Notes and Editorial Reviews
This remarkable performance, recorded in 1980 and 1981, has never been bettered. Conductor Zdenek Kosler keeps the energy level very high while studiously avoiding overt sentimentality--but this is not to say that Vasek's problems do not evoke pathos. The purely orchestral sections--the overture and dances--are brilliantly played, almost as virtuoso set-pieces, but elsewhere the singers play off one another in a naturally operatic way. (I believe this was taped as the soundtrack to a TV film.) Gabriela Benackova is a lovely, telling Marenka, although oddly, the somewhat sharp edge to her top notes became less pronounced later in her career. Still, her portrayal is complete and a delight. Tenor Peter Dvorsky had a beautiful voice but never
quite achieved the career that, on evidence of this performance, we would presume was in store for him. His Jenik is straightforward and beautifully sung, with solid delivery from top to bottom.
Miroslav Kopp does not oversing or overact the stuttering Vasek, and as hinted above, this makes him more likeable, more tolerable. (Jon Vickers sang the role at the Met in the '80s; Kopp gets far more out of it, with more suitable tone, by refusing to mug.) Richard Novak's bass voice was about five years too ripe when this was recorded; nonetheless, his busybody marriage broker is vivid and fun. The rest of the cast is strong and colorful. The sonics are shiny and brash, but certainly not enough to be bothersome. This set sells the opera, without a problem. [2/18/2003]
--Robert Levine, ClassicsToday.com
Works on This Recording
Bartered Bride, B 143/T 93 by Bedrich Smetana
Marie Vesela (Soprano),
Marie Mrázová (Alto),
Peter Dvorsky (Tenor),
Jindrich Jindrák (Baritone),
Miroslav Kopp (Tenor),
Richard Novák (Bass),
Gabriela Benacková (Soprano),
Jaroslav Horacek (Bass)
Czech Philharmonic Orchestra,
Prague Philharmonic Chorus
Written: 1863/1870; Czech Republic
Length: 138 Minutes 0 Secs.
Featured Sound Samples
Duet: "While a mother's love means blessing"
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