Like most kids of my generation, I first encountered Smetana through the Overture to The Bartered Bride. It seemed like exciting music to me and I eventually found my way to Ma vlast and the full operatic version of The Bartered Bride on an old Turnabout set. I still enjoy the music today and I perked up at getting the chance to hear a new version of the opera by Jiri Belohlavek and the BBC Orchestra (Harmonia Mundi).
It's a beautifully crafted version with orchestra, chorus and soloists in good form. The sound is excellent. It has great spirit. I haven't heard every version of the opera in recorded form, but this one seems all that it should be!
Now I wonder if the Overture is still a part of music appreciation classes for kids these days?
The set hits the States this Tuesday, October 9th. You can pre-order it at Amazon by copying the following URL and pasting into your browser: http://www.amazon.com/Smetana-Bartered-BBC-Symphony-Orchestra/dp/B007X98RJ2