Press Release – NBR New Zealand Opera
“…the show zips along, joyfully, liberatingly. Pure heaven.” – The Times, UK
The NBR New Zealand Opera’s restaging of Daniel Slater’s ground-breaking Opera North production of Smetana’s The Bartered Bride, opening in Wellington on 13 October, dispenses with the folkloric clichés normally associated with this opera in favour of an updated setting in the Czechoslovakia of 1972, four years after the Prague Spring.
Despite the dour influences though, “the show is anything but drab,” Alfred Hickling reported in The Guardian, UK. “In fact, it’s one of the most vivaciously animated opera productions in years,” and is proof that “true love can always shine through hideous clothes.”
General Director of The NBR New Zealand Opera, Aidan Lang, agrees. “This is a fast-moving and very theatrical production, with an effervescence to it. There’s a definite Eastern European feel, but Daniel Slater’s direction brilliantly captures the warmth and humour of the story while still allowing the audience to sense the underbelly of it.
“Designer Robert Innes Hopkins’ delightfully bad ’70s hair and clothes further add to the opera’s comic charms,” he adds. “And the music is dazzling, and gorgeously lyrical. It’s also technically challenging, so we’ve cast some leading singers in order to meet those demands.”
The story and the stars…
In a Czech village, Mařenka (NZ soprano Anna Leese) is distraught because she is being forced to marry Vašek (NZ tenor Andrew Glover), a stuttering rich boy, instead of her heart’s desire, the mysterious Jenik (English tenor Peter Wedd). The marriage broker, Kecal (NZ bass Conal Coad) is determined to get his cut and tries to scare off Jenik, and Mařenka uses her feminine wiles to confuse poor Vašek. Can this love triangle successfully turn back into a conventional one?
In other principal roles, Australian Taryn Fiebig (soprano) sings Esmeralda, the star of the circus, and John Antoniou (Australian baritone) joins New Zealanders Patricia Wright (soprano), Richard Green (bass) and Helen Medlyn (mezzo soprano) to sing Krušina, Ludmila, Micha and Hata, respectively.
Returning following critical acclaim as conductor of 2011’s Cav & Pag is Oliver von Dohnányi, Director of the State Opera of Prague and the original conductor of this production when it was performed in the UK.
The Bartered Bride is accompanied by the Vector Wellington Orchestra, with the Chapman Tripp Opera Chorus. It is sung in English.
THE BARTERED BRIDE
Wellington – St James Theatre
Sat 13 Oct (7.30pm), Tue 16 Oct (6pm), Thu 18 Oct (7.30pm), Sat 20 Oct (7.30pm)
Single Tickets: $49.50 to $189.50. Concessions available for benefactors, senior citizens, students and group bookings. Service fees apply.
Bookings: NZ Opera Box Office, Tel (09) 379 4068 or (04) 499 8343, or:
Wellington: Ticketek, Tel 0800 TICKETEK (0800 842 538) or www.ticketek.co.nz