Friday 31 October 2014

The Cunning Peasant

Despite writing eleven operas, Dvorak is still best known for his penultimate, Rusalka, which was written in 1901. This year Buxton Festival revived his 1887 comedy The Jacobin (see my review) which was one of the most successful of Dvorak's operas during his lifetime. Now the Guildhall School of Music and Drama is doing a new production of Dvorak's earlier comedy The Cunning Peasant which will be performed on 3, 5, 7, 10 November) at the Silk Street Theatre. The production is directed by Stephen Medcalf and conducted by the Guildhall School's head of opera, Dominic Wheeler. The production is cast with students from the opera course, with some roles double cast, and will be sung in an English translation by the former head of opera, Clive Tims.

Dvorak's lyrical comedy is very much an ensemble piece. Set in a Czech village, with all the requisite folk overtones, it follows the vicissitudes of various characters including a pair of lovers where the girl is being chased by the local Prince, who of course gets his comeuppance. The plot was quite heavily influenced by The Bartered Bride and The Marriage of Figaro.

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