Katya Kabanova COC banner

Katya Kabanova

Leoš Janáček’s
To

Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts

Performance Length: 1 hour, 45 minutes with no intermission


#KatyaCOC


What makes Katya Kabanova so special?

A loveless marriage. A tyrannical mother-in-law. A repressive small town. Katya Kabanova longs to escape her narrow domestic life — but when her desire for something more leads her to the brink of an affair, Katya must face the cruel judgment of her claustrophobic community.

This gripping drama has not been seen at the COC for nearly 30 years — making this a unique opportunity to experience this vital, modern opera.

Czech composer Leoš Janáček’s remarkable score is notable for its thoughtful portrayal of Katya, representing her joy and vulnerability with ravishing lyricism and tender beauty.


“Every element worked to tell the story with gritty clarity.”

–The Classical Review


Credits
Sung in Czech with English SURTITLESTM



CAST AND CREATIVE TEAM

Conductor: Johannes Debus
Director: David Alden
Set Designer: Charles Edwards
Costume Designer: Jon Morrell
Lighting Designer: Adam Silverman
Choreographer: Maxine Braham
Price Family Chorus Master: Sandra Horst

Katya: Amanda Majeski
Boris: Michael König
Kabanikha: Susan Bullock
Tikhon: Richard Trey Smagur    
Varvara: Cecelia Hall
Dikoy: Alain Coulombe
Vanya: Matthew Cairns  

With the COC Orchestra and Chorus

Production from English National Opera




The Story

Plot in a Minute

Katya Kabanova and Tichon are trapped in a loveless marriage and a home ruled by Tichon’s domineering mother. Both secretly long to be with someone who truly loves them. While Tichon is away on business, Katya is encouraged to act on her feelings towards the merchant’s son, Boris. When Tichon returns, Katya must reconcile her feigned loyalty to her husband and her recent affair, and, in the process, slowly loses her mind.


Synopsis

The Kabanovs live on the banks of the Volga River in the small Russian town of Kalinov. The household is ruled by Kabanikha, widow of a rich merchant, and includes her son Tikhon, his wife Katya (or Katerina) and a young foster daughter Varvara.


ACT I

Outside the Kabanov’s house. Summer.

Kudryas, a clerk to the merchant Dikoy, extols the beauties of the Volga River to Glasha, the Kabanov’s housemaid. They are interrupted by the arrival of Dikoy who is quarrelling with his nephew Boris. Dikoy leaves in an angry rage, and Boris explains to Kudryas that he tolerates his uncle’s abuse so he can claim an inheritance left by his grandmother. He also confesses he is in love with a married woman, Katya Kabanová. 

Katya returns from church with her husband, her mother-in-law, and their housekeeper, Feklusha. Kabanikha orders her son to go to the annual fair at Kazan. Although he agrees to obey her, Kabanikha accuses him of neglecting her in favour of his wife. Tikhon protests and Katya professes that they both love Kabanikha. The older woman turns on Katya and insults her, who leaves while Kabanikha continues berating: Tikhon never stands up to Katya and wouldn’t even protest if she took a lover! Kabanikha angrily enters the house and Varvara turns on Tikhon for not standing up to his mother and defending Katya.


A room in the Kabanov’s house.

Katya and Varvara are sewing. Katya, recalling her life before her marriage, loses herself in powerful nostalgic memories. This leads to her tormented confession that she has fallen in love with another man. Varvara encourages Katya to try to meet him. Tikhon enters to bid his wife farewell before setting out for Kazan. Katya begs him not to go, or to take her along. When he refuses, she begs him to make her swear an oath of fidelity during his absence. This he also refuses to do. Kabanikha enters and demands her son instruct Katya on how to behave while he is away. Tikhon obeys, humiliating Katya, and departs.

ACT II

In the Kabanov’s house

Kabanikha scolds Katya for not being more affected by her husband’s departure. Left alone with Katya, Varvara tells her that she has stolen the key to the gate at the far end of the garden. She gives it to Katya so that she can meet Boris in secret. Katya vows at first to throw the key away, but then decides that fate has decreed her liaison with Boris, whatever the consequences. As she leaves, Dikoy arrives, drunk and maudlin, complaining people take advantage of his sensitive nature, which Kabanihka chastises.


