Stark Jenůfa from Madrid

Stéphane Braunschweig’s production of Janáček’s Jenůfa, recorded at Madrid’s Teatro Real, is austere and effective.  The sets are almost empty.  Mill sails appear from a slot in the floor to suggest the family mill, there’s a cot for the baby in Act 2 and some church benches in Act 3.  That’s it.  The rest of the “setting” is carried by a very effective lighting plot.  I don’t think there are any big ideas here but it’s an effective, straightforward way of telling the story.  Braunschweig also makes effective use of the chorus, especially in Act 1.

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