Art & Entertainment | Book Reviews | Education | Entertainment Video | Health | Lifestyle | Sport | Sport Video | Search


A potent and effervescent comic masterpiece


Issued by The NBR New Zealand Opera

30 July 2012

A potent and effervescent comic masterpiece

“...the show zips along, joyfully, liberatingly. Pure heaven.” – The Times, UK

The NBR New Zealand Opera’s restaging of Daniel Slater’s ground-breaking Opera North production of Smetana’s The Bartered Bride, opening in Auckland on 22 September and Wellington on 13 October, dispenses with the folkloric clichés normally associated with this opera in favour of an updated setting in the Czechoslovakia of 1972, four years after the Prague Spring.

Despite the dour influences though, “the show is anything but drab,” Alfred Hickling reported in The Guardian, UK. “In fact, it’s one of the most vivaciously animated opera productions in years,” and is proof that “true love can always shine through hideous clothes.”

General Director of The NBR New Zealand Opera, Aidan Lang, agrees. “This is a fast-moving and very theatrical production, with an effervescence to it. There’s a definite Eastern European feel, but Daniel Slater’s direction brilliantly captures the warmth and humour of the story while still allowing the audience to sense the underbelly of it.

“Designer Robert Innes Hopkins’ delightfully bad ’70s hair and clothes further add to the opera’s comic charms,” he adds. “And the music is dazzling, and gorgeously lyrical. It’s also technically challenging, so we’ve cast some leading singers in order to meet those demands.”

The story and the stars…

In a Czech village, Mařenka (NZ soprano Anna Leese) is distraught because she is being forced to marry Vašek (NZ tenor Andrew Glover), a stuttering rich boy, instead of her heart’s desire, the mysterious Jenik (English tenor Peter Wedd). The marriage broker, Kecal (NZ bass Conal Coad) is determined to get his cut and tries to scare off Jenik, and Mařenka uses her feminine wiles to confuse poor Vašek. Can this love triangle successfully turn back into the conventional shape?

more…/page 2

Page 2…/A potent and effervescent comic masterpiece

In other principal roles, Australian Taryn Fiebig (soprano) sings Esmeralda, the star of the circus, and John Antoniou (Australian baritone) joins New Zealanders Patricia Wright (soprano), Richard Green (bass) and Helen Medlyn (mezzo soprano) to sing Krušina, Ludmila, Micha and Hata, respectively.

Returning following critical acclaim as conductor of 2011’s Cav & Pag is Oliver von Dohnányi, Director of the State Opera of Prague and the original conductor of this production when it was performed in the UK.

The Bartered Bride is accompanied by the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra and the Vector Wellington Orchestra, with the Chapman Tripp Opera Chorus. It is sung in English.


Auckland – ASB Theatre, Aotea Centre

Sat 22 Sep (7.30pm), Tue 25 Sep (6.30pm), Thu 27 Sep (7.30pm), Sat 29 Sep (7.30pm)

Wellington – St James Theatre

Sat 13 Oct (7.30pm), Tue 16 Oct (6pm), Thu 18 Oct (7.30pm), Sat 20 Oct (7.30pm)

Single Tickets: $49.50 to $189.50. Concessions available for benefactors, senior citizens, students and group bookings. Service fees apply.

Bookings: NZ Opera Box Office, Tel (09) 379 4068 or (04) 499 8343, or:

Auckland: The Edge, Tel 0800 BUYTICKETS (0800 289 842) or

Wellington: Ticketek, Tel 0800 TICKETEK (0800 842 538) or


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Howard Davis: Emerald Fennell's Promising Young Woman'

The Guardian needed not one, but three reviews to do justice to Fennell's unsettling approach, which indicates exactly how ambiguous and controversial its message really is. More>>

Howard Davis: Jill Trevelyan's Rita Angus

Although Angus has become one of Aotearoa’s best-loved painters, the story of her life remained little known and poorly understood before Jill Trevelyan's acclaimed and revelatory biography, which won the Non Fiction Award at the Montana New Zealand Book Awards in 2009, and has now been republished by Te Papa press. More>>

Howard Davis: The Back of the Painting

Painting conservators are the forensic pathologists of the art world. While they cannot bring their subjects back to life, they do provide fascinating insights into the precise circumstances of a painting's creation, its material authenticity, and constructive methodology. More>>

Howard Davis: Black Panthers on the Prowl

A passionate and gripping political drama from Shaka King, this is an informative and instructive tale of human frailty that centers around the charismatic Chicago Black Panther leader Fred Hampton, who was murdered at the age of twenty-one during a police raid. More>>

Howard Davis: Controlling the High Ground

Stephen Johnson's raw and angry film not only poses important questions with scrupulous authenticity, but also provides a timely reminder of the genocidal consequences of casual bigotry and xenophobia. More>>

Howard Davis: Dryzabone - Robert Conolly's The Dry

After the terrible devastation caused by last year’s bushfires, which prompted hundreds of Australians to shelter in the ocean to escape incineration and destroyed uncountable amounts of wildlife, The Dry has been released during a totally different kind of dry spell. More>>

Howard Davis: Hit the Road, Jack - Chloé Zhao's Nomadland

Nomadland is perhaps the ultimately 'road' movie as it follows a group of dispossessed and disenfranchised vagabonds who find a form of communal refuge in camp sites and trailer parks after the economic contraction of 2008. More>>



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland