Lyric Opera Theatre has something for first-time opera-goers with 'The Bartered Bride'

Lyric Opera Theatre's first performance of 'The Bartered Bride' will be held Wednesday, Sept. 27

The School of Music's Lyric Opera Theatre is putting on a production of Bedřich Smetana’s "The Bartered Bride" on Sept. 27, 28, 30 and on Oct. 1.

Dale Dreyfoos, professor of opera and music theater and the stage director for the show, said the opera has a Shakespearean story following the forbidden love of the main character, Marie.

"It's basically about a young couple in love, but the girl's parents want her to marry somebody else," Dreyfoos said. "It's a love triangle but nobody actually knows who is who, but the audience figures it out."

Dreyfoos used set pieces reminiscent of 19th century Eastern Europe to make the opera come alive.

"The story takes place in 1860 to 1870 Bohemia, which is the present day Czech Republic," Dreyfoos said. 

Aaron Jones, a masters student in opera performance and the actor playing Vasek — the comic relief of the story — stutters and stumbles about the stage. He said that this role hasn't been an easy task for him.

"This has been one of the more difficult operas to prepare just because my character has a stutter," Jones said. "I had to learn the rhythms and pitches for each stutter."

Jones said the play features light-hearted themes that he believes the audience will enjoy.

"It's like a big huge romantic comedy," he said. "There are so many sub-plots and lovable characters that I feel people will love."

Kate Clemons, also an opera performance masters student, plays Marie, whose parents want her to marry a man she does not love. Clemons said opera contains all the performance elements she enjoys.

"I love history, I love language, and visual arts at well," she said. "And to me opera is culmination of all those things, so who would not love it."

Clemons said she feels a duty as an artist to portray the story to the best of her ability, which she said adds to her love for the craft.

"I always tell people that I'm just a vessel for music," said Clemons. "It's truly ... that this composer took the time to write this, so whatever their message is I have to honor it."

Because of play's liveliness, Clemons believes this production has something for everyone to enjoy.

"If you have never seen an opera this is a great gateway opera because it's in English, it's funny," she said, "but there are very serious, sweet moments too."

You can purchase tickets to the opera here. 

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