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Katya Kabanova


Scottish Opera’s fine production of Katya Kabanova – directed by Stephen Lawless, vividly conducted by Stuart Stratford, and performed in the original Czech – is one of tremendous power.

Many elements combine to achieve this. Designer Leslie Travers has created a monumental set dominated by a vast, rusty iron bridge traversing the muddy reed-beds of a small town on the river Volga during the late Soviet era. An all-pervading sense of universal decay is heightened by Christopher Akerlind’s pitiless lighting.

Both the wider local community and the drama’s central participants are rendered in sharp definition. Laura Wilde conveys poignantly the heart-rending frailty of the heroine, constantly bullied by her controlling mother-in-law Kabanicha, whom Patricia Bardon expertly humanises without in any way diluting her cruel nature.

Let down by the two men in her life, Katya disintegrates. The inadequacy of her weak, alcoholic husband Tichon is laid painfully bare in Samuel Sakker’s lithe-voiced portrayal, while the irresponsibility of her here-today, gone-tomorrow lover Boris is persuasively represented via Ric Furman’s tensile tenor.

Paul Whelan’s blustering bully Dikoy, ostentatiously covered in the fatuous medals of his Soviet past, Hanna Hipp’s pleasure-seeking Varvara and Trystan Llyr Griffiths’ laddish Vanya all register strongly.

The choral and orchestral work is impeccable throughout, while Stratford’s command of the subtle coloristic range of Janacek’s score repeatedly enriches the overall emotional experience.

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Production Details
Production nameKatya Kabanova
VenueTheatre Royal
StartsMarch 12, 2019
EndsMarch 16, 2019, then touring until March 23
Running time2hrs
ComposerLeos Janacek
DirectorStephen Lawless
ConductorStuart Stratford
Set designerLeslie Travers
Lighting designerChristopher Akerlind
CastHanna Hipp, Laura Wilde, Patricia Bardon, Paul Whelan, Ric Furman, Samuel Sakker, Trystan Llyr Griffiths
Production managerAndrew Storer
VerdictScottish Opera’s exceptional realisation of Janacek’s small-town tragedy
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George Hall

George Hall

George Hall

George Hall

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