SMETANA: Die verkaufte Braut

First Performance: 30 May 1866 at the Provisional Theatre, Prague
(definitive version 25 September 1870 at same)

Principal Characters:

Kruöina, a farmer Baritone
Ludmila, his wife Soprano
Ma?enka their daughter Soprano
MÌcha, a wealthy landowner Bass
H·ta, his wife Mezzo-Soprano
Vaöek, their son Tenor
JenÌk, MÌchaís son from his first marriage Tenor
Kecal, a village marriage-broker Bass
Circus Master Tenor
Esmeralda, circus artist Soprano
Indian circus artist Bass

Time and Place: A small village during Spring Festival.


Act I

In a Bohemian village during Spring Festival, the beautiful Marenka is sad. She loves
Jenik; but her parents have promised her to another boy, Vaöek, the son of the rich
landowner MÌcha. The marriage broker, Kecal, arrives to finalize the contract. Kruöina,
Marenka’s father, remarks that he has always heard that MÌcha has two sons, but has
never met either one. He asks Kecal to tell him about both sons, but Kecal insists that
Vaöek is just the man for Marenka and that no one knows what has happened to MÌcha ‘s
eldest son. Marenka joins them and tells her parents that she already has a sweetheart
she has promised to wed. As the square fills with villagers celebrating the festival
with their traditional dances, Kecal plots to find out who Marenka’s sweetheart is and
to offer him money to leave her.

Act II

During festivities near a country inn, Vaöek finally appears. He has just learned that
parents are about to marry him off. Marenka draws near him. Not knowing that she is his
possible bride, Marenka relates to him that the girl is a horrid person and convinces
him to give up her. Meanwhile, Kecal approaches Jenik. They negotiate a contract that
provides that Jenik will relinquish his claim to the young girl for three hundred
florins but, per Jenikís stipulation, only to the ìchild of Tobiaö MÌcha.î The villagers
are utterly disgusted by Jenikís actions.


A company of acrobats arrive at the village square to give a show. Vaöek is approached by
the dancer, Esmeralda, who convinces him to take the place of an absent dancer and
perform the part of the dancing bear. Inspired by this adventure, Vaöek refuses the hand
of Marenka. Marenka, in the meantime, learns that she has been sold. She is so offended
and humiliated, that she declares to Jenik that she is ready to marry the rich child of
MÌcha. When the marriage contract is concluded, Jenik reveals himself. He is the
stepbrother of Vaöek, the offspring of MÌchaís first marriage. He had been cast out of
house by his stepmother, Hata, when he was child. He has thus sold Marenka to himself.
The young girl understands the joke and renews her love for Jenik. Jenikís father is
happy to see his child once again. Only the mother of Vaöek resists the marriage. But
when she sees Vaöek get out of a bearskin to the derision by all those present, she
concedes that Vaöekís union with Marenka is impossible. Marenka and Jenik are then
married and all are in celebration.

Click here for
the complete libretto (German).

image_description=Bed?ich Smetana
first_audio_name=Bed?ich Smetana: Die verkaufte Braut
Windows Media Player
second_audio_name=Bed?ich Smetana: Die verkaufte Braut
Alternate stream
product_title=Bed?ich Smetana: Die verkaufte Braut
product_by=Hilde Konetzni, Richard Tauber, Heinrich Tessmer, Marko Rothm¸ller, Arnold Matters, Gerhard Hinze, Stella Andreva, Sabine Kalter, Mary Jarrod, Graham Clifford, Fritz Krenn, Chorus of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Thomas Beecham (cond.)
Live radio broadcast, 1 May 1939, London