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07 Apr 2007

A bride on the market during the Baltimore Lyric

The latest providing through the Baltimore Lyric Opera had been Bedrich Smetana’s sparkling comedy Prodana Nevesta (“Bartered Bride”), only a little treasure of Czech intimate nationalism this 1 will not see live often today.

The event not merely ensured a loaded house during the premiere, but additionally received attention regarding the regional chapter of this Heritage that is czech-Slovak Association. Its people, in nationwide costumes, attended en masse, making for the colorful and somewhat surreal theater lobby.

On the list of production’s worldwide cast, Dana Buresova’s Marenka accordingly enough ended up being the genuine celebrity of Smetana’s charming little town. The Czech soprano laughed, pouted, and schemed her method triumphantly through the night, and fully deserved her standing ovation at the conclusion from it. The voice that is singer’s strong, pure, and also in most registers; it carried effortlessly, and she even thrilled the viewers with a few of impressive – albeit perhaps perhaps not totally necessary in Smetana’s score – high Cs. The only thing of which i possibly could not exactly accept in this Marenka had been her flavor in males, for amongst the two sons of this honorable Tobias Micha (portrayed honorably by Ukrainian-Canadian bass Alexander Savtchenko) i would have plumped for younger one. Us tenor Doug Jones offered an engaging and endearing portrait associated with the stammering town fool Vasek, plus in the procedure unveiled not just a pleasant lyric tenor sound, but an authentic comic present. Meanwhile, as opposed to my personal objectives, I became not too impressed using the greatly advertised talents associated with the Czech tenor Valentin Prolat as Jenek. Prolat wowed the viewers sufficiently in a few effective scenes for which their strong high register had been impressively on display; he acted well, and blended really sweetly with Marenka into the duets, but much too frequently their noise felt somehow “switched off, ” which makes it tough to be entirely pleased with their performance.

Despite from time to time sounding only a little slim (specially within the sequence section), the orchestra had been exemplary, carried out impeccably by just one more Czech import, Oliver von Dohnányi. Through the performance he kept balance that is good asserting their presence but letting the vocalists take over while they should in a rating similar to this one. The tour-de-force of an overture (those not really acquainted with the songs should imagine the fugue from Zauberflöte blended with Mendelssohn’s elves at 3 x the rate) had been specially impressive – energetic and energetic, yet neat and rhythmically accurate.

Rheinhard Heinrich’s décor took a fold-out children␙s guide as motivation, creating a couple of white-and-brown cardboard dollhouses (with detachable front walls allowing someone to see their interiors) that have been “folded” inside and out through the entire performance in complete view associated with market. Unfortuitously, this clever and efficient design proved way too cumbersome for the tiny phase for the Baltimore Lyric, which designed for an uncomfortably crowded market with near to forty choristers on phase attempting (not necessarily convincingly) to approximate a polka. The Act 2 furiant ended up definitely better, whilst the room dilemma had been solved by sidelining the chorus and making that which was kept of center phase to three pairs of professional dancers.

The phase manager, James McNamara evidently discovered The Bartered Bride, a slow-moving number opera, to become a challenge, and his approach ended up being notably a stylistic combination. Many scenes were staged realistically and stuffed complete with phase company, maybe too aggressively in some instances ( e.g., while distraught Marenka ended up being pouring out her heart into an opening “Where are you from? ВЂќ aria, oblivious groom-to-be Jenek busied himself with very very very first breaking after which repairing a wood stool he’d first conveniently dragged away from a nearby household). Meanwhile, a few key figures when it comes to principals had been presented as cinematic close-ups, with lights dimmed, soloists spotlighted (Jenek’s Act 2 aria ended up being also done at the curtain that is lowered, and “stage realism” suspended and only somewhat antique symbolism, Hollywood-style. Perhaps not that the staging solution for every single certain scene had been necessarily unsuccessful (although i really do simply just take exclusion into the Act 3 sextet – a comic household disagreement built to project supernatural terror), but every so often i discovered myself wishing that the manager would simply make his mind up.

Towards the market, but, perhaps one of the most memorable moments within the entire manufacturing ended up being truly the circus scene. Using cue through the geographic provenance for the Indian plus the fake grizzly bear, McNamara made a decision to turn the whole troupe, introduced because of the (deliberately? ) out-of-tune trumpet fanfares, in to a crazy Wild western show. The Circus Master, displaying a Texas accent and a cowboy hat, resurrected with this event the spoken dialog tradition through the very first form of Smetana’s rating, although I question that the writing of their opening announcement might have been acknowledged by the composer. Among other activities, everyone else in this original-language manufacturing had been unexpectedly talking English, including the chorus that reacted with obvious comprehension into the Circus Master’s ad, and Vasek whom during their comic tries to woo the dancer Esmeralda somehow managed to lose his Czech if not their stammer. The general public ended up being addressed up to a parade of jugglers, acrobats, clowns on stilts, a grunting Indian, a lady that is bearded, and a poorly trained but brightly costumed dog (yes, an actual one) that jumped through one big hula hoop, missed one other, but could have its possibility at a curtain call however.

The misadventures of the circus mirrored the fortunes of the larger show of which it was a part after a fashion. The bride was offered with a few panache, a couple of regrettable accidents, plus some debateable choices that warranted raised eyebrows through the purists such as for example myself. Yet, at the conclusion of all of it, Baltimore Lyric did find a way to placed on a show that is good and fundamentally, a beneficial show is exactly what opera manufacturing is about.