To celebrate its 10th anniversary Friday night, the Vienna Light Opera Company performed an extremely colorful version of Bedrich Smetana's "The Bartered Bride." Whether they were singing, dancing or even in the middle of somersaults, the smiling performers, clad in traditional Czech garb, proved a joy to the audience and kept the cameras clicking around the James Madison High School auditorium.
Far less powerful was the small orchestra, conducted by Stephen Prussing; and particularly the violins, which skidded off course more than once. This was a pity, since the exciting performance of the romantic overture had promised better things to come. That the Slavic melodies were sung in English came as a second, though inevitable, blow.
Young soprano Krislyn Keller as Marenka emerged nonetheless as a convincing protagonist, her voice vibrating high above the others.
Only the simple-minded, perpetually grinning Vasek (Henry Noldan), because of his theatrics and gentle manner, came close to stealing the show from her.
Gregory Barz as Jenik, Marenka's true love, lacked the necessary authority for the role. Aside from moments when it broke into pizzicato, the orchestra covered his straining voice, but then again it covered all the male voices because of the acoustics of the room.