ENO Jenufa: Hear From the Cast

20th June 2016 in Features News

Janáček’s Jenůfa is an opera of overwhelming emotional intensity. Its gripping story of love, sacrifice and redemption explores the stigma of pregnancy out of wedlock against the backdrop of a small, claustrophobic community.

Ahead of opening night on Thursday (23 June), we caught up with the cast in rehearsals to get their perspective on what makes this opera so special.

See ENO’s Jenůfa at London Coliseum from 23 June – 8 July, with 500 tickets available at every performance for £20 or less.

“This is the moment when Jenůfa’s plans of marrying Števa are destroyed by her stepmother. She knows her stepmother’s assessment of Števa is right – even if he could give up drinking, a year is too long and her shame will be revealed.”

Laura Wilde, Jenůfa

man in black leather jacket rehearsing backstage of Jenufa

“Števa has just discovered that he hasn’t been conscripted to the army. He’s elated that he doesn’t have to go away from his mill, which is a veritable playground for his shenanigans. I love Števa’s physicality and his apparent complete lack of responsibility. He’s also very vulnerable in a way, which makes it a very real and fulfilling part to play.”

Nicky Spence, Števa

older woman in purple pulling the top of a distressed woman in a striped top

“As Grandmother Buryja I am scolding Jenůfa for running away from her work. It’s a great story with very real characters – you cannot fail to be moved by its melodies and impact.”

Valerie Reid, Grandmother Buryja

ENO Jenufa Rehearsal Peter Hoare and Laura Wilde (c) Donald Cooper

“Jenůfa’s emotional journey is extreme and the staging is incredibly physical. She has one tragedy after another piled on her, but through it all, she discovers her own strength and the redemptive power of love.”

Laura Wilde, Jenůfa

Jenůfa is full of the most fantastic descriptive music that Janáček ever composed – I defy you to sit at the end and not be moved emotionally by the sheer power in one of the most complicated, but exhilarating, scores ever composed.”

Graeme Danby, Mill Foreman

Jenůfa is a lot of people’s favourite opera. I think that this is because its story resonates and the music is so directly honest, that it can be almost unbearably real to watch. It puts up a mirror to our beliefs and what can happen when our moral compass is challenged.”

Nicky Spence, Števa