Home Opera Katya, later « parterre field – “Essentially the most important weblog in opera!” – New York Occasions

Katya, later « parterre field – “Essentially the most important weblog in opera!” – New York Occasions

Katya, later « parterre field – “Essentially the most important weblog in opera!” – New York Occasions


His sixth opera, Katya Kabanova, is probably his most passionately impressed composition. Janácek units this story of an adulterous affair in a rural neighborhood on the Volga. Katya is unhappily married to the weak-willed service provider Tichon Kabanov, who’s incapable of protecting his spouse towards the puritanical oppressions of his domineering mom, Kabanicha. When Tichon departs city on enterprise, Katya’s foster sister Varvara encourages her to consummate her want for the urbane Boris Grigorjevic. Though the pair develop into lovers, their fleeting second of bliss is shattered when the tormented Katya publicly confesses her infidelity. Realizing that she has severed all tethers to a decent life, Katya leaps to her loss of life within the Volga in the course of the opera’s harrowing finale.

Whereas the narrative spine of Katya Kabanova is restructured from Alexander Ostrovsky’s play The Storm, the music’s riveting emotional palette is sublimated onto the rating from Janácek’s personal unrequited love for Kamila Stösslová, a muse whose presence equally hovers over the central characters of Bystrouška and Elina Makropulos. By refracting Ostrovsky’s social morality play by the prism of his engrossing heroine, Janá?ek crafts in Katya a drama that overwhelms in its tragic depiction of forbidden love.

Within the century since its inaugural performances in Brno, Katya’s inventory has risen to astonishing heights as one of many canon’s masterpieces. Past the borders of its native Czechia, the opera first secured its worldwide footing in the UK, the place it was championed by visionaries like Rafael Kubelik (who later led its American main firm debut in San Francisco) and Sir Charles Mackerras. Mackerras, lengthy honored because the pre-eminent authority of Janácek’s music, not solely helmed productions of Katya in probably the most prestigious venues, but additionally headlined two reference data that proceed to proselytize listeners to this fascinating rating.

Among the many current plethora of notable Katya’s, this new recording drawn from Sir Simon Rattle’s critically acclaimed concert events with the London Symphony Orchestra rises above the competitors, notably for his probing insights into Janácek’s dramatics and for Amanda Majeski’s traditionally vital portrayal of the title function. Following his 2020 recording of The Crafty Little Vixen, Rattle’s new Katya marks the second installment in his collaboration with the LSO to additional enrich the composer’s distinguished operatic discography.

Rattle’s affinity with Janácek’s music traces again to his adolescence with the Metropolis of Birmingham Symphony and Philharmonia orchestras. His pre-Berlin recordings of the Sinfonietta, Missa Glagolitica, and Taras Bulba already evinced the younger conductor’s capability to unleash swells of romantic exultation with out skirting the autochthonous accents and idiosyncrasies innate to those scores. 4 many years on, Rattle now instructions a heightened acuity for limning a composer’s intentions and imbuing his readings with penetrating depth–hallmarks obligatory for navigating a rating as darkly radiant as Katya Kabanova.

Beneath Rattle’s unerring imaginative and prescient, the London Symphony weaves a tapestry of dimension and colour in depicting Katya’s variegated psychological states. In distinction to the burnished legato that programs by Mackerras’ studying with the Vienna Philharmonic, Rattle’s virtuoso instrumentalists preserve a propulsive pressure whereas underscoring Janácek’s piquant accents on this finely composed character examine. It stands as a testomony to Rattle’s mastery that particulars like Katya’s viola d’amore motifs or the thematic dualities current throughout Katya and Varja’s interactions and love scenes emerge with such readability and individuality.

The orchestra and refrain’ vivid theatricality really instructions the forefront of this recording’s auditory panorama. The gamers’ instrumental accompaniment for example acquires a ravishing gleam when the fluttering flutes and strings convey mysticism and marvel throughout Katya’s non secular reminisces. When the character surrenders to Boris on the drama’s epicenter, rapture and sexual ecstasy abound within the ensemble’s hovering burgeon of sound. And the way the orchestra grips one with a lacerating depth after they understand the fatalistic passages that shut the primary act, in addition to the turbulent elemental and psychological storms that push Katya in direction of her closing apotheosis by suicide.

