Bayerische Staatsoper Triumphs in a Revival of Their Production of Jenůfa

29/11/2018

Janáček, Jenůfa: Bayerische Staatsoper Chorus and Orchestra / Simone Young (conductor), Nationaltheater, Munich, 27.11.2018. (JMI)

Karita Mattila (Kostelnička) & Sally Matthews (Jenůfa)
(c) Bayerische Staatsoper

Cast:
Jenůfa – Sally Matthews
Kostelnička – Karita Mattila
Laca – Pavel Černoch
Števa – Joseph Kaiser
Grandmother – Hanna Schwarz
Mill Foreman – Christian Rieger
Mayor – Kristof Klorek
Mayor’s wife – Heike Grötzinger
Karolka – Laura Tatulescu
Shepherdess – Natalia Kutateladze
Barena – Anaïs Mejías
Jano – Mirjam Mesak

Production:
Direction – Barbara Frey
Sets – Bettina Meyer
Costumes – Bettina Walter
Lighting – Michael Bauer

As my friends know well, I travel frequently to Munich to attend the opera – the city offers the best opera in the world. This has been particularly evident in recent years with Kirill Petrenko as Music Director and the frequent presence of Jonas Kaufmann and Anja Harteros on stage. I don’t know what the future holds with Petrenko leaving to take over the Berlin Philharmonic but, hopefully, the quality will be maintained.

On this occasion, I had the chance to revisit Jenůfa, which I enjoyed a little over a year ago. I will also be attending a new production of Otello, with Kirill Petrenko in the pit and Kaufmann and Harteros in the cast. To this will be added, as a kind of coda, Così fan tutte, which is always a pleasure. And then I will return in January for the new production of Fidelio, again with Petrenko on the podium and Kaufmann on stage.

So, the visit began with this Leoš Janáček masterpiece. I reviewed the production in July 2017, and my opinion has not changed (review click here).

The musical direction was in the hands of Simone Young who, as she has demonstrated on numerous occasions, is always a reliable conductor. Her reading seemed somewhat rigid in the first act, but it clearly improved as the opera went on. As always, the Bayerische Staatsorchester and Staatsoper chorus were excellent.

When I saw this Jenůfa in 2017, three exceptional artists were on stage: Eva Maria Westbroek, Karita Mattila and Stuart Skelton. There have been various cast changes this time around, and the final result was not quite as bright as earlier although, overall, the singing was remarkable.

The new Jenůfa was soprano Sally Matthews, who gave a delicate, heartfelt interpretation of the character. She was outstanding in the last two acts, especially in Act III. She was more subdued in Act I, but she was still a remarkable Jenůfa.

Karita Mattila returned to embody the part of Kostelnička, and she once again demonstrated what a great artist she is. It was a performance to remember, as it was two years ago. Her voice has lost some freshness, but the artist is unbeatable.

Laca was sung by tenor Pavel Černoch, who had played Števa earlier. His voice is not comparable to that of Stuart Skelton, to whom I referred above, but he was a compelling interpreter of the character though less heroic than one may be accustomed to.

The new Števa, tenor Joseph Kaiser, was rather disappointing; his voice does not flow well, and he had some problems. The grandmother was sung by the veteran Hanna Schwarz (76), who still has a powerful voice.

The rest of the supporting characters were well covered. Christian Rieger was correct as the Miller, and Kristof Klorek and Heike Grötzinger were convincing as the Mayor and his wife. Once again, there was a solid performance from Laura Tatulescu as Karolka. Finally, Natalia Kutateladze did well as the Shepherdess, as did Anaïs Mejías (Barena) and Mirjam Mesak (Jano).

The audience gave an enthusiastic reception to the artists at the final bows, and to Karita Mattila in particular.

José M. Irurzun

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Comments

Leave a Reply

Recent Reviews

MW

Facebook-button-1

Season Previews

__________________________________
  • NEW! Some Forthcoming London Events from Temple Music __________________________________
  • NEW! Royal Opera House Cinema Festival Begins Monday 3 December in State-of-the-Art Linbury Theatre __________________________________
  • NEW! English National Ballet at the London Coliseum 13 December 2018 – 20 January 2019 __________________________________
  • NEW! Looking Ahead to the 2019 Lucerne Festivals __________________________________
  • NEW! Sándor Végh Memorial Concerts 2019 __________________________________
  • NEW! Bampton Classical Opera Perform Amahl and the Night Visitors in December __________________________________
  • NEW! Opera Holland Park’s 2019 Season __________________________________
  • NEW! The Met: Live in HD in 2018/19 __________________________________
  • NEW! The Royal Opera House’s Exciting 2018/19 Cinema Season __________________________________
  • UPDATED! Zurich Opera in 2018/2019 and Beyond __________________________________
  • NEW! Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts
 in 2018/2019 __________________________________
  • NEW! Edinburgh Sunday International Concerts Series in 2018/19 __________________________________
  • NEW! Salzburg Whitsun Festival 7 – 10 June 2019 __________________________________
  • NEW! Bolshoi Ballet 2018/19 UK Cinema Season __________________________________
  • NEW! 2018-2019 Geneva Grand Theâtre Season __________________________________
  • NEW! 2018/19 Hallé Season in Manchester __________________________________
  • NEW! 2018/19 Tonhalle Orchestra Zürich __________________________________
  • Subscribe to Review Summary Newsletter

    Reviews by Reviewer

    News and Featured Articles

    __________________________________
  • NEW! CONDUCTOR ELIM CHAN IN CONVERSATION WITH GREGOR TASSIE __________________________________
  • NEW! Iain Farrington’s Mahler Piano Series was an Extraordinary Marathon __________________________________
  • NEW! Vancouver New Music’s Quartetti Festival: Recharging the Contemporary String Quartet __________________________________
  • NEW! SOPRANO ELENA MOȘUC IN CONVERSATION WITH CASEY CREEL __________________________________
  • NEW! THE PIANIST ANGELA HEWITT IN CONVERSATION WITH GREGOR TASSIE __________________________________
  • R.I.P. Montserrat Caballé (1933 – 2018): A Personal Tribute by Jack Buckley __________________________________
  • NEW! The Future of Opera is Theatre: An Essay by Casey Creel __________________________________
  • NEW! Jacqui and David Morris’s New Documentary Film Nureyev Celebrates a Unique Man and Dancer __________________________________
  • NEW! MAESTRO RICCARDO FRIZZA IN CONVERSATION WITH MARGARIDA MOTA-BULL __________________________________
  • NEW! THE GESUALDO SIX IN CONVERSATION WITH GEOFFREY NEWMAN __________________________________
  • NEW! A Q&A WITH GERMAN SOPRANO PETRA LANG __________________________________
  • NEW! TENOR NICHOLAS PHAN IN CONVERSATION WITH CHRISTOPHER SALLON __________________________________
  • NEW! THE PIANIST GEORGE HARLIONO IN CONVERSATION WITH GREGOR TASSIE __________________________________
  • NEW! HOW TO CONTACT SEEN AND HEARD INTERNATIONAL __________________________________
  • Search S&H

    Archives by Week

    Archives by Month