Realist opera Jenůfa (1904) by Czech composer Leoš Janáček is coming to London’s Royal Opera House in March, the Royal Opera has announced. This represents the first production of the work at Covent Garden since 2001.
The new production is directed by award-winning German director Claus Guth. He has a particular interest in contemporary opera and made his Royal Opera debut in 2014 directing Die Frau ohne Schatten (The Woman without a Shadow, Strauss, 1919). Guth’s staging of the opera explores the lives of two courageous women struggling for fulfilment in a small rural community.
Jenůfa is keeping a secret – she is pregnant by Števa, who drinks and is a womaniser. Jenůfa’s stepmother, the Kostelnička, had a violent, alcoholic husband and tells Števa he won’t be allowed to marry Jenůfa unless he stays sober for a year.
In her determination to save her stepdaughter’s reputation the Kostelnička commits a terrible crime, which is revealed on Jenůfa’s wedding day.
Lithuanian soprano and rising star Asmik Grigorian makes her Royal Opera debut as Jenůfa, while Finnish soprano Karita Mattila, an acclaimed Jenůfa for the Royal Opera in 2001, sings the Kostelnička. They are joined by Czech tenor Pavel Černoch as Števa Buryja, English tenor Allan Clayton as Laca Klemen and Italian mezzo-soprano Elena Zilio as Grandmother Buryjovka.
Jenůfa is conducted by former music director of Glyndebourne Vladimir Jurowski, making his long-awaited return to Covent Garden. The sets are by Canadian designer Michael Levine, with costumes by Gesine Völlm and lighting by James Farncombe.
The production opens at the Royal Opera House on 24 March, with performances running until April. Tickets are on sale now.
Rising star Asmik Grigorian sings the title role in the Royal Opera’s new production of Janáček’s Jenůfa (Rokas Baltakys).