Rattle’s glorious solid likewise parallels his outstanding conception, with a handful of his singers representing the discography’s most charismatic proponents of Janácek’s characters. Amanda Majeski, who beforehand triumphed as Katya on the Royal Opera Home and the Concertgebouw, repeats her haunted and impassioned heroine for this undertaking. If Majeski’s interpretation doesn’t fairly plumb the spine-tingling fragility of historic Katya’s like Elisabeth Söderström, her opulent colorations unearth higher contrasts between her enclaves of psychological repose and her episodes of unhinged desperation.

Majeski’s radiant soprano delicately spins Katya’s ephemeral moments of happiness, evoking her craving to fly free like a fowl and her envisioning of angels amid her reveries of paradise. After Varvara invitations Katya to the backyard for the lovers’ trysts, Majeski inhabits the character’s pathological neuroses in her monologue “Vida! Nes?te?sti?! Tady je to nes?te?sti?!” with unbelievable specificity throughout her demanding vocal vary. After we lastly arrive at Katya’s hallucinatory denouement, “Ne! Nikdo tu neni?! Co as chuda?ok de?la??,” the soprano instructions consideration with a cathartic finale replete with coruscating excessive As and B-flats as she hurtles in direction of her watery oblivion.

Rattle’s heroine is flanked by a solid that adeptly embodies their roles inside Kalinovo’s dysfunctional neighborhood. Katya’s lover Boris Grigorjevi? is sung by Simon O’Neill, whose sturdy vocal structure ably scales Janácek’s treacherous tenor writing. Whereas O’Neill negotiates the music stylishly, his metallic timbre sometimes lacks the richness required to convey abandon and ardor. If O’Neill aligns with Majeski musically of their romantic confrontations, his Boris falls brief in igniting the sparks to kindle the reticent Katya. Distinction this with Majeski’s earlier partnership with Pavel Cernoch’s Boris, each of whom exude an electrifying sexual chemistry that’s uncomfortable palpable even from the space of the ROH’s radio broadcast.

Marfa Ignatevna (Kabanicha), Katya’s imperious mother-in-law from hell, is delivered to life with dramatic aplomb by the Swedish mezzo soprano Katarina Dalayman. Whereas Kabanicha barely approaches the colossal dramatic onus carried by Janácek’s Kostelni?ka, her presence stays essential for disrupting Katya’s tenuous psychological state. In these concert events, Dalayman’s incisive and flinty characterization echoes the strict studying immortalized by Nadezda Kniplová, mercilessly dominating Katya, Tichon and Dikoj together with her steely declamations.

Magdalena Kozená, whose Varvara sounds as very important and effervescent as her portrayal on the Met from 20 years prior, presents a most charming antipode to the titular heroine. Along with her exemplary command of Janácek’s linguistic and musical idiom, the charismatic Kozená elevates Varvara’s function in urging Katya to confront her human impulses. Varvara’s lover Kudrjas is sung excellently by the Czech tenor Ladislav Elgr (beforehand a strong Steva for Rattle), who convinces along with his clever depiction of the city’s schoolteacher qua-philosopher. Kozená and Elgr’s younger lovers delight with their seamless command of the music and textual content, providing a glimmer of hope amid Kalinovo’s claustrophobic environs.

Andrew Staples fields a extra lyrical instrument than what is generally heard in Katya’s impotent husband Tichon, devoid of caricature and even mildly sympathetic within the face of his harridan of a mom. Pavlo Hunka, a late substitute for the initially scheduled Sir John Tomlinson, animates the stage with a belligerent outdated Dikoj that bursts with persona. His drunken interactions with Dalyaman’s scornful Kabanicha pierce this largely melancholic narrative with a glint of humor. Lastly, Claire Barnett-Jones and Lukás Zeman provide wealthy tones and crisp characterizations within the minor roles of Glasa, Feklusa, and Kuligin.

This enterprise’s resounding successes in the end return full circle to Rattle the dramatist. Whereas Janácek’s operatic discography has by no means needed for high quality owing to Mackerras’ advocacy, Rattle’s nuanced artistry justifies and even necessitates the LSO’s ambitions to reimagine these fascinating stage works. Certainly, with this hauntingly poignant Crafty Little Vixen and this transcendent Katya Kabanova behind him, one can solely eagerly anticipate Rattle and the LSO’s upcoming launch of their just lately accomplished Jenufa and the remaining dramas that can culminate this musical odyssey.

Pictures: Mark Allan



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