Bedřich Smetana: The Bartered Bride BBC Symphony Orchestra & Jiri Belohlavek

Cover Bedřich Smetana: The Bartered Bride

Album info

Album-Release:
2012

HRA-Release:
17.10.2017

Label: Harmonia Mundi

Genre: Classical

Subgenre: Opera

Album including Album cover Booklet (PDF)

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FLAC 48 $ 16.50
  • Bedřich Smetana (1824 - 1884): The Bartered Bride:
  • 1Overture06:35
  • Act I:
  • 2Scene 1. Sbor Proč bychom se netěšili08:02
  • 3Scene 2. Mařenka Tak tedy přece se to státi má?01:20
  • 4Mařenka Kdybych se co takového03:43
  • 5Mařenka Konečně je celá00:42
  • 6Jeník, Mařenka Jako matka požehnáním05:56
  • 7Scene 3. Kecal Jak vám pravím04:59
  • 8Krušina Ovšem, Tobiáše Míchu znám už od dětství00:51
  • 9Kecal Mladík slušný a mravů víc tichých03:41
  • 10Scene 4. Krušina, Ludmila, Kecal Tu ji máme05:04
  • 11Mařenka Jeník neupustí, to vím01:51
  • 12Scene 5. Kecal Ach, jak svět je zvrácený04:44
  • Act II:
  • 13Scene 1. Sbor To pivečko to věru je nebeský dar05:08
  • 14Furiant02:14
  • 15Scene 2. Vašek Ma... ma... ma... matička02:18
  • 16Scene 3. Mařenka Vy jste zajisté ženich Krušinovy Mařenky?01:20
  • 17Mařenka Známť já jednu dívčinu05:55
  • 18Scene 4. Kecal Jak pravím, hezká je00:39
  • 19Kecal Nuže, milý chasníku07:49
  • 20Kecal Odřekneš-li se Mařenky03:09
  • 21Scene 5. Jeník Až uzříš, komus03:03
  • 22Scene 6. Kecal Pojďte, lidičky04:24
  • Act III:
  • 23Scene 1. Vašek To... to mi v hlavě le... leží03:33
  • 24Scene 2. Pochod Komediantů00:32
  • 25Principál Ohlašujeme slavnému publikum01:27
  • 26Skočná05:50
  • 27Vašek Je... je... je... je, to bude hezké04:30
  • 28Principál, Esmeralda Milostné zvířátko01:44
  • 29Scene 3. Vašek Oh, já ne... nešťastný!01:03
  • 30Háta, Kecal, Mícha Aj, jakže? Jakže?02:35
  • 31Scene 4. Mařenka Ne, tomu nevěřím04:09
  • 32Scene 5. Vašek Co... co pořáde chcete?01:05
  • 33Všichni Rozmysli si, Mařenko, rozmysli03:44
  • 34Scene 6. Mařenka Oh, jaký žal!05:48
  • 35Scene 7. Jeník Mařenko má, Mařenko má04:16
  • 36Scene 8. Kecal Hle, hle! Chasníku, čekáš už na peníze?01:09
  • 37Jeník Utiš se, dívko, utiš se03:10
  • 38Scene 9. Sbor Jak jsi se, Mařenko, rozmyslila?04:56
  • 39Scene 10. Jeden Kluk Spaste duši!00:14
  • 40Vašek Ne... ne... nebojte se!00:38
  • 41Sbor Dobrá věc se podařila02:08
  • Total Runtime02:15:58

Info for Bedřich Smetana: The Bartered Bride

Although for nearly 150 years Bedrich Smetana's The Bartered Bride has triumphed in opera houses all over the world, the work's road to success was not an easy one. The opera was categorically rejected at its 1866 premiere by a Czech public clamoring for a genuine national opera. Four versions of the work later, after addressing many critical complaints (sometimes it was found too long, sometimes too short), a final version was completed and premiered in 1870. The musical world quickly recognized that Smetana had produced work that was destined for immortality. This recording features an all-Czech cast accompanied by the BBC Symphony Orchestra and BBC Symphony Chorus led by Jiri Belohlavek.

