First performed in Prague in November 1876, Der Kuss/The Kiss (Hubicka) quickly became one of Smetana’s most popular operas, surpassed only by The Bartered Bride (1866). SYNOPSIS: Lukáš, a young widower, arrives in a village with his brother-in-law Tomeš to negotiate the hand in marriage of Vendulka, whom he has always loved. He was forced into his previous marriage, but as his wife has died he is now free to declare his feelings. Vendulka’s father (Paloucký) agrees to the match, but has misgivings. Vendulka refuses to kiss Lukáš until they are married. Later, Vendulka is awakened by the sound of a polka outside her home, and spies Lukáš, dancing with and kissing the village girls. Vendulka is enraged, and swears to leave home. Lukáš mourns the disappearance of Vendulka, and Tomeš tells him to apologise. In a forest near the Bohemian frontier, a band of smugglers lies in waiting. Vendulka’s aunt, Martinka, does business with the smugglers, and after they leave, Martinka does her best to persuade Vendulka to return home. The follwing morning, Lukáš arrives at Martinka’s cottage. He apologizes to Paloucký for his actions and awaits Vendulka. When she arrives, both are overjoyed. He publicly begs forgiveness before they - finally – kiss!
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