Bedřich Smetana (1824–1884) devoted all his life to creating of Czech national music culture. When he was nineteen years old, the outstandingly talented son of a rural musician left for Prague, where he acquired extensive professional knowledge. Meanwhile, the revolutionary year of 1848 was approaching, and the composer's activity in the commotion of national feelings in the time of Bach's absolutism had not exactly worked in his favour, so he decided to accept the offer that came from Göteborg in 1856, where he soon became the central figure of the then musical life. When he returned from Prague, he devoted himself mainly to composing for musical theatre. He wrote eight operas, leaning predominantly on Czech cultural tradition. The most known among them is The Bartered Bride (1866). The composer was praised for the last time in 1881, when the new national theatre was inaugurated in Prague with his opera Libuše. Until then The Bartered Bride, which had already seen about a hundred productions in its homeland, was becoming more and more popular outside its borders as well, both for its joyful story about love that conquers all troubles and its music, masterfully coloured with the elements of folklore. Smetana's masterpiece came to life on the Ljubljana Opera stage already in 1894 where it was very popular until the First World War. On 3rd December 1918 the Ljubljana Opera Ensemble was Joined in this performance by professional Ballet Ensemble for the first time. The performance remained on our repertoire even later. The last staging, which was warmly welcomed by our audience as well, took place on this stage in 1998. The new production of The Bartered Bride in our opera theatre was entrusted to a renowned Czech stage director Jiří Nekvasil and a guest conductor from the National Theatre in Prague, David Švec.
Text: Tatjana Ažman