Scottish Opera's Jenůfa, Festival Theatre, Review

Rating (out of 5)
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Scottish Opera with Danish National Opera
Leoš Janáček, Jenůfa
Lee Bisset (Jenůfa), Sam Furness (Steva Buryja), Jonathan May (The Mayor), Anne-Marie Owens (Grandmother Buryjovka), Kathryn Harries (Kostelnicka Buryjovka), Sarah Pring (The Mayor's wife), Peter Wedd (Laca Klemen), Christina Petrou (Barena), Rosalind Coad (Karolka), Louise Kemeny (Jano), Jeanie Larkin (Herdswoman), Julie Martin-Carter (Aunt), William Robert Allenby (The foreman), Stuart Stratford (conductor), Mark Jonathan (lighting designer), Annilese Miskimmon (director), Kally Lloyd-Jones (movement director), Nicky Shaw (designer).
Running time

Annilese Miskimmon directed an extraordinarily sensitive and accurate portrayal of a family's tribulations. Set in the west of Ireland in 1918 rather than the original Moravia, Janáček's opera of 1904 is otherwise known as Her Stepdaughter. Three generations are concerned with Jenůfa's young child, and it's not a happy outcome.

Lee Bisset's Jenůfa, enhanced by her own pregnancy, is strong and dignified but has to contend with a stepmother, Kathryn Harris, with rigid morals and watched over by grandmother, Anne-Marie Owens - all three superb in their delivery. Memorable too was the arrival of Jonathan May, the Mayor, and his wife, Sarah Pring, who has to be gently chided.

The impressive set initially is of the outside of a mill cottage with action outside and from opened windows on two floors. After the interval we were watching the goings-on inside the same realistic cottage.

Stuart Stratford was conducting a well prepared orchestra and if there was anything memorable it must be the often heard xylophone which mimicked the sound of the mill wheel.

This was a serious and particularly successful Scottish Opera and Danish National Opera production to be highly commended.

Performance reviewed: Thursday 16th April 2015, further Edinburgh performance on Saturday 18th April 2015, both at 7.15pm.