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Eschewing Kovarovic’s orchestral revisions, and including Kostelnicka’s Act I aria, Orpha Phelan’s production packs a strong emotional punch. Set just after the Second World War, it highlights the bleak existence of the community and the struggle to survive in an unforgiving physical and moral environment. Kostelnicka is no monster, but a damaged and flawed woman trying her best to rationalise her situation, and Gitta-Maria Sjöberg’s strong presence and exciting tones capture the many facets of her complex personality. Likewise Erika Sunnegårdh’s Jenu °fa is not just buffeted by events, but strengthens her sense of self-worth as the tragedy unfolds; her soprano has purity with a welcome edge, just right for this desperate character. Daniel Frank is an impressive Laca, Joachim Bäckström well-contrasted as Števa, and both are vocally strong, as is Ingrid Tobiasson’s Starenka. Marko Ivanovic’s conducting relishes Janácek’s striking orchestral effects, the chorus is excellent. A powerful production which is very well filmed.

Francis Muzzu Read the full review on Agora Classica

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Opera Now, 2013 - ©Rhinegold Publishing