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    07 Apr 2007

    A bride obtainable in the Baltimore Lyric

    The offering that is latest through the Baltimore Lyric Opera ended up being Bedrich Smetana’s sparkling comedy Prodana Nevesta (“Bartered Bride”), just a little treasure of Czech intimate nationalism that certain will not see live often today.

    The event not merely ensured a loaded household during the premiere, but in addition received attention regarding the regional chapter regarding the Czech-Slovak Heritage Association. Its users, in national 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 properly enough ended up being 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 by the end of it. The voice that is singer’s strong, pure, and also in every registers; it carried effortlessly, and she also thrilled the viewers with a couple of of impressive – albeit perhaps maybe not completely necessary in Smetana’s rating – high Cs. The only thing of which i possibly could not exactly approve in this Marenka had been her flavor in males, for amongst the two sons associated with honorable Tobias Micha (portrayed honorably by Ukrainian-Canadian bass Alexander Savtchenko) i may have selected younger one. Us tenor Doug Jones offered an engaging and endearing portrait for the stammering town fool Vasek, plus in the method unveiled not merely a pleasant lyric tenor sound, but a real gift that is comic. Meanwhile, contrary to my personal objectives, I happened to be not too impressed with all the greatly advertised talents of this 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 into the duets, but way too usually their noise felt somehow “switched off, ” rendering it tough to be totally pleased with their performance.

    Despite in some instances sounding only a little slim (specially when you look at the sequence section), the orchestra had been exceptional, carried out impeccably by just one more import that is czech Oliver von Dohnányi. For the performance he kept balance that is good asserting their existence but permitting the singers 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 times the rate) ended up being particularly impressive – strenuous and energetic, yet neat and rhythmically accurate.

    Rheinhard Heinrich’s décor took a children␙s that is fold-out as motivation, producing a couple of white-and-brown cardboard dollhouses (with detachable front walls allowing someone to see their interiors) that have been “folded” inside and outside through the entire performance in complete view associated with the audience. Unfortuitously, this clever and efficient design proved way too cumbersome when it comes to tiny phase associated with Baltimore Lyric, which created for an uncomfortably crowded market with near to forty choristers on phase attempting (not at all times convincingly) to approximate a polka. The Act 2 furiant ended up definitely better, given that room dilemma ended up being solved by sidelining the chorus and making that which was kept of center phase to 3 pairs of expert dancers.

    The phase manager, James McNamara evidently discovered The Bartered Bride, a slow-moving quantity opera, to be a challenge, and their approach ended up being significantly a mixture that is stylistic. Most scenes were staged realistically and stuffed complete with stage company, maybe too aggressively in certain cases ( e.g., while distraught Marenka had been 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 home). Meanwhile, a few key numbers 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 done as you’re watching lowered curtain), and “stage realism” suspended and only somewhat conventional symbolism, Hollywood-style. Perhaps not that the staging solution for every single particular scene had been always unsuccessful (although i actually do just take exclusion to your Act 3 sextet – a comic household disagreement built to project supernatural terror), but in some instances i discovered myself wishing that the manager would simply make up their head.

    Into the market, nevertheless, the most hop over to the website unforgettable moments into the whole manufacturing ended up being certainly the circus scene. Taking cue through the geographical provenance associated with the Indian in addition to grizzly that is fake, McNamara chose to turn the whole troupe, introduced by the (deliberately? ) out-of-tune trumpet fanfares, as a crazy crazy western show. The Circus Master, displaying a Texas accent and a cowboy hat, resurrected with this event the dialog that is spoken through the very very first form of Smetana’s rating, although we question that the writing of his opening statement will have been acknowledged by the composer. Among other activities, everybody in this original-language manufacturing had been unexpectedly speaking English, including the chorus that reacted with obvious comprehension to your 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. People ended up being addressed to a parade of jugglers, acrobats, clowns on stilts, a grunting Indian, a bearded woman weightlifter, and a poorly trained but brightly costumed dog (yes, a proper one) that jumped through one large hula hoop, missed the other, but could have its possibility at a curtain call nevertheless.

    The misadventures of the circus mirrored the fortunes of the larger show of which it was a part after a fashion. The bride ended up being 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 have the ability to placed on a good show вђ“ and fundamentally, a beneficial show is exactly what opera manufacturing is about.

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