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Overture to the Comic Opera The Bartered Bride

Smetana's masterpiece is a comic opera, The Bartered Bride. When it had its hundredth performance in Prague, he wrote, exaggerating only a little, "It is a toy, and composing it was merely child's play. I simply tossed it off to spite those who accused me of being Wagnerian and incapable of working in a lighter vein." In fact, the critics claimed to find Wagnerisms in Smetana's music only after a later opera. The Bartered Bride is a brilliant work that could have made Wagner proud to be accused of being Smetanan.

It is a lively an entertaining musical picture of Bohemian rural life that tells the story of a peasant's daughter who outwits her parents and a marriage broker in order to marry a landowner's son whom she loves, rather than his slow-witted half-brother. It was first performed on May 30, l866, in Prague. The rollicking Overture to The Bartered Bride is based on a group of subjects that appear in the finale of the opera's second act. They have a wonderful, fresh, earthy quality , highly appropriate to the character of this peasant comedy. It is scored for piccolo, two flutes, two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons, four horns, two trumpets, three trombones, timpani and strings.

Narodni Divadlo (The National Theatre) where Smetana's music is often heard. There's a hall named after the great Czech musician.

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