Leoš Janáček: Katya Kabanova

Leoš Janáček Katya Kabanova
Katya Kabanova

Leoš Janáček: Katya Kabanova

Year of composition:
Opera in 3 acts
Leoš Janáček
Karl Heinz Füssl; Sir Charles Mackerras
Original language:
Alena Wagnerová (18.04.1995); Norman Tucker (25.10.1975); Michel Ancey (11.07.1967); Vincenc Cervinka; Reinhold Schubert (01.09.1976); Max Brod; Ute Becker (18.04.1995)
Leoš Janáček
Writer of pre-existing text:
Alexander Nikolajewitsch Ostrowski
Piano reduction:
Bretislav Bakala
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
Bürger beiderlei Geschlechts
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
viola d'amore
violin I
violin II
More Less


Katya Kabanova

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

26 Feb

Katya Kabanova

Royal Opera House, London (GB)

27 Feb

Katya Kabanova

Opera North, Leeds (GB)

07 Mar

Katya Kabanova

The Lowry, Salford Quays (GB)

12 Mar

Katya Kabanova

Scottish Opera, Glasgow (GB)

12 Mar

Katya Kabanova

Staatstheater, Mainz (DE)

World première

Národni divadlo (National Theatre), Brno (CZ)
Neumann František

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