NBR New Zealand Opera, Daniel Slater, The Bartered Bride, Opera North
The NBR New Zealand Opera's restaging of Daniel Slater's ground-breaking Opera North production of Smetana's The Bartered Bride, opening in Auckland on 22 September and Wellington on 13 October, dispenses with the folkloric clichés normally associated with this opera in favour of an updated setting in the Czechoslovakia of 1972, four years after the Prague Spring.
General Director of The NBR New Zealand Opera, Aidan Lang states, "This is a fast-moving and very theatrical production, with an effervescence to it. There's a definite Eastern European feel, but Daniel Slater's direction brilliantly captures the warmth and humour of the story while still allowing the audience to sense the underbelly of it."
"Designer Robert Innes Hopkins' delightfully bad '70s hair and clothes further add to the opera's comic charms," he adds. "And the music is dazzling, and gorgeously lyrical. It's also technically challenging, so we've cast some leading singers in order to meet those demands."
In a Czech village, Marenka (NZ soprano Anna Leese) is distraught because she is being forced to marry Vašek (NZ tenor Andrew Glover), a stuttering rich boy, instead of her heart's desire, the mysterious Jenik (English tenor Peter Wedd). The marriage broker, Kecal (NZ bass Conal Coad) is determined to get his cut and tries to scare off Jenik, and Ma?enka uses her feminine wiles to confuse poor Vašek. Can this love triangle successfully turn back into the conventional shape?