The embittered widow, Kostelnicka, drowns her infant grandson to save her beloved stepdaughter Jenufa from the shame and hardship of raising an illegitimate child.

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Cast overview:
Roberta Alexander ...
Jenufa
Anja Silja ...
Kostelnicka Buryjovka
Menai Davies ...
Buryja, The Grand Mother
Philip Langridge ...
Laca Klemen
Mark Baker ...
Steva Burya
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The embittered widow, Kostelnicka, drowns her infant grandson to save her beloved stepdaughter Jenufa from the shame and hardship of raising an illegitimate child.

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opera | based on novel | See All (2) »

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Drama | Music

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A unique staging of one of Janacek's greatest operas
28 January 2006 | by (London, UK) – See all my reviews

The crowning achievement of Lehnhoff's series of Janacek stagings for Glyndebourne. Roberta Alexander's Jenufa is a sympathetic, full voiced heroine, if given to playing the early part of the story for pathos rather than more immediate drama.

It matters little because the performance and indeed production belongs to the arresting presence of Anja Silja's Kostelnica, her mother-in-law. Her granite profile and off-the-leash musical theatricality infuse the screen with all the emotional extremity in Janacek's invariably uncompromising score (a reading of fire and breadth from the LPO under Andrew Davis).

The production is the least stylised of Lehnhoff's series with the exception of an unusual and impressive watermill set to the first act. The minor roles are well-sung (no mean feat in this difficult repertoire) and the chorus are always busy and convincing. 6/10


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