Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
A wonderful and funny opera for those who appreciate it
D. J. Edwards | 01/19/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I ordered the audio CD of Smetana's opera The Bartered Bride because I knew about the plot and thought it very good. I was right! I really enjoyed it. I did have to read the guide as I listened to it, and because there was an English translation which I read prior to listening to it for the first time, I understood it for the most part. The plotline is simple enough if you understand it. Marenka, a peasant girl in a Czech village, is in love with Jenik, whose past is unknown. However, a marriage broker, Kecal, has encouraged her parents to have her marry Vasek, the second son of a landowner named Tobias Micha. Micha did have another son, an elder one, but that son had disappeared. Marenka persuades Vasek to give her up, and Kecal appears to persuade Jenik to give Marenka up in exchange for money to "the son of Tobias Micha". It turns out that Jenik is the eldest son of Tobias Micha! The singers all did a good job portraying their characters. Miroslav Kopp, who sang Vasek, did a good job portraying Vasek's immaturity. Vasek is nice, but he's just a boy, basically. Kecal believes he's clever enough to get what he wants, and Richard Novak reveals this very clearly. Gabriella Benackova-Capova portrays the essentially serious (though occaisonally gay) Marenka very well also. I especially loved Peter Dvorsky's Jenik. Dvorsky showed us the genuiness of Jenik's love, and Jenik's cleverness as well. I especially loved hearing Jenik bargaining with Kecal, since I knew the joke was on Kecal. I recommend this opera to all opera lovers, though of course those who hate opera probably won't enjoy it, since it is sung in Czech. Belle Book"
An Opera Goer | Southern Califorina, USA | 08/14/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Sometime ago I posted a review on the highlights version of this audio CD. As an after thought, I think it is also proper to post a review here because both are from the same recording.
I agree with Mr. Edwards's assessment of this CD (which appears in the box set version of the same recording). Basically, he described it (being quoted here) as: 1. It is one of the greatest recordings of the BARTERED BRIDE now available or ever available on CD. 2. The casting has no equal. 3. There is absolutely no weak link and the sound is top notch.
I cannot think of any better way to put it other than what he said. Right on! Having said, I do like to take this opportunity to elaborate this subject matter further.
Case in point: There is a 1963 EMI recording that included Pilar Lorengar and Fritz Wunderlich. As far as singing goes, I consider these two teams of singers are equal (i.e., Benackova/Dvorsky vs. Lorengar/Wunderlich). The rest of the cast in the EMI CD that includes Gottlob Frick is just as strong. One might argue that it is hard to compare the two CDs because the EMI recording was sung in German, rather than the original Czech. We may even have the tendency to giving more credit leaning toward the cast that has Czech as their native lounge. But I really like to draw people's attention on Lorengar, who's singing on the EMI CD. It is so good that no one should miss, especially for whose likes a crystal clear voice. And this is the best recording of hers as cited by many music critics. Don't take the critics' word for it; just judge it yourself. It was pity that none of Marenka's music is included in the ART OF PILAR LORENGAR (DECCA, a 2-CD Set).
It should be noted that I gave 4 stars to the highlight CD (instead of 5 stars for this full version) because Marenka's area in Act 3 was not included there.
G.D. | Norway | 12/05/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a classic performance. In fact, I don't think it has many serious contenders in the catalogue. The main characters are excellent. Gabriela Benackova as Marenka gives a splendidly warm characterization and the slightly sharp sounds when she is singing at the top end of the spectrum is no more than a quibble; none at all about Peter Dvorsky as Jenik or Miroslav Kopp as Vasek.
In fact, there are no serious objections to anything on this set. Kosler gives an eminently energetic and vigorous performance (the famous orchestral sections, for instance, are marvelous), and the rest of the cast doesn't really have one weak link.
Sound quality is perhaps not faultless (it is a little clangy in a way which might lead you to believe that the recording is a little older than it actually is), but nothing to complain seriously about. Strongly recommended."