The Bartered Bride

Armidale Town Hall - June/July 1966

Stage Direction by Muriel Jenson
Musical Direction by Keith Aubrey

By Frederic Smetana. Libretto by Karel Sabina. English version by Rosa Newmarch.

SYNOPSIS

Act I

The fold of a Bohemian village are gaily celebrating their Patron Saint's Day. Among them, only Marenka is sad. She tells her sweetheart, Jenik, that her parents are planning her marriage with a man she cannot love - Vasek, the simple-minded son of the wealthy landowner Micha. Jenik reassures her, explaining that he was turned out after his father's second marriage. They sing about the strength of their love and their confidence in the future.

Ketsal, the village marriage broker, arrives with Marenka's parents and harangues them about keeping to the bargain they have made. He assures them to their satisfaction that although Vasek is a bit slow and odd he has every other virtue in abundance and would make a fitting husband for their daughter.

Marenka makes it plain however that she has a lover to whom she has sworn fidelity. Ketsal, confident of overcoming what he regards as a trifling difficulty, determines to go off to the inn to have a word with Jenik. The villagers return and dance and sing a lively polka.

Act II

At the inn the men sing in praise of beer, while Jenik praises love; Ketsal watching them, praises only money. Villagers arrive and dance a lively Furiant. Vasek enters, a pathetic stuttering figure. Marenka tells Vasek (who does not know her) that everyone pities him for having to marry such a disagreeable girl as Marenka, especially as someone else (she makes out) is pining for him - implying herself.

Ketsal approaches Jenik, promising to find him a rich wife. He offer Jenik a hundred crowns to give up Marenka. When the offer has trebled, Jenik agrees - on condition that Marenka marries no one other than Micha's eldest son. Ketsal returns with the contract and with Krushina and many villagers as witnesses, Jenik signs.

All are astonished and disgusted to learn that Jenik should have bartered his bride-to-be so readily.

Act III

Vasek, alone on the village green, anxiously bewails he prospective fate as husband of the terrible Marenka. A troupe of strolling players arrive and their manager advertises a programme of varied attractions. The Dance of the Comedians follows. Vasek becomes especially interested in the Spanish dancer, Esmeralda. When the manager learns that the man who plays the dancing bear is drunk, Esmeralda entices Vasek to take his place and she and the manager show him what he has to do.

When Vasek's parents, Hata and Micha, arrive with Ketsal who has the marriage contract, Vasek refuses to sign because of what he has heard about Marenka. Marenka distressed by Jenik's apparent treachery, cannot be prevailed upon to sign the contract either. Left alone, she sings with bitter nostalgia, of her dreams of happiness with Jenik. Jenik arrives, but when he tries to explain to her, she reproaches him for his infidelity.

When the villagers and the four parents return Marenka announces that she will, after all, marry Vasek. Hata and Micha are disconcerted to see Jenik - especially when he greets Micha as his father. Ketsal too is taken aback. Marenka at last realises what has happened and of course chooses Jenik. The villagers join in the laughter at Ketsal's expense.

Suddenly there are cries of confusion, as a 'bear' appears. It is Vasek. Hata, his mother, sends him off in

disgrace. All agree to sink their differences and join in congratulating the united lovers.

SETTING

A Bohemian village on the afternoon and evening of the Patron Saint's Day during the first half of the nineteenth century.

SCENES

Act I

The village green. A fair is being held, Afternoon

Act II

Interior of the village inn.

Act III

The village green. Evening.

MUSICAL NUMBERS

Act I

'Come then, let us all be merry' - Chorus
'If I thought you would be faithless' - Marenka
'Though a mother is a blessing' - Jenik and Marenka
'As I said before old crony' - Ketsal, Krushina and Ludmilla 
'Such a nice lad'
'Gently bring the girl to reason'
'Come now lassies with bright faces' - Chorus

Act II

'Come comrades down the foaming ale' - Chorus
(Fariant)
'Ma-ma said to me' - Vasek
'I know of one lonely maid' - Marenka and Vasek
'Just a word with you my boy' - Ketsal and Jenik
'Every lover's girl is to him a pearl' - Ketsal
'I know a maiden with riches laiden' - Ketsal and Jenik
'How could he ever dream that I would barter you?' - Jenik
'Come here, neighbours all' - Ketsal, Jenik, Krushina and chorus

