[Met Performance] CID:310930
Jenufa {25} Metropolitan Opera House: 12/23/1992.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
December 23, 1992


JENUFA {25}

Jenufa..................Gabriela Benacková
Laca....................Ben Heppner
Kostelnicka.............Leonie Rysanek
Steva...................Jacque Trussel
Grandmother.............Judith Christin
Jano....................Joyce Guyer
Foreman.................Jeffrey Wells
Barena..................Heidi Skok
Maid....................Sondra Kelly
Mayor...................James Courtney
Mayor's Wife............Joyce Castle
Karolka.................Korliss Uecker
Aunt....................Loretta Di Franco

Conductor...............James Conlon

Review of Martin Mayer in Opera (UK)

They dropped the curtain on the final act of "Jenufa" at the Metropolitan Opera on December 23, and a minute later Leonie Rysanek, radiant as always when she knows she has done well, stepped into the lights for a solo call - and the house did raise a universal shout that made great Hudson, if I may, tremble neath her banks to hear the replication of their sound. I've never heard anything quite like it at the Met. This is Rysanek's 35th season here - she made her debut "vice" Callas in Verdi's "Macbeth," following a perfectly dreadful dress rehearsal with a spectacular triumph - and she still sings with the same plangent intensity. Not to mention falling acrobatically to the floor in terror at the sight of Death blowing in through the window. Yes, there were maybe three moments of strain - but that was all. When she reappeared in a duo curtain call with Gabriela Benacková, her colleague stepped aside, faced towards her instead of the audience, and added her own applause.

Not that Benacková needed to take a back seat to anyone: she owns this role, so gratefully written for her pure voice, temperamentally so suited to her grave beauty. Add a superb Laca from Ben Heppner (fresh from his triumphant "McTeague" in Chicago), James Conlon's eloquence in the pit, the clarity of the Met orchestral choirs, and Lesley Koenig's clear direction that kept the relations of these characters front and centre - well, it was quite an evening at the Met. Jacque Trussel's Steva was not quite in this league, but its problem was vacuity, which is in part Janácek's fault. The supporting cast -especially Judith Christin as Grandmother Buryja, Joyce Guyer as Jano, and Joyce Castle as the Mayor's Wife - were entirely worthy of the principals.



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