The Reporter
Issue 488, 24 February 2003
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Opera première at Leeds


Singing staff and students – soloists (l-r) Beth Mackay, Ben Crick, Janna Mills, Bryan White and Steve Muir during rehearsals in the Great Hall

The British première of Dvorák’s opera The Stubborn Lovers is to be performed in Leeds this Friday (February 28), using a new critical edition reconstructed from original manuscripts. This little-known piece by the Czech composer, best known for The New World symphony, also benefits from a new translation, retaining the original rhyming verse, by project co-director Dr Steve Muir.

“The opera is on a par with some of Dvorák’s most famous works in terms of profusion of the melody and the attractiveness of the music. It is a must for any admirer of Dvorák,” said Dr Muir.

Music students have been comparing Dvorák’s manuscript and vocal score with a copy made in 1881 for the opera’s Czech première, working through inconsistencies and discrepancies to create the first complete critical edition of the opera. Project co-director Dr Bryan White said: “This is the first time a definitive version of this work has been drawn up. It really is a major achievement.”

Antonín Dvorák wrote ten operas, and saw himself primarily as an opera composer. The Stubborn Lovers (Tvrdé palice) is a comic opera in one act, telling how Rericha, godfather to Toník and Lenka, attempts to persuade the two young friends to marry.

Staff and students from music form the orchestra, chorus and take the solo parts. Dr Eno Koço is conducting and Richard Sadler directing. Students from PCI are organising the costumes, scenery, lighting and stage management. The project is supported by the Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society.

Performances are on February 28 and March 1 in the Great Hall at 7.30pm and tickets cost £6-£10. To book, call Jillian Johnson on ext 32584 email


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