagesbote aus Böhmen (13/02/1857)
Mercy's Anzeiger für Böhmen (15/02/1857)
Mercy's Anzeiger für Böhmen (16/02/1857)
Mercy's Anzeiger für Böhmen (18/02/1857)
Mercy's Anzeiger für Böhmen (18/02/1857)
Tagesbote aus Böhmen (18/02/1857)
Mercy's Anzeiger für Böhmen (19/02/1857)