Jenůfa – female portraits that concern

By on March 10, 2017

On 18 March, Leoš Janáčeks Jenůfa premiere at the Opera, with world soprano Malin Byström in the title role. It is a work that through its portrayal of the young woman touches all who take part of it!

In connection with that Malin Byström _ made her Jenufa debut at San Francisco Opera 2015-16 she suffered during the studying of a deluge of tears:

“I asked the conductor if it had happened before that the soprano begins to cry. His response ‘Everytime, my dear, everytime’, was somehow reassuring,” says Malin.

Jenůfa tells of a passionate young woman; a murdered child; a strong and overprotective stepmother who want well, but is terribly wrong; and a closed claustrophobic society where women must stay within the confines of religion and strict gender roles. The parallels to our time are striking even if the play is based on – “Její pastorkyna” (in Swedish “Her stepdaughter”) of the controversial Czech dramatist Gabriela Preissova – was written in 1890.

Janáček Jenůfa began composing Jenůfa in the mid-1890s, but had difficult to finish the opera. Renewed conviction received he when his daughter fell ill with typhus, but when his daughter fell ill – and later died of typhus – received he renewed vigor, “forced by the long illness black bands … to my daughter and my little son” (who died in 1890 at two years).

The raw when spoken in Jenůfa aroused wonder at the contemporary critics – but Janácek opera realism runs from both his personal history and an artistic quest for honesty.

The set director Annilese Miskimmon:

“It is a very insightful analysis of how a woman is when she ends up in the most horrific circumstances imaginable. But by her ability to forgive so finds she finally sense in the tragedy and finds the strength to go on.”

Malin Byström now returns to the Royal Opera after previous highly acclaimed appearances as Desdemona in Otello and The marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier.
 
As stepmother Kostelnička is heard Lena Nordin, while tenors Jesper Taube and Andrea Caré makes Laca and Steva who are rivals for Jenufa. Grandma Buryja sung by Marianne Eklöf. Opera’s chief conductor Lawrence Renes leading soloists, royal orchestra and the Royal Opera choir.

This is already much talked about production, with decor and costumes by Nicky Shaw, is a collaboration with Scottish Opera.

Jenůfa received its world premiere in 1904 in Brno. 1972 was a legendary set directed by Götz Friedrich and with Elisabeth Söderström in the title role, premiered at the Royal Opera.

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