Tag Archives: Leos Janáček

REVIEW: Scottish Opera Kátya Kabanová – Theatre Royal, Glasgow

The shining star of Scottish Opera’s current season is undoubtedly Stephen Lawless’ gorgeous looking and sounding version of Leoš Janáček’s Kátya Kabanová. One of the four late operas by the composer that are universally acknowledged as his greatest works, it has been given something of a Scandi-noir look by designer Leslie Travers and lighting designer Christopher Akerlind, for this co-production with Theater Magdeburg. Based on Alexander Ostrovsky’s play The Storm, and originally set in the 1860s in the small industrial town of Kalinov on the banks of the Volga river, the action has been advanced over a hundred years to the dark days of the Soviet era. 

Sweet and loyal Kátya is seemingly happily married to Tikhon but unrelentingly bullied by his over-possessive, domineering mother Kabanicha. When Tikhon is ordered away on business by his mother, the oppressed and isolated Kátya is tempted into the arms of another. Inherently loyal and utterly remorseful of her actions, she cannot come to terms with what she has done. In the closed-minded town she is subjected not only the whispers of the townsfolk, but the whispers in her own head. Kátya decisively takes action to calm the storm inside.

The orchestra of Scottish Opera are on lively form, at times so lively that it takes a strong singer to stand up to their vigour: some are more successful than others. Laura Wilde is a soft and timid Kátya with a crystal clear soprano, however, there are points where she, like others is overwhelmed by the pit. American tenor Ric Furman as her insipid lover Boris, is almost inaudible for much of the production, and as her Mrs. Danvers-like mother-in-law-from-hell, Patricia Bardon is in fine voice, but strays into pantomime territory as the arch villain. Much more successful are lovers Varvara (Hanna Hipp) and Vanya (Trystan Llŷr Griffiths) who provide a lively foil to the darker goings on.

This is a production that transcends its faults, darkly atmospheric, beautifully designed and with a lyrical yet highly dramatic score that is an absolute treat for the ears, it is a shining jewel in Scottish Opera’s current season.

Touring to Edinburgh 21 and 23 March 2019

Image: James Glossop

WHAT’S ON MARCH: Scottish Opera presents Janáček’s intense drama Kátya Kabanová in Glasgow

In March, Scottish Opera presents Leos Janáček’s intense drama Kátya Kabanová in a new co-production with Theater Magdeburg, directed by the renowned British director Stephen Lawless and conducted by Stuart Stratford.

Following the recent success of Czech operas on the Scottish Opera stage with Janáček’s Jenůfa (2015) and Dvořák’s Rusalka (2016), Kátya Kabanová opens in Glasgow on March 12 and transfers to Festival Theatre Edinburgh.

Set in a small, industrial community in Russia, Kátya Kabanová is torn between her duties as a wife, and her dreams of a man who truly loves her. Trapped within an oppressive community, neglected by her husband and tormented by her mother-in-law, she is drawn towards escape, to nature and to the ever-present Volga river.

Soprano Laura Wilde makes her Scottish Opera debut in the title role, following her critically acclaimed European debut as Jenůfa in 2016 with English National Opera. Ric Furman also makes his Company debut as Boris Grigoyevich alongside Samuel Sakker as Tikhon Kabanov. Patricia Bardon returns to Scottish Opera for the first time in almost 20 years to sing Kabanicha. Scottish bass Brian Bannatyne-Scott sings Dikoy. Former Jette Parker Young Artist Hanna Hipp (The Marriage of Figaro 2016) joins the cast as Varvara and Trystan Llŷr Griffiths (Cosi fan tutte 2015) sings the role of Kudrjash. Scottish Opera Emerging Artists Alexey Gusev (Rigoletto 2018) and Bethan Langford (Rigoletto 2018) join the cast as Kuligin and Glasha.

Joining Stuart Stratford and Stephen Lawless on the creative team are award-winning Set and Costume Designer Leslie Travers and Tony award-winning Lighting Designer Christopher Akerlind.

Stephen Lawless said: ‘Kátya Kabanová is one of the greatest twentieth century operas. Janáček writes consummate parts for women and the role of Kátya is arguably his best. Our compassion for her predicament draws from music of soaring intensity and heart-stopping lyricism. Scottish Opera has assembled a world class cast that will bring all their expertise to this tale of love, guilt, retribution and transcendence.’

Stuart Stratford said: ‘Janáček is one of the most concentrated of composers. Not a phrase or line is ever unnecessary. He has immense lyricism, which is always fighting for breath with a rigid and often brutal rhythmic underlay. This gives the music a real sense of dynamic tension which suits the subject matter perfectly.’

Those who wish to discover more about how the production was created can attend Kátya Kabanová Unwrapped, one-hour tasters delving further into the show, as well as Pre-show Talks. Audience members with visual impairments can enjoy the full opera experience at audio-described performances, which have a live commentary describing the action on stage without compromising the music.

 

Cast List

 

Kátya Kabanová                                             Laura Wilde

Kabanicha                                                     Patricia Bardon

Boris Grigoyevich                                           Ric Furman

Tikhon Kabanov                                             Samuel Sakker

Dikoy                                                            Brian Bannatyne-Scott

Varvara                                                          Hanna Hipp

Vanya Kudrjash                                              Tristan Llŷr Griffiths

Kuligin                                                           Alexey Gusev*

Feklusha                                                       Karen Murray

Glasha                                                          Bethan Langford*

Zena                                                             Christine Sjolander

A Man                                                           Declan McCusker

 

*Scottish Opera Emerging Artist

 

Creative Team

 

Conductor                                                       Stuart Stratford

Director                                                           Stephen Lawless

Set and Costume Designer                                Leslie Travers

Lighting Designer                                             Christopher Akerlind

Movement Director                                            Lynne Hockney

 

Performance Diary

 

Theatre Royal Glasgow, 282 Hope Street, Glasgow G2 3QA

Tue 12 Mar, 7.15pm

Thu 14 Mar, 7.15pm

Sat 16 Mar, 7.15pm

 

Kátya Kabanová Unwrapped
Wed 13 Mar, 6pm

Kátya Kabanová Pre-show talk

Sat 16 Mar, 6pm

Kátya Kabanová Touch Tour

Sat 16 Mar, 6pm

Kátya Kabanová Audio-described performance

Sat 16 Mar, 7.15pm

 

Festival Theatre, 13–29 Nicolson Street, Edinburgh EH8 9FT

Thur 21 Mar, 7.15pm

Sat 23 Mar, 7.15pm

 

Kátya Kabanová Unwrapped

Fri 22 Mar, 6pm

Kátya Kabanová Pre-show talk

Sat 23 Mar, 6pm

Kátya Kabanová Touch Tour

Sat 23 Mar, 6pm

Kátya Kabanová Audio-described performance

Sat 23 Mar, 7.15pm