The garden below the house

It is a hot summer night, and Kudryas is singing a folk song while waiting for Varvara. To his surprise Boris arrives, saying that he has received a message to be in the Kabanov’s garden that evening. Varvara comes to meet Vanya and whispers to Boris to wait: he will not be disappointed.

Boris can hardly believe his luck when Katya arrives. He proclaims his love, which she rejects at first, worrying of the dishonor it will bring upon her family. Finally, however, she admits she loves him. Varvara returns and urges the lovers into the woods, telling them that she and Kudryas will keep watch for them. Kudryas questions Varvara for arranging this affair, but she tells him that she has taken care that Kabanikha will not find out. Katya and Boris return and bid each other farewell for the night.


INTERMISSION


ACT III

A ruined church near the Volga, 10 days later

Kudryas and his friend Kuligin have taken refuge from a thunderstorm. During their conversation, Dikoy arrives, also seeking shelter. The rain soon stops, and Varvara comes searching for Boris. She tells him that Tikhon has returned, and that Katya is so distraught over her betrayal of him that she might confess all at any moment. Katya enters with Tikhon and his mother, and Boris hides. The storm begins again. At its height, despite the efforts of Varvara to stop her, Katya confesses to Kabanikha and Tikhon not only her adultery, but the name of her lover as well. Tichon does not want to believe her and tries to comfort Katya, while his mother gloats in triumph. Katya pushes Tichon away and rushes out into the storm.


The banks of the Volga

Tichon and Glasha have been searching for Katya. Tichon is torn between his willingness to forgive his wife and his mother’s demand that she be punished. Varvara and Kudryas meet and resolve to run away from Kabanikha’s tyranny to a new life in Moscow. Katya enters, hoping to see Boris once again and apologize. She calls his name, and as if in answer to a prayer, Boris suddenly appears.

He tells Katya he is being sent away in disgrace by his uncle. Both realize this is their last meeting. Boris leaves, and Katya now realizes there is no longer a place for her in the world she knows. She throws herself in the river. Voices are heard from two men who have seen Katya jump, and soon Tikhon, Kabanikha and Dikoy arrive. Katya’s lifeless body is brought in. The last words are Kabanikha’s as she says to all, “thank you, friends and neighbours for your kindness.”

PHOTOS



Scenes from Katya Kabanova (Liceu Barcelona, 2018), photos: Antoni Bofill

Listen



Janáček’s Katya Kabanova. Sir Charles Mackerras, conductor,  with the Wiener Philharmoniker and the Wiener Staatsopernchor, 1978. London

The Creators

LEOŠ JANÁČEK (1854-1928)

Composer and Librettist

Born in Hukvaldy, Moravia (then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire), Czech composer Leoš Janáček showed exceptional talent as a young boy and at age 11 became a chorister at the prestigious Augustinian Monastery in Brno. Following his formal music education, he studied the folk music traditions of his homeland (which until that point was a greatly neglected area of study). This greatly influenced his compositional style.

Stylistically, Janáček was a forward-looking composer, although he never abandoned the traditions from which his musical style evolved. The subjects of his operas were often influenced by the modern age, with works such as The Makropoulos Case (1926) and The Excursions of Mr. Brouček (1917) inspired by the new literary genre of science-fiction. Similarly, his opera The Cunning Little Vixen (1924), about the life of a fox, was also an operatic innovation for the time.

As a composer of tragedy, Janáček excelled with two works: Jenůfa (1904) and Katya Kabanova, or Kát’a Kabanová in its original language (1921). Both operas deal with the rigid social structures of village life and the disastrous consequences that occur when the traditional rules are broken. His other well-known works include the Glagolitic Mass, the Sinfonietta, and several string quartets

Today, Janáček is acclaimed as one of the greatest Czech composers, and his works are performed around the world.

PERFORMANCE DATES

Katya Kabanova (February 6 – 20, 2021)

Saturday, February 6, 2021 | 4:30 p.m.
Wednesday, February 10, 2021 | 7:30 p.m.
Friday, February 12, 2021 | 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, February 14, 2021 | 2 p.m.
Tuesday, February 16, 2021 | 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, February 18, 2021 | 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, February 20, 2021 | 7:30 p.m.