Bedřich Smetana's Prodaná Nevěsta (1866, revised 1870) is no joke. Too often thought of and treated as a near-operetta, the work is a first-rate comic opera requiring great string playing and very fine operatic singing. Introduced to the Met by no less than Bohemia-born Gustav Mahler, the score has been championed there by Artur Bodanzky, Bruno Walter and James Levine. It remains a repertory staple in Central Europe; despite its sophisticated faux-naïve evocation of the Czech national character — Oklahoma! makes a good comparative case — it has always been tremendously popular in German-speaking theaters.

The glistening, supple orchestral performance under Jiří Bělohlávek proves the strong point of Harmonia Mundi's new issue, recorded at London's Barbican in May 2011. Chief conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra from 2005 through 2012, Bělohlávek (an established presence in the Met's Slavic repertory for a decade) raised the ensemble's already high standards.

The cast members, almost entirely Czech and Slovak, are certainly idiomatic and well-routined in their parts. Few of them have sung outside Central European theaters and few seem likely to forge major international careers on the basis of this recording. One would be lucky to hear such a finely integrated ensemble today in Prague, Brno or Bratislava, but it doesn't seem adequate for an internationally-intended recording. (The booklet offers the text in English and French but curiously not in the original.)

Soprano Dana Burešová came to Prague's National Theatre via an audition contest for Mařenka. I first heard her there in the part in 2001; it also served for her U.S. opera debut in Baltimore. She's a charming, fully equippedlyric exponent of a role that can benefit in places (particularly in the climax of Act III's sextet and the subsequent aria) from a larger instrument. Burešová's voice here generally retains its freshness but can't boast a timbre with a particularly memorable personal character. That said, she provides many graceful touches along the way. Tomáš Juhás is presentable as Jeník but sounds rather small-scaled and dry when full-throated lyricism is needed. Jozef Benci is spirited as the marriage-broker Kecal — a part requiring the dexterity of a fine Osmin or Leporello — but his voice spreads on top and pitch frequently drags. Aleš Voráček is a conventional, wispy but pleasant-sounding Vašek. Jaroslav Březina, who has often played Vašek in Prague, here takes on the spieltenor duties of the Ringmaster with far more attractive tone than the part usually receives. The BBC Singers are satisfactory but hardly fully idiomatic.

„The slimlined BBC Symphony Orchestra adapts admirably to Jiri Belohlavek's blend of rustic cheerfulness and Wagnerian hues; they are absolutely irresistable in the Dance of the Comedians...Dana Buresová and Tomás Juhás are not, perhaps, the most warm-hearted of lovers, but both negotiate Smetana's technical challenges with aplomb.“ (BBC Music Magazine)

„[Belohlavek] has something of Wolfgang Sawallisch's temperament: intelligent, alert but observing the music from an objective mid-distance...But even chestnuts such as the famous Overture lack that extra edge of vitality often heard elsewhere...[Buresova] comes to the role of Marenka as a Smetana specialist whose every phrase has a ring of truth.“ (Gramophone Magazine)

Dana Buresova, soprano (Marenka)
Tomas Juhas, tenor (Jenik)
Jozef Benci, bass (Kecal)
Ales Voracek, tenor (Vasek)
Gustav Belacek, bass (Micha)
Lucie Hilscherova, mezzo-soprano (Hata)
Svatopluk Sem, baritone (Krusina)
Stanislava Jirku, mezzo-soprano (Ludmila)
Jaroslav Brezina, tenor (Ringmaster)
Katerina Knezikova, soprano (Esmeralda)
Ondrej Mraz, bass (Indian)
Maxim Dusek, treble (First Child)
Babette Rust, soprano (Second Child)
BBC Symphony Orchestra
Jiri Belohlavek, conductor



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Booklet for Bedřich Smetana: The Bartered Bride

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