At Janácek, a rosewater love and a mother-in-law's pliers sound

In the Saturday Matinee, the second part of a concertante Leoš Janácek double sounded on Saturday: last January, in the middle of a lockdown, Lise Davidsen sang a beautiful jenufa live on the radio in front of an empty hall. On Saturday, soprano Amanda Majeski sang an anguished Katja in Janácek’s second successful opera Kat’a Kabanovaa woman so plagued with guilt over her infatuation with a man other than her own (and outright bullied by her mother-in-law) that she ends up drowning in the Volga.

On the radio you can make much more beautiful than reality. If a singer sings a little softer, the orchestra can be muted a bit, so that you can still hear everything nicely in balance. jenufa therefore became a resounding idealization of the old normal; a yearning hear-well-what-we-miss live. But that balance is not that perfect in real life, an acoustic hall is much fairer. Tenor Edgaras Montvidas (Boris, Katja’s secret love) seemed to spare his voice at the beginning and barely rose above the orchestra, which gave him something rosy water.

Also read: Soprano Lise Davidsen drags you along in poignant ‘Jenufa’

You actually preferred to dive into the bushes with his regular opponent, the much more powerful and theatrical tenor Boris Stepanov (Kudrjás). Mezzo-soprano Katarina Dalayman (short, red hair) cleverly sang the blood from under your fingernails like a mother-in-law’s demanding pincers, right from her opening sentence to her son: “Your wife is more important than your own mother!” ugh. Bas Clive Bayley (Savjol, uncle of Boris) was just on the infectious other end, with a whole range of extravagant emotions in his voice.

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