• Curtains
search
or call us on 0845 505 8500

BLOG : Review: Jenufa, English National Opera

Friday 01 July 2016

By Shanine Salmon

This was my first opera and I was drawn by the synopsis:

Loved by two half-brothers, Jenůfa is secretly pregnant by one of them. Concerned for the family’s reputation, her step-mother commits an unspeakable act in the hope that Jenůfa does not remain alone. But when a baby’s body is found on the wedding day, the devastating truth is revealed to all.

It has everything I expect in an opera; dishonour and secrets and the industrial setting makes the piece feel even darker.

Laura Wilde is exceptional in her European debut as Jenůfa, a woman in love with the swaggering lothario Števa it is clear that Jenůfa’s expectations of love and marriage after being impregnated by Steva (a richly voiced and swaggering Nicky Spence) will not come to pass. To add injury to insult Jenůfa is then slashed by Števa’s half-brother Laca (Peter Hoare), who injures her as he loves her and cannot bear to see her with Števa.

The most interesting scenes involve the chorus, such as the wedding where the tragedy really unfolds and the drunken introduction of Števa but as a production it doesn’t give them much to do and it is a real shame to have a lavish space such as the Colliseum not put to good use with impressive staging or even a skilled chorus. It more than makes up for it with the beautiful score and stunning orchestral arrangements. It is a real shame that Mark Wigglesworth is leaving the ENO as it will be a tough act to follow as the new musical director.

The most interesting role and performance is from Michaela Martens as Kostelnička, Jenůfa’s harsh step-mother, whose pride and honour lead her to do a despicable act. It could easily become a wicked stepmother role but Martens shows the light and darkness of the character through her incredible voice and performance.

As first operas go I would recommend attending but even if you are a seasoned opera attendee this is worth your time.

tags: Drama, Contemporary, Limited Run


By Shanine Salmon

Shanine works full time as Drama examinations administrator and hopes to start an MA in Gender, Sexuality and Culture in September. Her interests are politics, archives, film and of course theatre. She prefers plays but does enjoy dressing up for Rocky Horror Show.

Please note: Opinions expressed on the londontheatredirect.com blog are those of the relevant contributors, not of London Theatre Direct Ltd, its owners or staff. London Theatre Direct Ltd is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by contributors.

Why book London theatre tickets with us?

  • Official London theatre tickets
  • Direct connections to London theatres
  • Full member of the Society Of Ticket Agents and Retailers (STAR)
  • Established 16 years
  • No transaction fees, no hidden charges
  • Free box office ticket collection or print at home tickets
  • Choose your seats from live interactive seating plans
  • Competitive pricing
  • Tickets you can trust
  • Secure purchase
  • Safe website
  • Over a million tickets sold to satisfied customers