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CHAN 3128M
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CHAN 3128
(multiple CD Set)

Smetana: The Bartered Bride

The Classical Shop
release date: October 2005

Originally recorded in 2005


Philharmonia Orchestra

Sir Charles Mackerras

Neal Davies

baritone - Krušina

Peter Rose

bass - Kecal

Geoffrey Moses

bass - Toby Mícha

Kit Hesketh-Harvey


Diana Montague

mezzo-soprano - Háta

Yvonne Howard

mezzo-soprano - Ludmila

Yvette Bonner

soprano - Esmeralda

Susan Gritton

soprano - Marenka

Paul Charles Clarke

tenor - Jeník

Robin Leggate

tenor - Ringmaster

Timothy Robinson

tenor - Vašek

Royal Opera Chorus


Blackheath Halls, London


Brian Couzens


Ralph Couzens

Michael Common


Record Label
Opera In English


Vocal & Song

Opera in English

Total Time - 142:08
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The Bartered Bride

  Comic opera in three acts  
  Libretto by Karel Sabina, English version by Kit Hesketh-Harvey  
1 Overture 6:28
  Act I  
  Scene 1  
2 'Time at last for celebration' 4:36
3 'Why do you look so downcast' 3:27
  Jeník, Marenka, Chorus  
  Scene 2  
4 'Jeník, what will happen if Mother's right?' 1:18
  Marenka, Jeník  
5 Aria: 'Promise me that you would never' 3:34
6 'Is it so unfair to want to know' 0:53
  Marenka, Jeník  
7 Duet: 'Such a mother is a blessing' 2:25
  Jeník, Marenka  
8 'Faithful love I vow to you' 3:44
  Marenka, Jeník  
  Scene 3  
9 'Every detail has been sorted' 5:05
  Kecal, Krušina, Ludmila  
10 'Hold it! Are we not forgetting' 0:59
  Krušina, Kecal, Ludmila  
11 Trio: 'Well, as I told you, he's kind and he's gentle' 3:58
  Kecal, Ludmila, Krušina  
  Scene 4  
12 'Look! She's coming!' 4:52
  Kecal, Ludmila, Krušina, Marenka  
13 'Fine then, say what you will' 1:54
  Marenka, Krušina, Ludmila, Kecal  
  Scene 5 - Finale  
14 Introduction: Polka - 4:33
  'Take your partners for the polka'  
  Act II  
  Scene 1  
15 'So charge the glasses, lads' 5:05
  Chorus, Jeník, Kecal  
16 Furiant 2:18
  Scene 2  
17 'Ma. . . Ma. . . My mamma said' 2:19
  Scene 3  
18 'Don't say you're the body' 1:29
  Marenka, Vašek  
19 Duet: 'I know there's a girl for you' 6:02
  Marenka, Vašek  
  Scene 4  
20 'I have plenty of others' 0:48
21 Duet: 'Just a word or two, my friend' 2:40
22 'Time and time again I encounter men' 3:33
23 'Think what it's worth, lad' 2:04
24 'You'll go home to Moravia?' 3:34
  Kecal, Jeník  
  Scene 5  
25 'Ah, my friend! Once you learn' 3:50
  Scene 6 - Finale  
26 'Come now everyone, gather round' 4:16
  Kecal, Chorus, Jeník, Krušina  
  Act III  
  Scene 1  
27 'I'm near now to despairing' 4:01
  Scene 2  
28 'Roll up! Roll up ladies and gentlemen!' 2:45
29 Ballet 6:02
30 'Oh, it looks so lovely!' 4:53
  Vašek, Esmeralda, Indian, Ringmaster  
31 Duettino: 'Mother doesn't matter, Mother wouldn't care!' 1:44
  Esmeralda, Ringmaster  
  Scene 3  
32 'Oh, I don't understand it!' 0:57
  Vašek, Hásek, Kecal, Mícha  
33 Quartet: 'What? Dare he? Would he? You do what?' 2:44
  Háta, Mícha, Kecal, Vašek  
  Scene 4  
34 'No! I don't believe you!' 4:58
  Marenka, Krušina, Kecal, Ludmila, Háta, Mícha  
  Scene 5  
35 'Oh, Vašek! Don't run away!' 1:14
  Kecal, Vašek, Ludmila, Háta, Krušina, Mícha  
36 Sextet: 'Think it over, Marenka, think it through' 3:18
  Ludmila, Háta, Krušina, Kecal, Mícha, Marenka  
  Scene 6  
37 'Oh, but the pain! The burning pain!' 1:49
38 'We dreamed upon a moonlit night' 4:33
  Scene 7  
39 'Marenka mine, Marenka mine!' 4:31
  Jeník, Marenka  
  Scene 8  
40 'So then, young man' 1:19
  Kecal, Marenka, Jeník  
41 Trio: 'Be calm, oh my love' 3:37
  Jeník, Marenka, Kecal  
  Scene 9 - Finale  
42 'Tell us, Marenka, it's all up to you' 1:11
  Chorus, Marenka, Jeník  
43 'It's Jeník! What's he doing here?' 3:40
  Háta, Mícha, Jeník, Kecal, Marenka, Ludmila, Krušina  
  Scene 10  
44 'Everybody get out of the way!' 3:08
  Two boys, Vašek, Háta, Krušina, Ludmila, Mícha, Marenka, Jeník, Chorus  
 Neal Davies baritone - Krušina
 Yvonne Howard mezzo-soprano - Ludmila
 Susan Gritton soprano - Marenka
 Geoffrey Moses bass - Toby Mícha
 Diana Montague mezzo-soprano - Háta
 Timothy Robinson tenor - Vašek
 Paul Charles Clarke tenor - Jeník
 Peter Rose bass - Kecal
 Robin Leggate tenor - Ringmaster
 Yvette Bonner soprano - Esmeralda
 Kit Hesketh-Harvey Indian
 Sir Charles Mackerras
  15-21 & 23 December 2004  
Following the internationally applauded recording of The Magic Flute, which was an ‘Editor’s Choice’ in Gramophone, Sir Charles Mackerras returns to conduct Smetana’s The Bartered Bride.This is Mackerras’s eighth recording on the Opera in English label, and marks the 10th anniversary of the collaboration between Chandos and the Peter Moores Foundation.

