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Katya Kabanova

In pursuit of love

SUMMER 2024

Katya Kabanova is one of the 20th century’s greatest operas.  Janáček wrote music of blazing intensity inspired by his own love for a young woman.  A second inspiration was Puccini’s Madama Butterfly which, he says, was the impetus musically and dramatically.

Director David Alden (ROH, the Met, Munich, Vienna) creates the claustrophobic village for acclaimed soprano, Natalya Romaniw, in the title role.  Trapped in a loveless marriage, she is driven to despair by the Kabanov clan led by her vile mother-in-law, Kabanicha.  This epic character is none other than Susan Bullock.

Janáček’s score brims with vocal and orchestral writing of extreme beauty. Katya”, he wrote, “is one of my most tender works”.

An opera in three acts

Sung in Czech with English surtitles

Music Leoš Janáček

Libretto Leoš Janáček, based on The Storm, a play by Alexander Ostrovsky

First performance 23 November 1921, National Theatre Brno

UK première 10 April 1951, Sadler’s Wells Theatre

Back to What’s On

Cast & Creatives

KABANICHA, the matriarch of the Kabanov family ∙ SUSAN BULLOCK      Sponsor Ruth Markland
TICHON, her son ∙ ADRIAN THOMPSON
KATYA, his wife ∙ NATALYA ROMANIW
VARVARA, adopted by the family KATIE BRAY     Sponsor Raymonde Jay
DIKOJ, a pompous merchant ∙ CLIVE BAYLEY
BORIS, his nephew, in love with KatyaTHOMAS ATKINS
VANYA KUDRJAS, a teacher, in love with Varvara BENJAMIN HULETT
KULIGIN, Vanya’s friend ∙ JONATHAN KENNEDY
GLASA, a servant ∙ JENNIFER STATHAM
FEKLUSA, a servant ∙ REBECCA STOCKLAND

CONDUCTOR STEPHEN BARLOW      Sponsor Peter & Poppity Nutting
DIRECTOR DAVID ALDEN
DESIGNER HANNAH POSTLETHWAITE
COSTUME DESIGNER GABRIELLE DALTON
MOVEMENT LYNNE HOCKNEY

Act 1

It is Sunday and the village teacher Vanya Kudrjas is admiring the river Volga. His dream is interrupted by the pompous merchant Dikoj berating Boris, his nephew.  Boris’s inheritance will be controlled by his uncle until he is 21 so Boris must tolerate whatever is thrown at him. He confesses that he is in love with Katya, who is married to a drunkard, Tichon Kabanov.

At that moment the Kabanov family appears. The fierce family matriarch, Kabanicha, berates her son Tichon for pampering his wife Katya and neglecting his mother.

Katya talks to the the family’s adopted daughter Varvara about her peaceful childhood. She longs for such happiness and confesses she has considered taking a lover. Her husband interrupts them: he is leaving on business. He gives instructions on how Katya must behave in his absence.

Act 2

Kabanicha is critical of Katya. Why is she not displaying grief at her husband’s absence?

Varvara tells Katya that she has stolen the key to the garden gate and plans to meet her lover, the teacher Vanya. She dares Katya to meet Boris. Katya agrees. Dikoj complains that he doesn’t get his due respect in the village. Kabanicha will have none of it.

Varvara and Vanya meet up and head towards the river.  Alone, Boris and Katya confess their love.

Act 3

10 days later

Suddenly caught in a violent storm, Vanya and his friend Kuligin take shelter in a ruined building. The storm is a subject of great interest to the villagers. While Vanya the science teacher analyses electrical forces, superstitious Dikoj sees it as God’s anger.

The rain eases and everyone goes their separate ways.

Vanya, Boris and Varvara gossip: they have heard that Tichon has returned and Katya is agitated.

When Kabanicha, Tichon and Katya appear, everyone thinks that it is the weather upsetting Katya. However, she makes a public confession that she has been unfaithful to her husband. She dashes out into the storm. Tichon and others go in search of her.  Varvara and Vanya make plans to run away to Moscow.

Wandering by the river Katya meets Boris. They embrace and he tells her that his uncle has ordered him to leave the village. Heartbroken, Katya throws herself into the river.

When her body is recovered Tichon is broken with grief. His mother, Kabanicha, coldly thanks her neighbours for their help.

Performance dates

Sunday 16 June 5:15pm
Saturday 22 June 5:15pm
Thursday 27 June 5:45pm
Wednesday 3 July 5:45pm
Friday 12 July 5:45pm

With thanks

Katya Kabanova is sponsored by a syndicate led by David & Amanda Leathers

Nosey Neighbours sponsored by Nerissa Guest
Proc se tak chovaji sponsored by Tessa & John Manser
Nikoho tu neni sponsored by John & Carol Wates

Tickets

Sunday 16 June 2024

5:15pm

Saturday 22 June 2024

5:15pm

Thursday 27 June 2024

5:45pm

Wednesday 3 July 2024

5:45pm

Friday 12 July 2024

5:45pm