New production of the Bartered Bride among highlights of 50th Smetana’s Litomyšl


Wednesday sees the opening of the 50th Smetana’s Litomyšl International Opera Festival. During the annual event, composer Bedřich Smetana’s home town in east Bohemia is transformed into a paradise for music lovers, and not only opera buffs – Smetana’s Litomyšl also takes in various other musical forms.

This year’s Smetanova Litomyšl is the 50th and director Jan Pikna says they’re hoping to make it a festival to remember:

“It’s an anniversary which deserves to be celebrated. Our programme might seem a bit popular to some, but that’s because we have selected pieces which people really like and which they will enjoy hearing in concert. Also there is a rich accompanying programme this year – we’ve published a book looking at 50 years of the festival, and made a documentary film, which has been on TV and will be available on DVD.”

A new production of the Bartered Bride is among the highlights of this year's festival.It will later move to Prague’s National Theatre, which has a long history of association with Smetana’s Litomyšl. In fact, it was heavily involved with the very first festival in 1949. National Theatre head Ondřej Černý:

“The historical connection is very long and very deep. The National Theatre was from the beginning one of the biggest partners of Smetanova Litomyšl and has continually made this collaboration.

“We are very glad that the last three years we have had Smetana’s operas on the first nights of Smetanova Litomyšl. Just now we are glad to have the first first night of the Bartered Bride at Smetanova Litomyšl.

“I hope that this new production – which should come from Smetana’s time in terms of folkloristic topics and folkloristic elements – will be a real event, not only of Smetanova Litomyšl but in opera in the Czech Republic.”

The 50th Smetana’s Litomyšl runs until July 5. Organisers say they expect virtually every concert to sell out completely.