John Man, stereotype enthusiast and reveller, spent an uproarious evening at the opera house last night watching Smetana’s classic tale of plot development and vibrant digression, The Bartered Bride.
“My favourite part is when the village idiot stutters comically,” he said. “Now that I can’t watch blackface vaudeville anymore, I’m always on the lookout for hideously insensitive and unsympathetic portrayals of things I don’t understand.”
Man admits that he gave up trying to follow the plot of the opera as soon as he realised that nobody has ever cared about it. “It reminded me of The Phantom Menace, which is my favourite film,” he said. “Sure, they spend a lot of time discussing some elaborate legal business, but really I just want to see some sort of irritating oaf bumble around babbling in his stupid wonky way. Then I can clap.”
Though critics say that the opera is sexist, implausible, and anachronistic, Man says he couldn’t imagine it any other way. “I literally don’t have an imagination,” he said. “But I do love clapping.”
Man also says he enjoyed the music, causing everyone listening to our interview to gasp and stare. “It’s eerie how well Smetena captured the natural simplicity of song,” he said. “My five year old nephew often stomps around the house singing bits of doggerel and when he does I sometimes forget that I’m not listening to The Bartered Bride.”
Man enjoyed himself so much that he wants to see some of Smetena’s other operas, such as The Quirky Spastic or even The Hysterical Ethnic, an unjustly neglected gem of Smetana’s ouevre. “I just love clapping,” he said.