Susan Gritton and Diana Montague head a remarkable cast conducted by Sir Charles Mackerras.

This is the only complete recording of the work available in English on CD.

Two-disc set at mid-price.

Composing The Bartered Bride was quite a struggle for Smetana, and his second opera was received at its premiere with frigid indifference. It took seven years, four rewrites and a significant political change in Central Europe before it achieved the popular acclaim which ensured its survival in the repertoire. Smetana’s revisions were comprehensive. In the original, the dramatic action was entirely carried forward by speech – as it is in The Magic Flute or Cornelius’s The Barber of Baghdad. By giving the recitatives an orchestral accompaniment, Smetana shifted the piece firmly away from the territory of operetta or opéra comique, converting what is in some respects a formulaic comedy into a score that hints at darker emotions underneath. The original work was cast in two acts and made a rather lightweight evening’s entertainment. In restructuring it, Smetana split the opera into three, with an opening scene in Act II which is a virtual miniature folk festival. Even the original opera was permeated with folk melodies and rhythms, but by building an entire scene from traditional dances, Smetana fashioned a form of vernacular musical theatre which spawned imitations for the next half century. And his transformation of the overture’s development section into the complex comic finale to Act II is as inventive as anything by Rossini.

In today’s Prague, it is still heresy to suggest that Dvorák was the more profound creator of romantic opera and Janácek the more penetrating and heart-rending musical dramatist. Where Smetana excels is in reflective lyrical writing. The extended ensemble at the centre of Act III does nothing to forward the drama, but searches into the souls of the principal characters and more than compensates for the opera’s lack of dramatic development. We do not go to Smetana for psychology or spiritual depth, but there is no need for special pleading when the drama is dressed in such inebriating rhythms and such melodic grace. It is these qualities which ensure that The Bartered Bride is the one opera by Smetana which will always find a place in any theatre and in any language.

"What makes this translated version so successful is not just the brilliant conducting of Sir Charles Mackerras and the scintilating playing of the Philharmonia Orchestra, with an exceptionally strong team of soloists working well together, but also the extra impact of the comedy made by performance in the vernacular. The echoes of G & S, with double-rhymes given a jolly Gilbertian ring, distracting in many operas for once see entirely appropriate, adding to the joy of the piece... "

The Penguin Guide - 1000 Greatest Classical Recordings 2011-12

Throughout Mackerras secures marvellous playing from the Philharmonia Orchestra; it would be hard to imagine a more exhilarating performance of the overture' There is distinguished solo singing with Susan Gritton an impressively rounded Marenka; Paul Charles Clark is a firm-voiced Jenik and Tim Robinson duly charming as Vasek. Above all, the prevalent impression is of a strong ensemble performance enhanced by a realistic recording.
BBC Music Magazine

…a truly magnificent achievement.
Gramophone ‘Editor’s Choice’ on CHAN 3106(2) (Jenufa)

Mackerras and the Philharmonia do justice to the lovely score, with its snappy rhythms and delectable woodwind writing, and the sweetness of its melodies. Susan Gritton is a touching Marenka, Paul Charles Clark an ardent Jenik, Timothy Robinson a charming Vasek and Robin Leggate a commanding Ringmaster. In the central role of Kecal, the marriage broker, Peter Rose makes the most of Kit Hesketh-Harvey’s racy English translation.
The Sunday Times

How fortunate we are to have this live recording…
BBC Music Magazine on CHAN 3017(2) (Mary Stuart)

Mackerras… is perhaps the world’s wisest and most inquiring Mozartian, and here he gets playing of magical transparency from the LPO… bringing a sense of wonder to the music now rarely experienced in the theatre.
The Sunday Times ‘Classical CD of the Week’ on CHAN 3121(2) (The Magic Flute)

Outstanding in a well-balanced cast is Susan Gritton’s Marenka… To have Sir Charles Mackerras conducting is of course a great bonus. He it is who gives the whole performance its character… there is certainly plenty to enjoy and admire in the new set.
International Record Review

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