Next in The Royal Opera’s stagings of Janácek, Jenůfa explores the lives of two courageous women struggling for fulfilment in a small rural community. Janácek movingly captures Jenůfa’s progression from hope to despair to eventual radiant happiness, while her stepmother, the Kostelnicka, is one of opera’s most complex and sympathetic maternal figures. Award-winning director Claus Guth stages the first production of Jenůfa at Covent Garden since 2001. Former Music Director of Glyndebourne Vladimir Jurowski makes a long-awaited return to The Royal Opera conducting a stunning score infused with the folk music of Janácek’s native Moravia, with rising star Asmik Grigorian as Jenůfa and Karita Mattila as the Kostelnicka.
Jenůfa is keeping secret from everyone that she is pregnant by Števa, who drinks and is a womaniser. Jenůfa’s stepmother, the Kostelnička, had a violent, alcoholic husband and tells Števa he won’t be allowed to marry Jenůfa unless he stays sober for a year. Števa’s overbearing behaviour towards Jenůfa angers Laca, who loves Jenůfa and is jealous. When Jenůfa defends Števa, Laca becomes enraged. They struggle and he slashes her face with a knife.
Months later, the Kostelnička and Jenůfa conspire to keep the birth of Jenůfa’s illegitimate baby secret. Števa knows he has a son, but refuses to marry Jenůfa now her face is disfigured. Laca offers to save Jenůfa’s reputation and marry her, but is reluctant to take on Števa’s child. The Kostelnička tells both Laca and Jenůfa that the baby died while Jenůfa slept. But on Jenůfa’s wedding day the truth is revealed.
There is lift access and step-free seating to most levels of the Main Stage auditorium, except the Orchestra Stalls, which are reached by a minimum of nine steps. There are more than 100 seats in the Stalls Circle, Balcony and Amphitheatre which are accessible without the need to negotiate steps. In addition, many seats in these areas and in the Donald Gordon Grand Tier and Orchestra Stalls are accessible by 10 steps or fewer. Find out more about accessing the Main Stage Auditorium.