Act III

'With dread my wits are cumbered' - Vasek
(Entry of strolling players and Manager)
(Dance of the Comedians) 
'Now my dear Sir Bruin' - Esmeralda and Manager
'What! What's this! You refuse?' - Ensemble 
'No! I'll not believe it' - Ensemble
'Stay awhile here and ponder' 
'Ah! Bitterness! Our dream of love how fair it was!' - Marenka
'Now what a stubborn lass you are' - Jenik and Marenka
'Take comfort, my dearest'
'Have you reflected and made up your mind?' - Principals and chorus

CAST (in order of appearance)

Jenik, A peasant, son of Micha's first wife: Ken Field, Marenka, Daughter of Ludmilla and Krushina: Beryl Sattler, Ketsal, The village marriage broker: Alan McEachern, Krushina, A peasant: Bob Dunn, Ludmila, His wife: Val Philp, Vasek, Son of Micha's second wife, Hata: Arthur Lockley, The Manager of a troupe of strolling players: David Sawkins, Esmeralda, A dancer: Dal Ellis, Indian: Bruce Leman, Hata, Micha's second wife: May Croaker, Micha, A wealthy landowner: Bill Pearson

Boys: Josef Keena, Christopher Keena, Clown: Peter Curtis, Tumbler: Peter Caling, Principal Dancer: Rosalie Fairhall, Dancing Girls: Anne Failes, Rhonda Harris, Suzanne Hine, Jillian Kelly, Margaret Napier, Kira Wright, Barbara Walsh

Male Chorus: Peter Curtis, Dennie Fayle, Brian Harrison, Bill Jensen, Ilford Keena, Bruce Leman, John McFarlane, John Moran, Don Roberts, Arthur Robins, Terry Smith, Female Chorus: Brigitte Boots, Fran Cooper, Els Coventry, Sian Coventry, Alison Cropley, Nerida Curtis, Rosemary Duff-Forbes, Ruth Edmunds, Eleanor Galletly, Elaine Graham, Ann Haydon, Barbara Johnson, Lorraine Jurd, Helen Mozely, Frances O'Brien, Deidre Poulton, Lou Randall, Judy Reece, Beryl Richardson, Caryn Richardson, Marie Rowland, Joan Schillings, Alison Stewart

ORCHESTRA

Violins: Lois Kesteven (Leader), Chris Bettle, Eunice Allingham, Father Kenny, Isobel Dupre, Elfi Sturmer, Florence Brereton, Erene Schaefer, Priscilla Woolley, Piano: Betty McEachern, Oboes: David Boehm, Evan Lewis, Percussion: Mainie Atherton, Viola: Hilary Dance, Leonard Bell, Celli: Elizabeth Lewis, Ray Esdaille,Flutes: Barry Harley, Rosalind Yeates, Bassoon: Martin Woolley, Trumpets: David Shadlow, Lyle Peter,Clarinets: Jim Ridsdill-Smith, Leo Atherton

PRODUCTION TEAM

Stage Direction: Muriel Jenson 
Assistant Director: Peg Leask 
Musical Direction: Keith Aubrey
Assistant Musical Director: Leonard Bell
Rehearsal Pianist: Betty McEachern
Stage Manager: Rex Wirth
Assistant Stage Manager: Brian Coggan
Stage Crew: Maurice Royal, Henry Eastment
Lighting: John Wiseman
Lighting assistants: Harry Wadleigh, Warwick Symons
Make-up: Aline Christenson
Choreographer: Rosalie Fairhall 
Costumes: Betty Brown assisted by Margaret Holzheim
Properties: Clare Dawson assisted by Beryl Richardson
Programme Cover: Brian Coggan
Photography: Frank Anderson
Business and House Manager: John Greet
Publicity and Poster Design: Bruce Leman

THANKS

Armidale Teachers' College for rehearsal venue, Armidale Newspaper Co Ltd, Radio Station 2AD