Smetana, Bedřich


Smetana, Bedřich

The Two Widows, Comic opera in three acts “Hamburger version” (Vocal score with German and Czech libretto)

SKU: 2014b Categories: ,



Smetana, Bedřich

The Two Widows, Comic opera in three (!) acts (Vocal score to the 3rd version of the opera known as “Hamburger version”/ with German and Czech libretto)

For more information about the opera:

“Mr. Smetana has an enormous salary as composer, conductor, artistic director, and director of the opera school. As a composer his activities are negligible. … As a conductor he is known by name only in the theater handbook. … As director of the opera school he has an immense timetable: two lectures since the school began. … In short, Mr. Smetana must be considered a nothing – a zero – a blank!” (František Pivoda, Politik, 12 September 1874)

Thus the climate of conservative opinion that greeted Bedřich Smetana in 1874, expressed in a tone we are more likely to associate today with weblog cranks. History has proven Pivoda wrong, of course, but it was this climate that surrounded and gave rise to Smetana‘s fifth opera, The Two Widows (Dvě vdovy). Intent on creating a broad repertoire of national opera – that is, operas written to Czech librettos on Czech subjects in a distinctively Czech musical idiom – he had already produced a historical romance on a Sir Walter Scott-like medieval subject (The Brandenburgers in Bohemia, 1866), a folk comedy in a rural setting (The Bartered Bride, 1866), and a lofty heroic tragedy (Dalibor, 1868) and had completed the score to his great pageant on the founding of the Czech nation, Libuše. But the virulent reception given to Dalibor in the press, where it was accused (among other things) of introducing Germanic Wagnerisms into the nascent language of Czech opera, caused him to hold back on mounting Libuše, which he knew would invite attacks at the same level of ferocity (eventually it was produced in 1881 to inaugurate the newly built Prague National Opera). Instead, Smetana turned his mind to a lighter subject and wrote what he termed a “conversational” opera, one in which the Czech language would be put to use on more homely themes than the historical or legendary subjects of its four predecessors. To quote the composer’s own words, “I purposely gave the music a certain style so that the elegance of the drawing-room should be joined with tenderness and nobility. It was an attempt … to write an opera for once in an elevated drawing-room style” (letter of 21 February 1882 to Ludevít Procháska). …

read full text > HERE

Score Data


Opera Explorer




210 x 297 mm


Vocal score with German and Czech libretto



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