The glorious romp of a production that was Garsington Opera’s take on Smetana’s The Bartered Bride cheerily raised two fingers to the notion that this is a work quintessentially Czech by setting it very firmly in late-1950s austerity Britain.

And why not? Widely accepted though its ‘Czechness’ is, experts have long pointed out that it’s really only costumes and dances that make it so.

For the first, these became a tradition a full quarter century after its 1866 premiere (in somewhat primitive form) and as for the dances – well, they can be adapted very successfully to the British way.

Thus we found terpsichorean tyros limbering up in a church hall as the show opened, under the watchful eye of a fussing vicar, preparing not for a polka but for a session round the maypole which was later colourfully realised.

And as for the furiant, this turned into a display of the twist when the jukebox burst into life in designer Kevin Knight’s well-realised boozer: there were even – oh, the nostalgia! – Babycham glasses.

We first met lovers Jenik (tenor Brenden Gunnell) and Marenka (soprano Natalya Romaniw, pictured) over the cutting of Spam sandwiches, which remarkably became an activity steeped in romance.

The lovely duet, ‘Like a mother’, set a seal on their love.

But Marenka, alas, was to be the ‘bartered bride’ – a misnomer actually, for she was being ‘sold’ in the Czech original, its meaning sacrificed for alliteration in the translation.

The deal to settle a family debt was being brokered – not entirely to the taste of her mother Ludmila (Heather Shipp) – by the mayor Kecal, whose correspondent shoes identified him from the outset as a cad. That he’s no gentleman either was evident from the tangle he got into with his fly buttons on his return from the pub loos.

Joshua Bloom’s admirable comic performance helped set the larky tone of director Paul Curran’s production, just as his powerful bass contributed hugely to the bliss of the music in which the Philharmonia Orchestra shone throughout under the baton of Jac van Steen.

There was a relishable contribution too, comic and vocal, from tenor Stuart Jackson as the stuttering lovelorn Vasek, the entirely unsatisfactory match being foisted on Marenka.

All built to a climax in a wonderful circus scene – with acrobats, jugglers and clowns – overseen by Jeffrey Lloyd-Roberts’s Circus Master. Bliss!

Garsington Opera 2019 continues until July 26. Still to come are further performances of Mozart’s Don Giovanni (July 6, 12, 14, 18 and 21), Benjamin Britten’s The Turn of the Screw (July 4, 7, 13, 15 and 19), Jacques Offenbach’s Fantasio – a British premiere – (July 5, 8, 11, 17 and 20), and Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610 (July 24, 25 and 26).

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