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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”), just a little gem of Czech intimate nationalism this one will not see live often today.

The event not merely ensured a loaded home at the premiere, but in addition drew attention associated with the regional chapter for the Heritage that is czech-Slovak Association. Its users, in nationwide costumes, attended en masse, making for the colorful and theater lobby that is slightly surreal.

Among the list of production’s worldwide cast, Dana Buresova’s Marenka accordingly enough turned into the actual 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 singer’s sound ended up being strong, pure, as well as in every registers; it carried effortlessly, and she also thrilled the viewers with a few of impressive – albeit perhaps perhaps not completely necessary in Smetana’s rating – high Cs. The only thing of which i possibly could not exactly approve in this Marenka ended up being her style in guys, for involving the two sons associated with honorable Tobias Micha (portrayed honorably by Ukrainian-Canadian bass Alexander Savtchenko) i may have plumped for younger one. Us tenor Doug Jones offered an engaging and endearing portrait associated with the stammering town trick Vasek, plus in the procedure unveiled not merely a pleasant lyric tenor vocals, but a real gift that is comic. Meanwhile, as opposed to my personal objectives, I happened to be not too impressed using the greatly advertised talents associated with Czech tenor Valentin Prolat as Jenek. Prolat wowed the viewers adequately in a couple of effective scenes for which their strong high register ended up being impressively on display; he acted well, and blended really sweetly with Marenka within the duets, but way too usually his noise felt somehow “switched off, ” which makes it tough to be entirely pleased with their performance.

Despite on occasion sounding just a little slim (specially into the sequence section), the orchestra had been exemplary, carried out impeccably by still another import that is czech Oliver von Dohnányi. Through the entire performance he kept good stability, asserting their existence but permitting the vocalists take over while they should in a rating similar to this one. The tour-de-force of an overture (those new to the songs should imagine the fugue from Zauberflöte blended with Mendelssohn’s elves at 3 x the rate) ended up being specially impressive – strenuous and energetic, yet neat and rhythmically exact.

Rheinhard Heinrich’s décor took a children␙s that is fold-out as motivation, producing a collection of white-and-brown cardboard dollhouses (with detachable front walls allowing someone to see their interiors) that have been “folded” inside and out for the performance in complete view associated with the market. Regrettably, this clever and efficient design proved too cumbersome for the little phase of this Baltimore Lyric, which created for an uncomfortably crowded market with close to forty choristers on phase attempting (not at all times convincingly) to approximate a polka. The Act 2 furiant ended up far better, once the area dilemma had been remedied by sidelining the chorus and making the thing that was kept of center stage to three pairs of expert dancers.

The phase director, James McNamara evidently discovered The Bartered Bride, a slow-moving quantity opera, to be a challenge, and their approach had been notably a mixture that is stylistic. Many scenes were staged realistically and stuffed complete with phase business, possibly too aggressively on occasion ( ag 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 previously first conveniently dragged away from a nearby home). 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 had been also performed at the curtain that is lowered, and “stage realism” suspended and only somewhat conventional symbolism, Hollywood-style. Perhaps not that the staging solution for every particular scene had been always unsuccessful (although i actually do simply just just take exclusion towards the Act 3 sextet – a comic household disagreement meant to project supernatural terror), but on occasion i discovered myself wishing that the manager would simply make his mind up.

To your market, nevertheless, the most unforgettable moments into the production that is whole truly the circus scene. Using cue through the geographic provenance of this Indian therefore the grizzly that is fake, McNamara made a decision to turn the whole troupe, introduced because of the (deliberately? ) out-of-tune trumpet fanfares, right into 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 very very first form of Smetana’s rating, although we question that the writing of his opening statement might have been identified by the composer. Among other items, every person in this original-language manufacturing were English that is suddenly speaking the chorus that reacted with obvious comprehension towards the Circus Master’s ad, and Vasek whom during his comic tries to woo the dancer Esmeralda somehow managed to lose his Czech if maybe not their stammer. The general public had been addressed to a parade of jugglers, acrobats, clowns on stilts, a grunting Indian, a bearded lady weightlifter, and a defectively trained but brightly costumed dog (yes, a genuine one) that jumped through one large hula hoop, missed one other, but might have its opportunity 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 had been offered with a few panache, a couple of regrettable accidents, plus some debateable choices that warranted raised eyebrows through the purists such as for instance myself. Yet, at the conclusion of all of it, Baltimore Lyric did find a way to wear a show that is good and fundamentally, a great show is exactly what opera production is about.