Cher Public

Sturm and/or drang

My attempt at garnering some attention for forgotten and ignored Czech operas hasn’t exactly been a success. Poor Martinu: both his The Greek Passion and The Miracles of Mary (four short operas, one of which is all of 15 minutes) did rather poorly in terms of “listens.” Hopefully, you will indulge me in one more: Zdenek Fibich’s Nevesta messinská (The Bride of Messina). 

A few months ago I received an e-mail from my friend Vasek, who travels extensively to hear opera all over Central Europe, proclaiming that he just heard Fibich’s opera in Magdeburg and pronounced it the discovery of the year. It is, indeed, an exciting listen. Unlike the more nationalist works of Dvorák and Smetana, it is clearly more influenced by Wagner. There is some seriously great music going on here. The plot is rather simple and with the opera running only two hours, please consider giving it a chance, at least for the first 14 minutes.

It’s all explained by the good folks at Wikipedia, where you can also find out more about Fibich.

Zden?k Fibich (1850-1900): Nevesta messinská

Theater Magdeburg
Kimbo Ishii, conductor
14 March 2015

In-house recording (amazing sound!)

Donna Isabella – Lucia Cervoni
Don Manuel – Thomas Florio
Don César – Richard Samek
Diego – Johannes Stermann
Béatrice – Noa Danon
Cayetan – Martin-Jan Nijhof
Bohemund – Manfred Wulfert
Panos – Hale Soner

  • Well, I’ve said it before: Miracles of Mary, in Prague, was the best thing I saw in 2013.

    • At one stage the whole thing was on YT. Apparently no longer.

      • Jungfer Marianne Leitmetzerin

        NPW-Paris: Thank you so much for standing up for Martinu! I was at the premiere and it was an absolutely unforgettable evening. The director, Jirí Herman, is truly a great director and has made some wonderful productions in Praha at Národní divadlo (his “Parsifal” in particular struck me as genius). Now, if people would only listen to these uploads of Czech operas by Fibich, Mechura, Skroup, Kittl, and others…! After almost a week online, “The Bride of Messina” has the lowest number of “listens” of any opera I have uploaded in the two years in which I have collaborated with Parterre Box.

        This depresses me: do you just want big name divas/divos in standard repertoire, or is there any serious interest in forgotten, neglected, and/or rediscovered operas from Händel to the latest contemporary opera? Please let me know what you want to hear!

        • Cicciabella

          It might be the timing, JML. It’s the start of the season at most opera houses and concert halls. After the summer hols, and the summer festivals for those lucky enough to attend, people are up and about again.

  • mercadante

    The version by Vaccaj was such a scandal at its premiere it got only 1 1/2 performances. The plot involves two brothers in a fight to the death over who gets to marry their sister! If the incest weren’t enough, the nail in the coffin was bringing the dead body of one of the brothers on stage.

  • gustave of montreal

    Were not Siegmund and Sieglinde brother and sister ?

  • Bill

    Jungfer -- there is a cd of the Bride of Messina on Supraphon made in 1975 with the Prague National Theater
    auspices conducted by Frantisek Jilek in which Gabriela
    Benackova sings the role of Beatrice and Ivo Zidek he role of Don Cesar. The music is quite beautiful -- I am not familiar with the others in the cast (Libuse Marova sings Donna Isabella, the Princess of Messina which is a contalto role. I have not listened in a very long time but the CD is accompanied with a booklet which has the libretto in Czech, English, French and German. I have never encountered the opera in a live performance
    anywhere in the Czech republic nor in any other locale

    • Jungfer Marianne Leitmetzerin

      Bill, did you listen to the upload of “Nevesta messinská” at my Mixcloud site? More than any other regular contributor to Parterre Box, I would greatly appreciate your input as to the direction my site should take in 2016: standard repertoire with legendary divas/divos, or a mix with rarities?

      “Nevesta messinská” has, to date, received the fewest “listens” of anything I have uploaded in the two years I have been collaborating with La Cieca to bring you “Montag mit Marianne.”

      Should I abandon my practice of presenting these rarities and just cave in to the Big Names in standard repertoire, or try to maintain what I see as a healthy mix, no matter how much such mix is ignored by Parterriani? Thanks for your guidance.

      • Batty Masetto

        Oh, please, Marianne, I know you were not talking to me, and I am very bad at catching up with these things because of a crammed work schedule, but PLEEEZE keep supplying us with rarities! Even we of the Parterriat are in need of an expansion of our repertoire!

  • Krunoslav

    I first read the title “The Greek Passion” as an adolescent; I was disappointed when I realized what it wasn’t about.