Leoš Janáček: Katya Kabanova

Leoš Janáček Katya Kabanova
Katya Kabanova

Leoš Janáček: Katya Kabanova

Year of composition:
1921
Subtitle:
Opera in 3 acts
Composer:
Leoš Janáček
Editor:
Karl Heinz Füssl; Sir Charles Mackerras
Original language:
Czech
Translator:
Max Brod; Norman Tucker (25.10.1975); Michel Ancey (11.07.1967); Reinhold Schubert (01.09.1976); Vincenc Cervinka; Ute Becker (18.04.1995); Alena Wagnerová (18.04.1995)
Librettist:
Leoš Janáček
Writer of pre-existing text:
Alexander Nikolajewitsch Ostrowski
Piano reduction:
Bretislav Bakala
Roles:
Savjol Prokofjewitsch Dikoj, a merchant, bass Boris Grigorjewitsch, his nephew, tenor Marfa Ignatjewna Kabanowa (Kabanicha), a rich merchant's widow, alto Tichon Ivanytsch Kabanoff, her son, tenor Katherina (Katja), his wife, soprano Wanja Kudrjasch, teac
Choir:
Bürger beiderlei Geschlechts
Instrumentation:
4 3 3 3 - 4 3 3 1 - timp, perc(2), hp, cel, vla.d'a, str
Instrumentation details:
1st flute
2nd flute
3rd flute (+picc)
4th flute (+picc)
1st oboe
2nd oboe
3rd oboe (+cor anglais)
1st clarinet in Bb
2nd clarinet in Bb
3rd clarinet in Bb (+bass cl(Bb))
1st bassoon
2nd bassoon
3rd bassoon (+cbsn)
1st horn in F
2nd horn in F
3rd horn in F
4th horn in F
1st trumpet in F
2nd trumpet in F
3rd trumpet in F
1st trombone
2nd trombone
3rd trombone
tuba
timpani
percussion(2)
celesta
harp
viola d'amore
violin I
violin II
viola
violoncello
contrabass;
Duration:
105’
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Audiosamples

Katya Kabanova
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The complete perusal score (PDF-preview)

Work introduction

„I feel sorry for her,” Varvara sings in the first act of Janáček’s sixth opera Katja Kabanowa. And this feeling of compassion with a psychically-tortured woman could be a motto of many of his operas. Most of Janáček’s operas deal with individuals oppressed by socially determined facts and conventions, and if they try to resist it often brings fatal consequences.

Janáček decided to musicalize The Tempest (Bouře) by Ostrovský probably around the beginning of 1919. It was not surprising that he chose a Russian theme, as Janáček was a cofounder of the Russian Circle in Brno, loved Russian culture and often found inspiration in Russian literature. As soon as the question of using a translation by Vincenc Červinka was resolved, Janáček started working. He adapted the whole drama by himself. The première of the opera took place in November 23, 1921, in the National Theatre in Brno under the baton of František Neumann. Almost one year later on November 30, 1922, Katja Kabanowa was staged in the National Theatre in Prague, conducted by Otakar Ostrčil. The success was immense, even though reviewers pointed out, that “the crucial mistake was that the opera did not have a fast flowing story”. In 1927 Janáček decided to resolve the connections of individual scenes in the first and second acts by changing the score. He added short interludes into both acts that made it possible to rebuild the scene without interrupting the music flow and thus to interconnect individual scenes. They were restored by Sir Charles Mackerras, who also put them into the newly-published score of the opera.

Katja Kabanowa represents an intimate and lyrical example of a lonely human being and a personal tragedy with no empty or pathetic gestures. It is a story which may be happening even today to our neighbours. This may be why this work still appeals to us, and thanks to its musical production it belongs among the most impressive musical tragedies the 20th century brought.

Jiří Zahrádka

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Next performances

01 Nov

Katya Kabanova

Wiener Staatsoper, Wien (AT)

04 Nov

Katya Kabanova

Wiener Staatsoper, Wien (AT)

07 Nov

Katya Kabanova

Wiener Staatsoper, Wien (AT)

12 Nov

Katya Kabanova

Theater Aachen, Aachen (DE)

19 Nov

Katya Kabanova

Theater Aachen, Aachen (DE)

World première

Location:
Brno
Date:
23.11.1921
Conductor:
Neumann František

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