[Met Performance] CID:95580
The Bartered Bride {32} Matinee ed. Metropolitan Opera House: 02/26/1927.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
February 26, 1927 Matinee
In German


THE BARTERED BRIDE {32}

Marenka.................Maria Müller
Jeník...................Rudolf Laubenthal
Vasek...................George Meader
Kecal...................Michael Bohnen
Ludmila.................Marion Telva
Krusina.................George Cehanovsky
Háta....................Henriette Wakefield
Tobias..................James Wolfe
Circus Barker...........Max Bloch
Esmeralda...............Louise Hunter
Red Indian..............Arnold Gabor

Act I Polka - Arranged by August Berger
Ruth Page, Giuseppe Bonfiglio, Corps de Ballet

Act II Furiante - Arranged by August Berger
Ruth Page, Giuseppe Bonfiglio, Muriel Halliday, Corps de Ballet

Act II Skocna: Dance of the Comedians - Arranged by Ottokar Bartik
Corps de Ballet

Conductor...............Artur Bodanzky

Review of Samuel Chotzinoff in the New York World

'The Bartered Bride' at the Met

Yesterday's opera matinee was Smetena's "The Bartered Bride," one of the most creditable of Mr. Gatti-Casazza's efforts. Due to a happy casting, from the principal characters down to the smallest parts, "The Bartered Bride" at the Metropolitan lives and breathes as an authentically amusing village epic.

In order to make its points effectively, operatic comedy is often forced to resort to caricature. "The Bartered Bride" is full of broad humor to which subtlety is a stranger. But for recompense there runs underneath the familiar village idyll, with its stereotyped personages and their homely joys and tribulations, an undercurrent of poetic verity which imparts, to the tale of a tiny segment of humanity in a Bohemian village, a true dignity.

Smetena wrote his national comedy more than sixty years ago, since which time composers and novelists have discovered that life in the smaller communities is more sinister than comic. The Italians of the realistic school, Mascagni and Leoncavallo, have found passion, and its concomitant - deceit and murder - as deeply entrenched in their villages as in their cities. Yet, for all its idyllic character, Smetena's sunlit story, darkened only occasionally by ephemeral shadows, stitches a more convincing balance between the joys and sorrows of average humanity than the rural tragedies of later more sophisticated composers.

Smetena leaned heavily on Bohemian folk tunes, and wisely took them for a model in the original portions of the score, so that the opera as a whole seems all of a piece. The various arias, duets, trios and ensembles are models of simplicity and, like the folk tunes, their beauty has a national tinge, but the feeling underneath them is universal. Smetena's ability to express sincerely felt emotion without stepping out of the confines of formal melody is a great wonder.

Which reminds me of the one flaw in Mr. Meader's impersonation of the stuttering Wenzel. This exemplary artist stutters so realistically that he injures the beautiful melodies allotted to him. Every overstrained syllable Wenzel utters is set to music. The words "Thou-theu-intheuerer Sohn" are to be sung on E the note which serves as the beginning of a definite musical phrase. Mr. Meader stammers them in speech, and in doing so does damage to the melody.

In all other respects Mr. Meader's Wenzel is a unique characterization of an honest country yokel, humorous, with, at times, a touch of pathos. Mr. Bohnen's marriage broker is one of the Metropolitan's classic impersonations, and the rest of the cast is more than adequate. 'The Bartered Bride" at the Metropolitan should not be missed.



Added Index Entries for Subjects and Names


Back to short citation(s).