Rockdale Opera Company’s production of THE BARTERED BRIDE, a comic Czech opera, is a fine night’s entertainment.
The original version of the opera by Bedrich Smetana premiered in Prague in 1886 with the first English version at Sadlers Wells in 1935.
Director Luise Napier has very successfully updated the words to suit the present day and apart from some judicious cuts musical director Julia de Plater has maintained the music as originally composed.
The road sign for kangaroos, koalas in the tree and a dunny ensure there can be no mistaking the setting has been changed from the original Bohemian country village to a rural town in Australia. This shift works very well as it is a small Czech community celebrating May Day. Much of the original culture is preserved such as a czech folk dance around a may pole, yet comic highlights are added with touches such as the dancing koala and the occasional use of a broad Australian accent.
For the latest concert combining the marvelous talents of the Willoughby Symphony and Choir, the concert hall at the Concourse was packed to the rafters and we were privileged to hear some ravishing, glorious playing and singing.
The program opened with a delightful , somewhat boisterous rendition of the Brahms Academic Festival Overture Op.80. Written for the University of Breslau, the piece was given a brisk, dynamic reading. Rather lighthearted, Brahms develops and expands the melodies of four well known student drinking songs and the piece features triumphant horns.
This was another extremely impressive production by Operantics, dazzlingly sung.
LA SONNAMBULA started began life in Paris in 1827 as a ballet, at the height of a craze for stage works featuring somnambulism. Bellini’s opera was first performed in 1831. Various stars who have performed in the demanding roles include Pasta, Malibran, Callas, Pavarotti and Sutherland. More recently there was the controversial production in 2009 at the Met in New York with French soprano Natalie Dessay. Opera Australia’s most recent production was in 2010 with Emma Matthews.