CPH Post

Culture

Opera Review: Worth Czeching it out if you can catch it


Trapped in an unhappy marriage and a bath-tub

November 22, 2013
09:09

by Cathy Strongman


Katya Kabanova

November 10
Gamle Scene

 

When the touring production of ‘Katya Kabanova’ appeared on Gamle Scene on November 10 it was a night of firsts. It was the first opportunity for a Copenhagen audience to ever see a Leos Janacek opera, and it was the directorial debut of Anilese Miskimmon as the new head of Den Jyske Opera. Fortunately, the night ended more happily for Miskimmon than for the opera’s heroine.

Janacek is oft referred to as the Czech Puccini, and this, his sixth opera that debuted in Brno in 1921, is considered his first mature work. Based on ‘The Storm’, a play by Alexander Ostrovsky, it tells the tragic story of Katya who, trapped in an unhappy marriage made worse by an overbearing mother-in-law, falls for the charms of Boris. When a dramatic storm breaks, Katya becomes increasingly agitated, first confessing her sins in front of everyone and finally flinging herself off a bridge into the Volga. The opera was performed in Czech with Danish supertitles, and although we got the gist, the overly succinct subtitling meant that some of the opera’s complexities were lost.  

The production was conducted by Jaroslav Kyzlink, the conductor of the National Theatre in Prague and accompanied by the Danish National Opera Chorus and the Copenhagen Philharmonic Orchestra. Katya was sung by Czech soprano Pavla Vykopalova who together with Slovakian tenor Peter Berger carried the show. The other standout performances were from the Copenhagen-based soprano Aileen Itani, who played Varara, and Canada’s David Curry, who played the part of Varara’s lover. The duet these two sang at the end of Act 2 was particularly memorable. The dramatic crescendo played wonderfully by the orchestra during the storm in Act Three also made my skin tingle.

My only gripe was with the set and costume design. True, there are constraints with a production that for two months is flitting all over Denmark, but a less literal representation of the setting with perhaps some modern references could have energised the performance. A first Janacek opera for me, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Catch it if you can before the final curtain call in Odense on November 30.




Latest Comments

At least !! politicians have already better understood Danish bureaucracy and...

(Cizarcc Corporatecommunicatuon on April 20, 2014 14:18)

So nobody tipped the investors off to Amazon's wish list, which allows people...

(Heidi Patterson on April 20, 2014 13:15)

The Ukraine economy is very unstable at this point in time. Therefore, it...

(Calvin Bernhardt on April 20, 2014 04:49)

Yeah, may as well stay home and drink.

(Calvin Bernhardt on April 20, 2014 04:45)

Shes a true slut

(Danny Cicano on April 20, 2014 03:58)

Stephanie is a hippie! :-D

(Jens Rost on April 19, 2014 19:47)

There is a very famous expression in America that I think is appropriate...

(April 19, 2014 02:48)

I would like a link to the study. So here is one...

(April 18, 2014 15:13)

Another excuse to build something that anyone using their own money would...

(Go Jodfrey on April 18, 2014 13:45)

I think Scandinavians in general just plain don't like children, anymore than...

(Cliff Arroyo on April 18, 2014 09:35)