Katya Kabanowa

Synopsis

Place: The Russian town of Kalinov on the shores of the Volga River

Time: The 1860s

 

Act 1

Vána Kudrjás admires the view of the Volga River, which amuses the more literal-minded housekeeper of the adjoining Kabanov estate. Two men approach, Dikoj and his nephew, Boris Grigorjevic, where Dikoj is berating Boris. Dikoj learns that Kabanicha, the Kabanov family matriarch, is not at home. Dikoj leaves, and Boris explains to Vána Kudrjás why he tolerates the abuse: his parents are dead, and to be able collect his inheritance, he must respect his uncle no matter what his uncle says to him. Boris also tells Vána Kudrjás that he is secretly in love with Káťa, the young wife of Tichon. Káťa appears and Kabanicha reproaches her son Tichon – Kata's husband – for his inattentiveness. Tichon and Káťa try to calm her down, but Kabanicha will have none of it, telling Tichon that he spoils Káťa. Tichon complains to Varvara, the family's foster daughter, who rebukes him for retreating into drinking more than defending Káťa.

In the house, Káťa tells Varvara of her happy childhood, and dreams of having a man who truly loves her. Tichon enters to say good-bye, as he is journeying to Kazan on business, for Kabanicha. Káťa asks to accompany him or for him not to go, but he insists. Káťa then asks him to make her swear an oath to speak to no strangers during his absence, which puzzles Tichon. Kabanicha announces that Tichon must go, but not before instructing Káťa how to behave in his absence. Tichon dutifully says that Káťa must treat Kabanicha like her own mother and always act properly. He bows to Kabanicha and kisses her and Kát'a before he departs.

 

Act 2

The women are working on embroidery. Kabanicha criticizes Káťa for not appearing more sorrowful at Tichon's absence. After Kabanicha leaves, Varvara shows Káťa the key to the far part of the garden. Varvara intends to meet Vána, her lover, there. She hints at the same suggestion for Káťa, and puts the key in her hand. Káťa is hesitant, but then surrenders to fate and will meet Boris. She steps outside as evening comes on. Kabanicha reappears with Dikoj, who is drunk and complaining that people take advantage of his softhearted nature. However, Kabanicha chastises him.

Vána Kudrjás is waiting for Varvara in the garden. Boris then unexpectedly appears, after receiving a message to go there. Varvara arrives, and she and Vána go for a walk by the river. Káťa then appears, and Boris declares his love for her. She is at first worried about social ruin, but finally she reciprocates, confessing her secret feelings for him. They embrace and themselves leave for a walk. Vána and Varvara return, as she explains her precautions in case Kabanicha suddenly appears. Káťa and Boris are heard in wordless, ecstatic duet as Vána and Varvara say that it is time to return home.

 

Act 3

Ten days later

Vána Kudrjás and Kuligin are strolling near the river when an approaching storm causes them to take shelter in a ruined building. Other people join them, including Dikoj. Vána tries to calm Dikoj with scientific explanations about a new invention, the lightning rod. However, this only angers Dikoj, who insists that lightning is not caused by electricity but is the punishment from God. The rain dies down, and people start to leave the shelter. Vána meets Boris and Varvara. Varvara says that Tichon has returned, and Káťa is very agitated. Kabanicha arrives with Tichon and Káťa. The storm returns, and people assume initially that this is what upsets Káťa. However, she confesses to Tichon in front of everyone her assignation with Boris during her husband's absence. Then she runs out into the storm.

Evening approaches after the storm has ended. Tichon and a search party are looking for Káťa. At first among the party, Varvara and Vána then decide to leave the village for Moscow and start a new life. They leave, and as the searchers continue, Káťa appears. She knows that her confession has dishonoured her and humiliated Boris. She feels tormented and wants to meet Boris one more time. Boris appears and sees her, and the two embrace. Boris says that his uncle is sending him away to another town, but asks her what will become of her. As her sanity deteriorates, she first begs him to be allowed to accompany him, then insists that she could not and bids him farewell; he leaves in sorrow. After thinking of how nature will continue to flourish over her grave, Káťa throws herself into the river. Kuligin sees this from the far bank and calls for help. Tichon appears, followed by Kabanicha. Tichon tries to help Káťa but is restrained by Kabanicha; he blames her for Káťa's suicide. Dikoj appears with Káťa's body and lays her on the ground. Tichon cries over the body as, without any emotion, Kabanicha thanks the bystanders—or, as often done, the audience—for their help.

