Opera Scotland

Lee Bisset as Jenufa

Scottish Opera’s new production of Janácek’s Jenufa opens

Posted 7 Apr 2015

Focusing on a tangled set of relationships in a claustrophobic rural community, the story follows Jenufa, a young woman who is pregnant though as yet unmarried. Her stepmother, worried for the family's reputation and her own status as the leader of the village, hides Jenufa away to bear the child. Months later, the river thaws and a gruesome secret is uncovered. Suspicion falls immediately on Jenufa, but the truth is far more complex.

Director Annilese Miskimmon is aiming to bring an emotional reality to the tragedy at the heart of the story. "Jenufa is Janácek's masterpiece – a heart-rending story about what happens when people do the wrong things for the right reasons. His characters are some of the most psychologically complex in opera, making it an incredibly rewarding piece to direct" she says. The setting for the production, in a small village on the West coast of Ireland during the conscription crisis of 1918, gives a rich historical context which, with the religious culture, presents a charged backdrop for the action in this intense opera.

Jenufa is one of the most powerful of all Czech composer Janácek's operas. Its distinctive musical voice, inspired by traditional folk melodies and vibrant orchestration, sweeps the story along with tension, drama and emotion.

Multi award-winning Scottish soprano Lee Bisset, who is originally from Loch Lomondside, returns home to sing the role of Jenufa. Acclaimed for her Katya at Longborough Festival in 2012, she performs alongside a strong cast including former Royal Opera House principal Peter Wedd, who recently sang the role of Pedro in Scottish Opera's production of Inés de Castro, and celebrated British soprano Kathryn Harries, renowned for the dramatic intensity of her performances. Stuart Stratford, Janácek specialist, conducts.

Lee Bisset said; "The first opera I was taken to as a child was Scottish Opera's production of Janácek's  Cunning Little Vixen, so it seems fitting to make my mainstage debut with the Company with the same composer, who is today one of my favourites. I am thrilled to be back in Scotland, singing for the Company I grew up with."

With only five performances,  book now - click through to our listings and the pin on the map here.


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