Jenufa Czech opera 390.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Janacek’s Jenufa, performed at the Israeli Opera, can be counted among the most
depressing operas of the repertoire, although when it comer to Janacek, some
even more depressing ones can be found.
Nikolaus Lehnhoff’s direction and
Tobias Hoheisel’s sets were a delight. They inclined toward the minimalist,
placing emphasis on refined taste. The dramatic action was highlighted pointedly
and impressively, though without melodramatic exaggerations or modernist
sophistication for its own sake, and refrained from crowding the stage with
superfluous objects or figures.
Among the singers, the most outstanding
was Dalia Schaechter as Kostelnicka.
Forcefully convincing in her rage,
anguish and remorse, she expressed these emotions with intense strength and
displayed an irresistible personality with her powerful mezzosoprano, without
traversing the subtle borderline between excitement and exaggerated
In the title role, Barbara Haveman’s bright, appealing soprano
became too theatrical and shrill to be credible in this gentle, delicate and
submissive girl’s love declarations, moments of grief, and
Andrew Rees’s tenor sounded just as rough and aggressive as this
unpleasant character presumably is intended to appear.
As Laca, Yorma
Silvasti portrayed an impassioned, profoundly devoted lover.
stunning, superbly performed, dramatic climax at the end of Act Two, the
concluding Act Three had a somewhat disappointing decrease of tension. Perhaps
the best way to understand this unexplained profusion of love, remorse,
wholesale forgiveness and milk of human kindness is to accept it as Janacek’s
own personal, not necessarily realistic, wishful thinking.
Pehlivanian, conducting the Symphony Orchestra Rishon LeZion, sensitively and
effectively underlined the dramatic action and emotional intricacies of the
work, especially when he let tension mount in attentively
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