I first visited
Producer Michael Hampe has done some good work at the Colón ("Così fan tutte", "
This work became the very symbol of a national Czech opera, with Smetana´s lovely and exhilarating music blended with a simple tale of rural life. The great talent of this revival was to be sufficiently inventive and modern without losing the original character. As the programme notes aptly put it: "The endeavor for authenticity, credibility does not strive for modernization but for understanding of the bygone life in the Czech village". This was fully obtained by producer Magdalena Svecová , with stage designs based on pieces of scenery that looked like rolls of hay and were amazingly versatile (by Petr Matásek) and charming costumes by Zuzana Pridalová. The matchmaker Kecal´s traveling contraption was particularly funny. And the circus scene wonderfully well executed at a tremendous clip. The choreograph lively (Ladislava Kosíková).
The best voice and interpretation was that of Dana Buresová as Marenka. Pavel Cernoch was personable as Jeník. Martin Gurbal´ was rather short of voice as Kecal, but he used his towering figure to advantage and was a good comedian. Václav Lemberk was a bit too sober as the nitwit Vasek. Others were in the picture (the two couples of parents and the circus people). The Choir under Pavel Vanek got into the spirit of the celebration with freshness and brio. And the Orchestra under Ondrej Lenárd, not quite as dazzling as some bits can be, were always professional and idiomatic.
This time I couldn´t see opera at the other two houses, the small one where Mozart premiered "Don Giovanni" (Stavovské) and the much bigger Státní.