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THE BARTERED BRIDE Comes to the National Theatre of Prague Next Month

Performances run 26 August - 11 January 2023.

THE BARTERED BRIDE Comes to the National Theatre of Prague Next Month

Smetana and the librettist Karel Sabina masterfully mocked all those who expected the "national opera" to be an idyllic picture of the Czech countryside, with its inhabitants being virtuous and governed by high morals. The Bartered Bride is thus far more humorous than "national". Nonetheless, its humour is precisely of the type Czechs so love, and hence Smetana's opera, abounding in irony, scathing, occasionally even cynical, wit, as well as tenderness and simple joie de vivre, has ultimately become "national" in the best sense of the word ...

The National Theatre has presented many adaptations of The Bartered Bride, which has always been a staple of its repertoire. The 21st production of The Bartered Bride was entrusted to the film and stage director Alice Nellis.

What prevails this time? Sentimental foregrounding of the life in a picturesque Czech village, or jest and the self-irony with which Smetana and Sabina imbued their opera? As interpreted by Alice Nellis, The Bartered Bride this time does not only poke fun at villagers of bygone times, but also at those who for generations have striven to find the formula for restaging the Czech "opera of operas". Accordingly, the new production of The Bartered Bride does not only retell the story of Mařenka, Jeník, Vašek and Kecal, it is also about "how opera is made" - how rehearsals proceed, how it gradually assumes a theatrical shape, how the director tries to make the opera "modern", how the others frown at his endeavours, what can happen at the rehearsals, and how The Bartered Bride finally finds the right form - merry indeed, as well as moving and visually beautiful!

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