  • Sung in Czech with English SURTITLESTM



    CAST AND CREATIVE TEAM

    Conductor: Johannes Debus
    Director: David Alden
    Set Designer: Charles Edwards
    Costume Designer: Jon Morrell
    Lighting Designer: Adam Silverman
    Choreographer: Maxine Braham
    Price Family Chorus Master: Sandra Horst

    Katya: Amanda Majeski
    Boris: Michael König
    Kabanikha: Susan Bullock
    Tikhon: Richard Trey Smagur    
    Varvara: Cecelia Hall
    Dikoy: Alain Coulombe
    Vanya: Matthew Cairns  

    With the COC Orchestra and Chorus

    Production from English National Opera



  • Plot in a Minute

    Katya Kabanova and Tichon are trapped in a loveless marriage and a home ruled by Tichon’s domineering mother. Both secretly long to be with someone who truly loves them. While Tichon is away on business, Katya is encouraged to act on her feelings towards the merchant’s son, Boris. When Tichon returns, Katya must reconcile her feigned loyalty to her husband and her recent affair, and, in the process, slowly loses her mind.


    Synopsis

    The Kabanovs live on the banks of the Volga River in the small Russian town of Kalinov. The household is ruled by Kabanikha, widow of a rich merchant, and includes her son Tikhon, his wife Katya (or Katerina) and a young foster daughter Varvara.


    ACT I

    Outside the Kabanov’s house. Summer.

    Kudryas, a clerk to the merchant Dikoy, extols the beauties of the Volga River to Glasha, the Kabanov’s housemaid. They are interrupted by the arrival of Dikoy who is quarrelling with his nephew Boris. Dikoy leaves in an angry rage, and Boris explains to Kudryas that he tolerates his uncle’s abuse so he can claim an inheritance left by his grandmother. He also confesses he is in love with a married woman, Katya Kabanová. 

    Katya returns from church with her husband, her mother-in-law, and their housekeeper, Feklusha. Kabanikha orders her son to go to the annual fair at Kazan. Although he agrees to obey her, Kabanikha accuses him of neglecting her in favour of his wife. Tikhon protests and Katya professes that they both love Kabanikha. The older woman turns on Katya and insults her, who leaves while Kabanikha continues berating: Tikhon never stands up to Katya and wouldn’t even protest if she took a lover! Kabanikha angrily enters the house and Varvara turns on Tikhon for not standing up to his mother and defending Katya.


    A room in the Kabanov’s house.

    Katya and Varvara are sewing. Katya, recalling her life before her marriage, loses herself in powerful nostalgic memories. This leads to her tormented confession that she has fallen in love with another man. Varvara encourages Katya to try to meet him. Tikhon enters to bid his wife farewell before setting out for Kazan. Katya begs him not to go, or to take her along. When he refuses, she begs him to make her swear an oath of fidelity during his absence. This he also refuses to do. Kabanikha enters and demands her son instruct Katya on how to behave while he is away. Tikhon obeys, humiliating Katya, and departs.

    ACT II

    In the Kabanov’s house

    Kabanikha scolds Katya for not being more affected by her husband’s departure. Left alone with Katya, Varvara tells her that she has stolen the key to the gate at the far end of the garden. She gives it to Katya so that she can meet Boris in secret. Katya vows at first to throw the key away, but then decides that fate has decreed her liaison with Boris, whatever the consequences. As she leaves, Dikoy arrives, drunk and maudlin, complaining people take advantage of his sensitive nature, which Kabanihka chastises.


    The garden below the house

    It is a hot summer night, and Kudryas is singing a folk song while waiting for Varvara. To his surprise Boris arrives, saying that he has received a message to be in the Kabanov’s garden that evening. Varvara comes to meet Vanya and whispers to Boris to wait: he will not be disappointed.

    Boris can hardly believe his luck when Katya arrives. He proclaims his love, which she rejects at first, worrying of the dishonor it will bring upon her family. Finally, however, she admits she loves him. Varvara returns and urges the lovers into the woods, telling them that she and Kudryas will keep watch for them. Kudryas questions Varvara for arranging this affair, but she tells him that she has taken care that Kabanikha will not find out. Katya and Boris return and bid each other farewell for the night.