Program and cast

Music: Leoš Janáček


Opera in Three Acts
Libretto by Leoš Janácek in the Czech translation by Vincenc Červinka based on The Storm  by Aleksandr Ostrovsky


First performed, Brno National Theatre, November 23, 1921
Length: about 2 hours 15 minutes, including one interval
Conductor David Robertson
Director Richard Jones


CHORUS MASTER:  Roberto Gabbiani
SET AND COSTUME DESIGNER: Antony McDonald
LIGHTING DESIGNER: Lucy Carter
MOVEMENT DIRECTOR: Sarah Fahie


CAST

 

SAVËL PROKOFJEVIČ DIKOJ: Stephen Richardson

BORIS GRIGORIJEVIČ: Charles Workman

MARFA IGNATĚVNA KABANOVÁ: Susan Bickley

TICHON IVANYČ KABANOV: Andrew Staples

KATĚRINA (KÁT’A): Amanda Majeski

VÁŇA KUDRJAŠ: Cristopher Lemmings

VARVARA: Emily Edmonds

KULIGIN: Lukáš Zeman


Teatro dell’Opera di Roma Orchestra and Chorus


New production
in coproduction with Royal Opera House Covent Garden


Sung in Czech with Italian and English surtitles

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Teatro dell'Opera di Roma - Teatro Costanzi

A new way to discover the finest details in different opera houses, theatres one can explore from home in advance through the revolutionary GOOGLE PERFORMING ARTS PROJECT. CLICK ON THE LINK TO SEE THE THEATER.

 

 

The Teatro dell'Opera, from its building (1879), at Domenico Costanzi’s request (1810-1898), and 1926, when it was bought by the then Governor of RomE, bore the name of Domenico Costanzi, building contractor and impresario, who committed the building to the Milanese architect Achille Sfondrini (1836-1900), specialized in theatre building and renovation. Built in 18 months on the area prevIously occupied by Heliogabalus’ villa, it was inaugurated on November 27th, 1880 with Semiramide by G. Rossini, conducted by the Maestro Giovanni Rossi, in the presence of the King and Queen of Italy.


Sfrondini’s design privileges the acoustic effect, by conceiving the interior structure as a "resonance chamber": as is particularly evident from the horseshoe shape. At the beginning, the theatre, with a seating capacity of 2,212 spectators, had three tiers of boxes, an amphitheatre, a gallery. All was surmounted by a dome with splendid frescoes by Annibale Brugnoli.


Costanzi invested all his personal assets in the venture. However, due to the despotic refusal of the City Council to redeem the theatre, Costanzi was obliged to manage it himself. Despite the fact that he had to deal with huge financial problems, under his management the opera house held many world premières of such operas as Cavalleria Rusticana (on May 17th, 1890) and L'Amico Fritz(October 31st 1891), both by Pietro Mascagni, who then became very well known.


For a brief period, the theatre was managed by the founder's son, Enrico Costanzi, who contributed to other great premières: Tosca by Giacomo Puccini (January 14th, 1900) and Le Maschere (January 17th, 1901). In 1907, the Teatro Costanzi was managed by the impresario Walter Mocchi (1870-1955) on behalf of the Società Teatrale Internazionale e Nazionale (STIN).


In 1912 Emma Carelli (1877-1928), Mocchi's wife, became the managing director of the new «Impresa Costanzi», named as such following various changes in the company structure. With Rome City Council’s purchase of Costanzi company, the theatre became “Teatro Reale dell'Opera” and a partial rebuilding was commissioned to the architect Marcello Piacentini. Closed on November 15th, 1926, it was re-opened on February 27th, 1928 with the opera Nerone by Arrigo Boito, conducted by the Maestro Gino Marinuzzi.


With the advent of the Republic, the theatre gained the current name of Teatro dell'Opera. In 1958, the building was further remodeled and modernised at the request of the Rome City Council. In over a century, the Teatro dell’Opera has seen its prestige increase internationally. During the several seasons, the most acclaimed voices worldwide followed one another: Enrico Caruso; Beniamino Gigli; Aureliano Pertile; Giacomo Lauri-Volpi; Claudia Muzio; Maria Caniglia; Maria Callas; Renata Tebaldi; Montserrat Caballé; Marilyn Horne; Raina Kabaivanska; Mario Del Monaco; Franco Corelli; Giuseppe Di Stefano; Tito Gobbi; Alfredo Kraus; Ruggero Raimondi; José Carreras; Placido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti. Among the finest conductors, we can mention Otto Klemperer, Arturo Toscanini, Victor De Sabata, Marinuzzi,Vittorio Gui, Tullio Serafin, Von Karajan, Gianandrea Gavazzeni, Carlo Maria Giulini, Georg Solti, Claudio Abbado, Georges Prêtre, Zubin Mehta, Lorin Maazel, Mstislav Rostropovich, Giuseppe Patanè, Giuseppe Sinopoli, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Nino Sanzogno, Gianluigi Gelmetti and since 2008 the Maestro Riccardo Muti.

 

How to reach Teatro dell'Opera

Piazza Beniamino Gigli, 7


METRO
Linea A -  REPUBBLICA TEATRO DELL'OPERA stop

BUS
Via Nazionale - H, 40, 60, 64, 70, 71, 170, 116T
Via Depretis - 70, 71
Via Cavour - 16, 75, 84, 150 (festivo), 360, 590, 649, 714
Stazione Termini - 16, 38, 75, 86, 90, 217, 310, 360, 649, 714

TAXI
phone number  - 06.3570

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