The Bartered Bride


In this story of thwarted love and arranged marriage, the spirited heroine, Mařenka, has to use every last ounce of determination, charm and cunning in order to marry the man she loves. This is a joyous celebration of Czech culture and identity, reimagined into the heart of the English countryside, above all represented by dance rhythms and deliriously infectious tunes. Dance is at the heart and soul of this piece, from the gloriously vibrant overture to a riotous and festive polka. There’s a circus, an escaped bear, heart-stopping love duets and a rousing drinking song. It’s an irresistible combination.

The Bartered Bride, JB 1:100 (Smetana, Bedřich) Movements/Sections Mov'ts/Sec's: 2 acts (1st and 2nd versions); 3 acts (3rd and 4th versions) Composition Year. Performer: Boston Pops OrchestraWriter: SmetanaOVERTURE; Conductor.Digitized at 78 revolutions per minute. Four stylii were used to transfer this record.

Natalya Romaniw (Eugene Onegin, 2016) returns as Mařenka with Paul Curran (Death in Venice, 2015) to direct; Jac van Steen (Pelléas et Mélisande, 2017) conducts the Philharmonia Orchestra.

Mařenka has fallen in love with a young man, Jeniík, a stranger to her village. Driven away from his family home at an early age by his jealous stepmother, Jeník was forced to join the army and is now, some years later, working as a farmhand. Mařenka's father, Krušina, owes a substantial sum of money to a man called Tobiáš Mícha. The local mayor, Kecal, has negotiated an agreement whereby the debt will be cancelled if Krušina agrees to the marriage of his daughter with Tobiáš Mícha's son.

Act One
The villagers are preparing to celebrate a national holiday. Mařenka has just learnt of the imminent arrival of Vasšk, the man her father wants her to marry. She is determined to refuse him and marry Jeniík.

Kecal reminds Mařenka's parents, Krušina and Ludmila, of the arrangement made with Tobiáš Mícha, insisting that the marriage should go ahead, even through no-one has yet met the proposed bridegroom. Ludmila wants Mařenka to be able to make her own choice. Kecal attempts to secure Mařenka's agreement to the marriage but she is not to be persuaded.

Act Two
Mařenka comes across the bewildered, timid Vašek. Without revealing who she is, she manages to paint such a terrifying picture of Mařenka, his intended bride, that he swears he will never marry her.

Kecal tries to tempt Jeník to give up Mařenka by offering him another marriage prospect. As he listens to Kecal, Jeník notes that the husband proposed for Mařenka is stipulated as being 'the song of Tobiáš Mícha.' Spotting a loophole, he agrees to renounce Mařenka in return for a cash lump sum but only on condition that she does indeed marry the son of Tobiáš Mícha and that Krušina is freed of his debt.


Once he is alone, Jeník reaffirms his love for Mařenka. However, when Kecal returns with a group of villagers as witnesses, he rejects her publicly in return for the money. The villagers are shocked by his callous and mercenary attitude.


Act Three
Vašek is still worried about the woman that his parents want him to marry but he is distracted by the arrival of a travelling circus troupe. He becomes entranced by their star performer, Esmeralda. When the circus manager learns that the performer who normally plays the dancing bear is too drunk to be entrusted with the role, he and Esmeralda persuade Vašek to take his place.

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Mícha and his wife Háta come with Kecal to make the final arrangements for the marriage and are outraged by Vašek's refusal to proceed. When Mařenka and her parents arrive, she is forcsed to confront the fact that Jeník has sold her. Distraught, she asks to be given a little time to think. Her anger increases when Jeník refuses to deny his involvement with the transaction.

When the villagers arrive to hear Mařenka's decision, Jeník reveals his identity as the eldest son of Tobiáš Mícha, claiming his bride under the strict terms of the contract. Kecal has been outwitted and the villagers turn against him for his bullying and manipulative behaviour.

Reconciled with his son, Mícha gives his blessing to the marriage of Mařenka and Jeník.

Natalya Romaniw
Brenden Gunnell

The Bartered Bride

Joshua Bloom
Stuart Jackson
Peter Savidge
Heather Shipp
Paul Whelan

The Bartered Bride Libretto

Anne-Marie Owens
Jeffrey Lloyd-Roberts
Lara Marie Müller
Jac van Steen
The Bartered Bride
Paul Curran
Kevin Knight
Howard Hudson
Darren Royston

The Bartered Bride Imslp


San Joaquin Valley Tribe

What's a man to do when a 'bartered bride' needs a rescue?
Jem Wheeler has always been a survivor. He just wants to make a fresh start in Colorado Springs after the loss of his wife. But then he happens upon a young mute woman being sold off to the highest bidder. He wasn't looking for a mail-order bride. He wasn't looking to rescue anyone either. But desperate circumstances can drive a good man to do things he hadn't planned on doing..
When Jem steps into Annie's life, she's not expecting anyone to save her. Mute from birth, she's just using all her wits to survive. All she's ever really wanted is a family of her own. For someone to see her. To look at her long enough to hear the things she can't say.
Could this bride be just what a grieving widower needs to make a happy home?
The Brides Series #3
Sweet Historical Western Romance / Inspirational Romance
Each book in The Brides series can be read as a stand-alone novel, but reading in order will provide a more complete reading experience.