Opera Scotland

Kiss Hubička; The Kiss

Music

Bedřich Smetana (born Litomyšl, Bohemia, 2 March 1824; died Prague, 12 May 1884)

Text

Eliška Krásnohorská

Source

Folktale (1871) by Karolina Svétlá.

 

Premieres

First Performance: Prague (Provisional Theatre), 7 November 1876.

First Performance in UK: Liverpool (), 8 December 1938.

First Performance in Scotland: Edinburgh (King's Theatre), 5 April 1949.

 

Background

Smetana's later operas share a simplicity of plot and mellowness of humour which is highly attractive. While The Two Widows has been seen a number of times in recent years - Scottish Opera have staged it twice, though neither staging survived for long - The Kiss has not been seen in Scotland since 1949, and The Secret and The Devil's Wall have not been seen at all.

 

Characters

Paloucký, a peasant (bass)

Vendulka, his daughter (soprano)

Lukáš, a young widower (tenor)

Tomeš, best friend of Lukáš (baritone)

Martinka, Vendulka's aunt (mezzo-soprano)

Matous, an old smuggler (bass)

 

Plot Summary

Lukáš's wife has died, leaving him with an infant son. He once loved Vendulka, but married someone else because of his father's insistence. He now wishes to marry his original love. She is still unattached, and is willing, but at the engagement celebration she refuses to kiss him. Her reason is her belief in an old superstition that to kiss before the wedding would be upsetting for the dead wife. He rushes off to get drunk at the inn, and later returns with his friends who make a rowdy scene outside Vendulka's house. She is horrified and escapes to the country, to be comforted by her aunt. This lady's lifestyle includes involvement with a band of smugglers in the mountains. At last a contrite Lukáš is helped to see the error of his ways by his friends. The couple are quickly reconciled.

The Cast

Barce
 a servant girl
Frontier Guard
 
Lukáš
 a young widower
Martinka
 Vendulka's old aunt
Matous
 an old smuggler
Paloucký
 an elderly peasant
Tomeš
 friend and brother-in-law of Lukáš
Vendulka
 daughter of Paloucký

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