Sunday 30 December 2007

DVD: Glyndebourne Lehnhoff Jenufa

Jenufa. Glyndebourne 1989. Production: Nikolaus Lehnhoff. Cast: Roberta Alexander (Jenufa), Anja Silja (Kostelnicka), Philip Langridge (Laca), Mark Baker (Steva). Conductor: Andrew Davis with the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Further information here.

Nikolaus Lehnhoff has created a psycho-analytically orientated Jenufa for Glyndebourne in 1989: Closed spaces, primary colours. Clarity and aesthetism by simplicity are primary concerns here, as always with Lehnhoff, an old pupil of Wieland Wagner. Set in the claustrophobig environment of the closed society of a 19th century village, the sets provide the ideal background for Janaceks glorious music.

The incomparable Anja Silja is the strongest Kostelnicka one may imagine, dominating the stage whenever she appears. Next to her, Roberta Alexander can hardly avoid to seem a bit anonymous, though her Jenufa is fine sung and genuinely moving.

Superb performance from Andrew Davis with the London Philharmonic Orchestra in a sumptuous, dark reading.

The only alternative on DVD is the Tambosi production from Barcelona 2005. It may be a matter of taste, which production to prefer, as both have strong points.

Roberta Alexander and Anja Silja in Act 1:
The bottom line (scale of 1-5, 3=average):

Roberta Alexander: 4
Anja Silja: 5
Philip Langridge: 4

Lehnhoffs staging: 4

Andrew Davis: 5

Overall impression: 4

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