Love makes a life – and destroys a family.
A tale of honour, love and sacrifice, Jenůfa explores the stigma of pregnancy out of wedlock against the backdrop of a small community.
Loved by two half-brothers, Jenůfa is secretly pregnant by one of them. Abandoned by the child’s father, she gives birth alone, only assisted by her stepmother. Unaware of the child, the second brother pledges to marry Jenůfa, but, as their wedding looms, tragedy strikes.
Concerned for the family’s reputation, her stepmother commits an unspeakable act in the hope that dishonour is averted and Jenůfa does not remain alone. But when a baby’s body is found in the river on the wedding day, the devastating truth is revealed to all.
Directed by David Alden, ENO’s Olivier Award-winning staging updates the setting to an isolated 20th century industrial estate in the Eastern Bloc, giving the story a contemporary edge that makes it feel even more relevant for today’s audiences.
Janáček’s powerfully rich score is conducted by Keri-Lynn Wilson. Soprano Jennifer Davis makes her role debut as Jenůfa, with Susan Bullock as her stepmother Kostelnička and Richard Trey Smagur making his ENO debut as Laca. ENO Harewood Artist, John Findon, sings Steva.