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Five Reasons to See The Bartered Bride

1. Czech Charm

Czech Republic is known for its breweries, passionate relationship with ice hockey, and layers of history. Renowned writers such as Franz Kafka and Milan Kundera, filmmakers and composers come from the Czech Republic. At the crossroads of Slavic and German cultures, a significant opera culture also developed.

Bedřich Smetana is considered the father of Czech music. The Bartered Bride is his masterpiece – comedic, sharp, and expressive. The story of the opera and its music based on folk tunes have made it a part of Czech DNA. In Prague, the opera audience returns to it again and again to laugh at themselves.

2. A Peek Behind the Scenes with a Twinkle in the Eye

The Bartered Bride is a timeless classic, with 21 different staging versions at the National Theatre in Prague alone since its premiere in 1866. In the latest version to be seen at the Savonlinna Opera Festival, film director Alice Nellis adds a delicious layer to the story: the performance offers a playful look at how this beloved national treasure has been adapted for the stage over time. Thus, alongside the love story unfolds a charming opera performance with all its rehearsals and everything.

The director has a vision that not everyone agrees on. What happens behind the scenes? Will the director succeed in implementing their vision and creating something new?

3. An Evening for All Ages

The opera tells the story of a young couple, Mařenka and Jeník, whose love is threatened by Mařenka’s parents. The Bartered Bride is full of comedic misunderstandings, confusions, and romantic tension.

The performance is light enough for opera newcomers and suitable for a multi-generational evening out. Who will you take with you this summer?

In the approximately three-hour performance, there are two intervals to enjoy refreshments, stretch your legs, and admire the lake view from Olavinlinna Castle.

4. A Cheerful Reflection for Opera Connoisseurs?

For those familiar with opera and opera house operations, this version offers a humorous meta-layer. The Bartered Bride makes Czechs laugh at themselves, and Alice Nellis challenges opera professionals and enthusiasts to laugh along too.

As always when dust is blown off traditions, some love it and some are horrified. This was also the case with Nellis’s premiere in Prague in 2022. The usually reserved Czech audience shouted bravos and boos in equal measure. “Here, people usually sit quietly and applaud, sometimes more enthusiastically, sometimes less. But this was wilder,” the director later recounted happily on the radio.

Opera is a passion!

5. Czech Culture in Savonlinna

Next to Olavinlinna Castle on Riihisaari Island lies the Savonlinna Museum, chosen as the Museum of the Year 2023. From April to September, the museum hosts the largest exhibition of Czech photographic art ever seen in Finland, titled (un)ordinary life. The exhibition features nearly 20 significant photographers.

Immerse yourself in Czech atmosphere and combine your visit to the opera with a trip to Riihisaari. The museum is within walking distance from Olavinlinna Castle. Check out the exhibition and museum opening hours on Riihisaari’s website.

The Bartered Bride at Olavinlinna Castle on July 27, 30, and August 1 at 7 p.m., tickets starting from €65, more information and tickets available here. The performance is a visit by the National Theatre of Prague.