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humorous enterprise and musical magic – Seen and Heard Worldwide

Sweden Smetana, Brudköpet (The Bartered Bride): Soloists, Refrain and Orchestra of Gothenburg Opera / Alevtina Ioffe (conductor). Gothenburg Opera principal stage, 25.9.2022. (NS)

Jeník (Adam Frandsen) and Mařenka (Matilda Sterby) and members of Gothenburg Opera Refrain © Lennart Sjöberg

Director – Mellika Melouani Melani
Set – Ben Baur
Costume design – Uta Meenen
Lighting design – Joakim Brink
Choreography – Roger Lybeck
Libretto in a brand new Swedish translation by Fredrik Fischer and Linnea Sjunnesson.

Krušina – Mattias Ermedahl
Ludmila – Pauliina Sairanen
Mařenka – Matilda Sterby
Mícha – Anders Lorentzson
Háta – Katarina Giotas
Vašek – Conny Thimander
Jeník – Adam Frandsen
Kecal – Mats Almgren
Circus director – Daniel Ralphsson
Esmeralda – Mia Karlsson
The acrobat – Jonas Egfors
Circus artistes – Lisa Angberg, Jesper Nikolajeff, Anna-Maija Nyman, Jan Unestam
Dancers – Julie Dariosecq, Nanna Larsen, Vadim Nuñez Belousov

If there might be one phrase to explain this vivid manufacturing of Smetana’s The Bartered Bride it could be ‘all in’. This autumn’s comedian opera on the Gothenburg Opera is a high-effort operation and people efforts are largely rewarded. Director Mellika Melouani Melani avoids the folkloric parts widespread in productions of this opera and the very good new Swedish translation of the libretto sensitively modernises the language with out altering the essential story.

As a substitute of being set in a nineteenth-century Czech village this manufacturing is about in a post-disaster close to future in an economically depressed small city. Society right here is Bohemian within the different sense: individuals clearly stay within the second and intercourse is within the air. That is made fairly abundantly clear by many bare extras in numerous scenes within the first half of the efficiency. Sadly this stage enterprise is extra usually distracting than atmospheric, specifically through the overture.

Mařenka (a terrific Matilda Sterby) will get to maintain her garments on however is clearly a warm-blooded younger lady. Sterby performs her character with absolute conviction and is open to her vulnerability: her worries about not understanding a lot about her lover’s background after which her devastation at his obvious betrayal. Sparks fly within the duet that follows that discovery. Jeník can barely get a phrase in edgeways as Mařenka’s fury sweeps over him. Sterby has a remarkably well-developed soprano for a singer so early in her profession, combining heat, projection and strong approach to grasp Mařenka’s complete vary and talk her character’s ardour.

Adam Frandsen’s Jeník is an outstanding vocal match for Mařenka. He has a lovely but additionally strong tenor that completely represents a strapping younger man with a tragic previous. Their love duets are vocally and musically beautiful. Frandsen convincingly portrays Jeník’s supposed selfishness to Kecal and cheekily bids up the value of ‘promoting’ Mařenka to 3 occasions Kecal’s preliminary supply, a lot in order that the previous gangster warns Jeník to not push his luck as Kecal has methods of creating individuals disappear.

Mats Almgren’s Kecal is a many-faceted character: a cynic, verbal and authorized manipulator, and clearly some form of gangster with a flamboyant costume sense and an intimidating set of henchmen. I used to be involved that it could be tough to consider that Jeník would knowingly trick such a harmful individual out of an enormous sum of cash however the denouement on the finish of the opera solved that downside properly. I loved this interpretation of Kecal and it definitely added an additional dimension of implied risk when Kecal explains to Krušina and Ludmila that marrying Mařenka to Vašek is the answer to their monetary disaster.

Mattias Ermedahl was a sympathetic Krušina, whose monetary vulnerability was underlined by his character being in a wheelchair. Probably the most transferring moments of the opera was when Mařenka, devastated after Jeník’s treachery, curled up in her father’s lap to be comforted. Pauliina Sairanen (substituting for Carolina Sandgren) made a strong first efficiency as Ludmila and threw herself into the character with gusto. Katarina Giotas made a powerful first look as Háta within the opening to Act II, shepherding a really shy Vašek to the inn, despite the fact that she didn’t have a phrase to sing in that scene. Her husband Mícha is portrayed as a helpless drunk, not giving Anders Lorentzson a lot alternative to shine. Háta is clearly the dominant companion in that marriage.

Vašek (Conny Thimander, centre) surrounded by Mařenka (Matilda Sterby, proper) and her mates © Lennart Sjöberg

Conny Thimander was an outstanding and sympathetic Vašek. On this manufacturing Vašek has no stutter however is socially awkward extra as a nerd (not that being underneath his formidable mom’s thumb has helped him develop a social life). Thimander’s tenor is gentle and engaging and brings out Vašek’s uncertainties and longings. His character blossoms splendidly when he discovers the circus. Their entrance was memorable, full with juggling chainsaws and Vašek being sawn in half! Certainly, it was within the third act that the manufacturing actually labored nicely visually with spectacle and private interactions working collectively.

The Gothenburg Opera Refrain confirmed an infectious zest for all times each vocally and of their appearing, most of all when each women and men have been singing collectively. (Although a particular point out should go to the male refrain members who had silent roles as Kecal’s thuggish henchmen – they have been amusingly stereotypical!) Alevtina Ioffe carried out with such a way of line that I barely observed Smetana’s fairly eclectic combine of various musical kinds; underneath her baton the opera felt like a musical entire and was fantastically paced. The Gothenburg Opera Orchestra performed fantastically and balanced nicely with the singers, whereas clearly completely having fun with themselves within the massive set items. For me the very good music and appearing make up for the onstage distractions – it’s arduous to not be carried away with the fervour and the humour.

Niklas Smith

Enjoying till 25 October, for extra data and tickets see the Gothenburg Opera web site (click on right here). Swedish Radio recorded the premiere (with Carolina Sandgren as Ludmila) and can broadcast on 22 October. The published will likely be obtainable to stream for 30 days after broadcast on the Swedish Radio web site (click on right here) and SR Play app.



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