Opera Scotland

Kátya Kabanová 2019Scottish Opera

Read more about the opera Kátya Kabanová

Janáček and Kátya

Kátya Kabanová was the first of Janáček's operas to be seen in Britain, when a young Charles Mackerras conducted it at Sadler's Wells in 1951. It was also the first to be heard in Scotland, at the 1964 Edinburgh Festival.

Kátya is usually considered to be the most popular of his operas, and in many ways the most conventional. Its subject is derived from a theatrical work of recognized importance. Ostrovsky's tragedy of 1859, variously translated as The Storm or Thunder, has occasionally been produced in its own right, including at the National Theatre in London.

Janáček's other operas are all derived from far more unusual themes. It is difficult to imagine another composer tackling one of those subjects, where Kátya could perhaps have been set by someone else. But no other composer could have produced a work of such immediacy or emotional impact.

In retrospect, it is puzzling Scottish Opera has performed it so little. Forty years ago, in 1979, Richard Armstrong conducted David Pountney's atmospheric staging, in which the title role was performed by Dame Josephine Barstow, an expert in the most dramatic areas of twentieth century repertoire. Kerstin Meyer sang a frightening Kabanicha.

Armstrong again conducted the second production, in 1993, when Kátya was sensitively performed by Helen Field. The revival of that staging in 1999 was dominated by the incandescent soprano Susan Chilcott in an unforgettable interpretation. Since then, the only production by the company was a small-scale, piano-accompanied tour of the Highlands and Islands in 2009 - in itself an adventurous project.

A new Kátya

This third full-scale staging is led by Laura Wilde, recently an excellent Gretel with Opera North, in her company debut. The vicious mother-in-law, Kabanicha, is a gift of a role for a superb dramatic mezzo such as Patricia Bardon. The two tenors, one American and one Australian, are both new to the company. The New Zealand bass Paul Whelan recently returned after a long gap to feature in the cast of Anthropocene.

The director Stephen Lawless, with years of successful work behind him on the continent and across the Atlantic, has only been away for some twenty-eight years.

Scottish Opera 2018/19

Scottish Opera's 2018/19 season started off with the company's first full-scale staging of one of the most popular works of the verismo school in Leoncavallo's Pagliacci. This was seen in Paisley in July - an impressively large-scale production with many local performers, all in a temporarily-erected tent. The new stagings included a world premiere, Anthropocene, an eagerly awaited further collaboration between Stuart MacRae and Louise Welsh. There was also a new Kátya Kabanová. Returning to the composition period of Pagliacci, the continuing Sunday afternoon concert series included Scottish premieres for Puccini's second opera, Edgar, and Mascagni's fifth, Silvano. There were also major revivals, and long tours, for Matthew Richardson's staging of Rigoletto from 2011 and Sir Thomas Allen's of The Magic Flute (2012).

Performance Cast

Váňa Kudrjaš a school teacher

Trystan Llyr Griffiths

Glaša an old servant

Bethan Langford

Savel Prokofievich Dikoj a merchant

Paul Whelan

Boris Grigorievich Dikoj's nephew

Ric Furman

Marfa Ignatyevna Kabanová a merchant's widow, called Kabanicha

Patricia Bardon

Tikhon Ivanovich Kabanov Kabanicha's son

Samuel Sakker

Káterina Kabanová known as Katya, Tikhon's wife

Laura Wilde

Varvara foster-child in the Kabanov household

Hanna Hipp

Kuligin a friend of Vána

Alexey Gusev

Performance DatesKátya Kabanová 2019

Map List

Theatre Royal, Glasgow | Glasgow

12 Mar, 19.15 14 Mar, 19.15 16 Mar, 19.15

Festival Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

21 Mar, 19.15 23 Mar, 19.15

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