The Bartered Bride: Smetana’s comic masterpiece

Prodaná Nevěsta premiered at Prague’s Provisional Theatre on May 30, 1866

The Bartered Bride, a comic opera by Bedřich Smetana, is a cornerstone of the Czech opera repertoire.

Photo: archive of National Museum

First performed in 1866, The Bartered Bride celebrates Czech culture and identity through lively music and a very humorous plot. Set in a village, the story revolves around the arranged marriage of Mařenka and Jeník. Following a series of misunderstandings, conflicts and amusing situations, true love triumphs in the end.

Smetana’s score captures the essence of Czech folk music, infusing the opera with infectious dance rhythms, colourful orchestration, and melodic richness. The Bartered Bride, which has a libretto by Karel Sabina, remains a highly popular work to this day.