The Bartered Bride
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The National TheatreApproximate running time
3 hours, 2 intermission (20 minutes) minutesLanguage
In Czech, surtitles in Czech, EnglishPremiere
Premiere: 22 and 24 April 2021 at the National Theatre
For over 150 years, The Bartered Bride has occupied the top position among Czech operas. Said to be now part of the Czech DNA, its popularity eclipses that of any other feted Bedřich Smetana opera. Yet at the time when it came into being, in the 1860s, The Bartered Bride was a rather audacious experiment.
National Theatre Chorus
National Theatre Orchestra
National Theatre Opera Ballet
Smetana and the librettist Karel Sabina masterfully mocked all those who expected the “national opera” to be an idyllic picture of the Czech countryside, with its inhabitants being virtuous and governed by high morals. The Bartered Bride is thus far more humorous than “national”. Nonetheless, its humour is precisely of the type Czechs so love, and hence Smetana’s opera, abounding in irony, scathing, occasionally even cynical, wit, as well as tenderness and simple joie de vivre, has ultimately become “national” in the best sense of the word ...
The National Theatre has presented many adaptations of The Bartered Bride, which has always been a staple of its repertoire. The 21st production of The Bartered Bride was entrusted to the film and stage director Alice Nellis. What prevails this time? Sentimental foregrounding of the life in a picturesque Czech village, or jest and the self-irony with which Smetana and Sabina imbued their opera? As interpreted by Alice Nellis, The Bartered Bride this time does not only poke fun at villagers of bygone times, but also at those who for generations have striven to find the formula for restaging the Czech "opera of operas“. Accordingly, the new production of The Bartered Bride does not only retell the story of Mařenka, Jeník, Vašek and Kecal, it is also about “how opera is made“ – how rehearsals proceed, how it gradually assumes a theatrical shape, how the director tries to make the opera “modern”, how the others frown at his endeavours, what can happen at the rehearsals,
and how The Bartered Bride finally finds the right form – merry indeed, as well as moving and visually beautiful!
WARNING: We use tobacco products during the performance.
Suitable for audience from 10 years.
Photo and video gallery
Where to buy tickets
The National Theatre sells tickets up to 6 months in advance. On 1 March at 9am we started selling tickets for performances of Drama, Ballet, Opera and Laterna magika until the end of August 2023.
When purchasing online, you can get an e-ticket. You can pick up printed tickets in person at the box offices of the National Theatre.
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What to wear?
By their appearance, attire and behaviour, the audience is obliged to adhere to the accustomed practice expected from them when attending a theatre performance.
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