Music with Ease > Other 19th Century Opera (Russian, English, Czech, etc.) > The Bartered Bride - Smetana
The Bartered Bride
(Czech title: Prodaná Nevesta)
(German title: Die verkaufte Braut)
An Opera by Bedrich Smetana
Opera in three acts; music by Friedrich Smetana, Czech, text by R. Sabina. Produced in Czech, May 30, 1866, at Prague; in German, April 2, 1893, in Vienna.
KRUSHINA, a peasant
KATHINKA, his wife
MARIE, their daughter
MICHA, a landlord
AGNES, his wife
WENZEL, their son
HANS, Michas son by a first marriage
KEZAL, a marriage broker
SPRINGER, manager of a troop of artists
ESMERALDA, a danseuse
MUFF, a comedian
Act I. It is the anniversary of the consecration of the village church. Marie, daughter of the rich peasant Kruschina, is not happy, for she must today accept a suitor picked out for her by her parents, and she only loves Hans although she does not know of his antecedents. Hans consoles her. He will always be true to her and he comes from a good family, only a wicked step-mother has robbed him of his fathers love. So she must be of good cheer. Then Maries parents arrive with the marriage broker, Kezal. The latter wants to complete arrangements for the marriage of Marie and Wenzel, the rich son of the peasant Micha. When Maries father has given his consent to this union, the go-between considers Maries opposition as a trifle which, he tells Micha outside in the inn, can be easily remedied.
Act II. But with what eyes has Kezal looked upon Wenzel that he praises his excellences so loudly? At any rate not with those of a young woman. can Kruschinas Marie love this stutterer and coxcomb? Never! Fortunately for her, he does not know her; and so the clever girl is able to deceive him. She speaks disparagingly to him of Kruschinas Marie who loves another and whom therefore he should not allow himself to marry. The puzzled Wenzel, enamoured, runs after the laughing girl. On this Hans comes in with Kezal. The latter is telling his companion to give up his love-affair. He offers him first a hundred and finally three hundred florins if he will do so. At last Hans consents, but only on condition that Marie shall marry none other than the son of Michas wife. Kezal is content with that as he understands it. He goes away to get witnesses and everybody is provoked at the light heart with which Hans has sold his bride.
Act III. In the meantime, Wenzel has fallen in love with Esmeralda the danseuse in a troop of acrobats. In his infatuation he allows himself to be induced to act in place of a drunken comedian. His parents and Kezal surprise him while practicing his dance. They are very much astonished when he absolutely refuses to marry Kruschinas Marie. But the matter would have been entirely different had he recognized her to be the lovely maiden of earlier in the day. Marie herself, out of revolt and grief at the fact that her lover has so lightly prized her heart, is ready for everything. Then Hans rushes in, freely expressing his supercilious feelings. All stand astounded until Micha recognizes in Hans his won long missing son by his first marriage. That Hans now signs the contract as the happy husband of Marie is the joyful end of this merry opera.