Jenufa’s plot hinges around four central characters, each of whom carries very real flaws. There is the braggart Steva, opportunistic, shallow and prone to drunken excess; there is his jealous half-brother Laca, whose bitterness spurs him to violent action. Between these two men stands Jenufa herself, kind-hearted but deluded in her devotion to Steva. And then there is Kostelnicka, Jenufa’s stepmother who finds herself forced to take extreme measures in pursuit of her family’s happiness. The drama that unfolds between these figures, though often tense and grim, is born from understandable traits and motivations.
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It is matched by the composer’s vibrant musical language, which fuses
romanticism with folk influences in a style previously untapped. By writing
vocals that mimic intonations of Czech speech, he creates a dramatic truth far
removed from his German and Italian contemporaries.
Director David Alden (Mazeppa) played a huge role in the English National Opera’s ‘powerhouse’ era, and there can be few others more attuned to the London Coliseum. When first performed, his production – updated to the Soviet era – won the Olivier Award for Best New Opera Production. This revival stars the soprano Laura Wilde as Jenufa and Michaela Martens as Kostelnicka, with Peter Hoare and Nicky Spence taking on the roles of Laca and Steva respectively. Mark Wigglesworth, ENO’s chief conductor, will take up the baton.
|Jenufa, London Coliseum
|English National Opera, London Coliseum, St Martin's Lane, London, WC2N 4ES | MAP
|Charing Cross (underground)
23 Jun 16 – 08 Jul 16, 7:30 PM – 10:05 PM
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