    INTERMISSION


    ACT III

    A ruined church near the Volga, 10 days later

    Kudryas and his friend Kuligin have taken refuge from a thunderstorm. During their conversation, Dikoy arrives, also seeking shelter. The rain soon stops, and Varvara comes searching for Boris. She tells him that Tikhon has returned, and that Katya is so distraught over her betrayal of him that she might confess all at any moment. Katya enters with Tikhon and his mother, and Boris hides. The storm begins again. At its height, despite the efforts of Varvara to stop her, Katya confesses to Kabanikha and Tikhon not only her adultery, but the name of her lover as well. Tichon does not want to believe her and tries to comfort Katya, while his mother gloats in triumph. Katya pushes Tichon away and rushes out into the storm.


    The banks of the Volga

    Tichon and Glasha have been searching for Katya. Tichon is torn between his willingness to forgive his wife and his mother’s demand that she be punished. Varvara and Kudryas meet and resolve to run away from Kabanikha’s tyranny to a new life in Moscow. Katya enters, hoping to see Boris once again and apologize. She calls his name, and as if in answer to a prayer, Boris suddenly appears.

    He tells Katya he is being sent away in disgrace by his uncle. Both realize this is their last meeting. Boris leaves, and Katya now realizes there is no longer a place for her in the world she knows. She throws herself in the river. Voices are heard from two men who have seen Katya jump, and soon Tikhon, Kabanikha and Dikoy arrive. Katya’s lifeless body is brought in. The last words are Kabanikha’s as she says to all, “thank you, friends and neighbours for your kindness.”




  • Scenes from Katya Kabanova (Liceu Barcelona, 2018), photos: Antoni Bofill




  • Janáček’s Katya Kabanova. Sir Charles Mackerras, conductor,  with the Wiener Philharmoniker and the Wiener Staatsopernchor, 1978. London

  • LEOŠ JANÁČEK (1854-1928)

    Composer and Librettist

    Born in Hukvaldy, Moravia (then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire), Czech composer Leoš Janáček showed exceptional talent as a young boy and at age 11 became a chorister at the prestigious Augustinian Monastery in Brno. Following his formal music education, he studied the folk music traditions of his homeland (which until that point was a greatly neglected area of study). This greatly influenced his compositional style.

    Stylistically, Janáček was a forward-looking composer, although he never abandoned the traditions from which his musical style evolved. The subjects of his operas were often influenced by the modern age, with works such as The Makropoulos Case (1926) and The Excursions of Mr. Brouček (1917) inspired by the new literary genre of science-fiction. Similarly, his opera The Cunning Little Vixen (1924), about the life of a fox, was also an operatic innovation for the time.

    As a composer of tragedy, Janáček excelled with two works: Jenůfa (1904) and Katya Kabanova, or Kát’a Kabanová in its original language (1921). Both operas deal with the rigid social structures of village life and the disastrous consequences that occur when the traditional rules are broken. His other well-known works include the Glagolitic Mass, the Sinfonietta, and several string quartets

    Today, Janáček is acclaimed as one of the greatest Czech composers, and his works are performed around the world.

  • Katya Kabanova (February 6 – 20, 2021)

    Saturday, February 6, 2021 | 4:30 p.m.
    Wednesday, February 10, 2021 | 7:30 p.m.
    Friday, February 12, 2021 | 7:30 p.m.
    Sunday, February 14, 2021 | 2 p.m.
    Tuesday, February 16, 2021 | 7:30 p.m.
    Thursday, February 18, 2021 | 7:30 p.m.
    Saturday, February 20, 2021 | 7:30 p.m.


2020/2021 season creative: BT/A

Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts capacity: 2,070
Ticket prices do not include service fees, $9 CAD.

Katya Kabanova

Leoš Janáček’s
To

Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts

Performance Length: 1 hour, 45 minutes with no intermission


#KatyaCOC


What makes Katya Kabanova so special?

A loveless marriage. A tyrannical mother-in-law. A repressive small town. Katya Kabanova longs to escape her narrow domestic life — but when her desire for something more leads her to the brink of an affair, Katya must face the cruel judgment of her claustrophobic community.

This gripping drama has not been seen at the COC for nearly 30 years — making this a unique opportunity to experience this vital, modern opera.

Czech composer Leoš Janáček’s remarkable score is notable for its thoughtful portrayal of Katya, representing her joy and vulnerability with ravishing lyricism and tender beauty.


“Every element worked to tell the story with gritty clarity.”

–The Classical Review

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