Dutch National Opera presents

Jenůfa Leoš Janáček (1854-1928)

Searing and realistic

Duration 2:30

Breaks 1

By Leoš Janáček

Language Czech

Surtitles Dutch and English

Rivalry, jealousy and social control culminate in the murder of an innocent child in Jenůfa. This emotional and profoundly moving opera by Leoš Janáček finds perfect expression in the uncompromising style of British theatre director Katie Mitchell.

Family drama

Composer Leoš Janáček based the libretto of Jenůfa on a play by Gabriela Preissová. Set against the backdrop of a closed community, this heart-rending family drama is told with stark psychological realism. Jenůfa is abandoned in pregnancy by her child’s father and suffers the moral oppression of those around her. Her stepmother attempts to save her reputation by killing the baby to make Jenůfa an acceptable bride. When the deed is discovered, her stepmother is arrested and Jenůfa can finally marry a man who truly loves her.

Netopil and Janáček

Janáček’s music is rooted in the intonation and rhythm of Czech colloquial language, but he was also greatly influenced by the country’s folk music. Janáček: ‘I draw my creative force from the people, from the world and from myself...’

Following L’amour des trois oranges, conductor Tomáš Netopil returns once more to Dutch National Opera. A native Czech, like Janáček, Netopil imbues Jenůfa with a special sensitivity and awareness of the subtle inflections of the sung language.

Mitchell’s focus on female experience

Katie Mitchell previously directed Orest, Written on Skin,Trauernacht and Lessons in Love and Violence at Dutch National Opera. Jenůfa marks her first production from the more established repertoire at DNO. The British theatre maker’s uncompromising directorial style, often incorporating strong filmic elements, gives eloquent expression to this emotional work. Recently, Katie Mitchell guest-directed Toneelgroep Amsterdam’s staging of Genet’s The Maids, about which she said: ‘I consistently focus my attention on female experience and perception. There aren’t many female directors and somebody has to do it. I feel like it is my responsibility.’

Three world-class singers

Annette Dasch makes her debut as Jenůfa, fulfilling a long-held dream of ours at DNO. The other female leads are Hanna Schwarz as Grandmother Stařenka (star singer from Bayreuth, previously Brangäne in Tristan und Isolde and Charlotte in Werther at DNO), Evelyn Herlitzius as Jenůfa’s stepmother, Kostelnička (Färberin in Die Frau ohne Schatten, title role in Elektra).

Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra

Along with the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra, the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra has been the regular orchestra partner of Dutch National Opera since 1985, and is internationally regarded as one of the best opera orchestras. Each season, the two orchestras perform the majority of the opera productions in Dutch National Opera & Ballet. The Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra gives a varied programme of concerts in the Concertgebouw and also performs at other major concert halls and festivals in the Netherlands and abroad. Marc Albrecht is the principal conductor of the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra|Netherlands Chamber Orchestra and of Dutch National Opera. In recent seasons, Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra has had great success with audiences and international press alike, with productions including Gurre-Lieder, Lohengrin, Der Rosenkavalier, Il Trovatore and Hänsel und Gretel. The Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Marc Albrecht, received an Edison for their recording of the DNO production Der Schatzgräber, in December 2014.

Team, Cast and Chorus

Musical Director
Tomáš Netopil
Stage Director
Katie Mitchell
Decor and costumes
Lizzie Clachan
James Farncombe
Joseph Alford
Klaus Bertisch
Nederlands Philharmonisch Orkest
Chorus of Dutch National Opera
Ching-Lien Wu
Stařenka Buryjovka
Hanna Schwarz
Laca Klemeň
Pavel Cernoch
Števa Buryja
Norman Reinhardt
Kostelnička Buryjovka
Evelyn Herlitzius
Annette Dasch
Henry Waddington
Jeremy White
Francis van Broekhuizen
Karin Strobos
Polly Leech - Dutch National Opera Studio
Gloria Giurgola - Dutch National Opera Studio
Sophia Burgos
Johanna Dur
    Wed 14 Feb Parool on The maids****

    ‘Acting in a Mitchell production demands precision: like a choreographer, she covers every move and records everything. (...) surprisingly vivid, topical direction.’