The Bartered Bride

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The Bartered Bride is a comic opera in three acts by Czech composer Bedrich Smetana (1824-1884) with text by Karel Sabina.

The original text

Set in a country village and with realistic characters, it tells the story of how, after a late surprise revelation, true love prevails over the combined efforts of ambitious parents and a scheming marriage broker.

Premiered Prague National Theatre 30 May, 1866; revised 1869 final version produced 1870. English version at Sadlers Well 1935.

Translations and adaptations

Performance history in South Africa

1943: Presented in Cape Town at the Alhambra Theatre and in Johannesburg jointly by African Consolidated Theatres, the University of Cape Town, the National Opera Company, the Cape Town Municipal Orchestra under William Pickerill and the Johannesburg Philharmonic Society under John Connell (March/April).

1965: CAPAB's first opera, presented in English on 8 February 1965 in the Alhambra Theatre, conducted by David Tidboald, with Nellie du Toit as Mařenka, produced by Leonard Schach.

1965: Presented in English by NAPAC Opera, with Nellie du Toit as Mařenka, produced by Joy Shearer, conducted by Charles Denholm.

1966: Presented in English by PACT Opera, starring Nellie du Toit as Mařenka, produced by Victor Melleney, conducted by Leo Quayle.

1967: Presented by PACT Opera.

2003: Presented by Cape Town Opera (17–23 August)


"The Bartered Bride". Opera Hub.

Wayne Muller. 2018. A reception history of opera in Cape Town: Tracing the development of a distinctly South African operatic aesthetic (1985–2015). Unpublished PhD thesis.

Sjoerd Alkema. 2012. "Conductors of the Cape Town Municipal Orchestra, 1914-1965: a historical perspective". University of Cape Town. Unpublished PhD thesis.

Alexandra Xenia Sabina Mossolow. 2003. The career of South African soprano Nellie du Toit, born 1929. Unpublished Masters thesis. University of Stellenbosch.

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