sat 22/06/2024

Janáček

Jenůfa, English National Opera review - searing new cast in precise revival

Face scarred, baby murdered – both crimes committed by those closest to her – village girl Jenůfa rises again with extraordinary strength of will. Of all affirmative endings in opera, Janáček’s has to be the most moving, and all the more so in this...

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Jenůfa, LSO, Rattle, Barbican review - a variegated but gorgeous bouquet

An inexhaustible masterpiece shows different facets with each new interpretation. I’d thought of Jenůfa, Janáček's searing tale of Moravian village life based on a great play by a pioneering woman (Gabriela Preissová), as an open razor rushing...

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Katya Kabanova, LSO, Rattle, Barbican review - living every bar of Janáček’s tragedy

Amanda Majeski pushed the boundaries as Janáček's tormented heroine for director Richard Jones at the Royal Opera. Here there were confines – no “concert staging” this, but a laissez-faire affair with scores and music stands, occasionally obscuring...

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theartsdesk in Brno - a visionary at home in his ‘Moravian Bayreuth’

“Visionary,” I’m told, is a clichéd word these days. But so long as you don’t fling it about too freely, it’s apt: for me, there are only two visionary directors working in opera right now. One is our own Richard Jones – though even he can get it...

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The Excursions of Mr Brouček, Grange Park Opera review - biting satire from bouncing Czechs

Now for something completely different. The Excursions of Mr Brouček is Leos Janáček’s least typical opera and is rarely performed. Among his tragic tales such as Jenufa and Kat’a Kabanova, the charm of The Cunning Little Vixen and the strangely...

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CBSO Chorus, Czech Philharmonic, Bychkov, Barbican review - a mass of life

One of the world’s top five orchestras – sorry, but I locate them all in continental Europe – played on the second night of its London visit to a half-empty Barbican Hall. Half-full, rather, attentive and ecstatic. As for the much-criticised venue,...

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Jenůfa, Welsh National Opera review - powerful drama with a kitsch tailpiece

If like me you regard the ending of Janáček’s Jenůfa as one of the most moving scenes in all opera, you might care to consider how it would be possible to deflate it in spite of the best singing imaginable. You might, for instance, bring up a back...

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The Cunning Little Vixen, English National Opera review - half-realised men and beasts

Nature in the form of Storm Eunice stopped this Cunning Little Vixen in her tracks on Friday evening. ENO shrugged off the cancellation and rescheduled for Sunday afternoon. And here we were, getting the essential message that humans must reach an...

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The Cunning Little Vixen, CBSO, Gražinytė-Tyla, Symphony Hall Birmingham review - nature, large as life

"Nature is healing," declared the social media meme, back in the early days of lockdown when humanity had temporarily retreated to focus on its banana bread. There were pictures to prove it, apparently. Dolphins sported in the canals of Venice; city...

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Jenůfa, Royal Opera review - Janáček scours the soul again in a compelling new take

At the heart of Janáček’s searing music-drama, and the pioneering play by another remarkable Czech, Gabriela Preissová, on which it is based, are two strong women trapped in a conventional community whose intelligence goes to waste and whose lives...

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The Cunning Little Vixen, Opera Holland Park review - imagine the forest, enjoy the music-making

Gorgeous woodland romp, a tale of a vivacious, independent-minded young lady-into-fox objectified by three ageing, disillusioned men or a parable of natural regeneration? The different levels of Janáček’s one-off fantasy, from strip-cartoon origins...

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Káťa Kabanová, Glyndebourne review - a misalliance of metatheatre and the mundane

Angels and birds throng the inner life of tragic heroine Katya Kabanova, very much centre-stage in Nikolay Ostrovsky’s The Storm and achingly so in Janáček’s musical portrait. Director Damiano Michieletto takes the feathers, adds cages and...

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