Schwanda the Bagpiper (Švanda Dudák in Czech) in an opera in two acts by Jaromir Weinberger to a Czech libretto by Milos Kares, based on a story by J. K. Tyl. First performance: Czech National Opera, Prague, 1927. The foyer of Charles Garniers Opéra, Paris, opened 1875 Opera is an art form consisting of a dramatic stage performance set to music. ... Jaromir Weinberger was a Czech composer of music. ... A libretto is the body of words used in an extended musical work such as an opera, operetta, oratorio, or musical. ... Prague (Praha in Czech) is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic. ... 1927 was a common year starting on Saturday (link will take you to calendar). ...
Categories: Operas by Jaromir Weinberger | Czech-language operas | Folk opera | Operas | Opera stubs
The positive reappraisal of Schwanda is likely to continue in September with the return of the opera to the record catalogue, thanks to a new Naxos recording taken live from Wexford (8.660146-48).
The time is now ripe to return to Schwanda, with modern productions taking it beyond its nationalist roots for a new generation of opera-goers.
"Schwanda is an opera brimming with life, as tinctured by Czech folk music as The Bartered Bride Weinbergers score is riddled with glorious dancing rhythms - not just Schwandas recurring Polka, but the alternate-barred, thrown-beat Furiant, the Polonaise, and the fast-rhythmed Slovakian Odzemek.
The bagpiper of the title melts the heart of an Ice Queen with his playing and escapes alive from hell (whither he had been dispatched when he buttressed a fib with ''If I am lying may the devil take me''), aided in all this by a clever thief, Babinsky.
Schwanda himself is clearly a descendant of Mozart's Papageno, and other echoes of ''The Magic Flute'' are easy enough to find in the fantasy elements; ''Hansel and Gretel'' and ''The Bartered Bride'' are among other stylistic reference points.
Erich Parce as Schwanda, Gail Dobish as Dorotka, and Sharon Graham as the Ice Queen all had good moments, and their roles showed them to good vocal advantage.
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