The Storm

opera Kát'a Kabanová by Leoš Janáček in three acts

2 hours
1 act
50 min
interval 30 min
2 act
40 min
for viewers over 12 years old
performed in Czech (with Russian surtitles)

Leoš Janáčeks opera, based on the play by Alexander Ostrovsky, was originally named Káťa Kabanová by the composer but has returned to the playbill with its original literary title. Lauded as an undisputed musical masterpiece of the 20th century, it encompasses a wide range of emotions. The expressive music not only evokes notions of love, fear, despair, and dreams of happiness, but also foreshadows the monumental changes to and devastation of a world based on prejudice and self-delusion.

Act I
A small Russian town on the Volga. Boris, a nephew of the rich housekeeper Dikoj, has a troublous life: in order to collect his inheritance, he must tolerate Dikojs tyranny. Boris confesses to Kudrjáš that he is secretly in love with a married woman, Káta Kabanova. Kátas husband, Tichon, is under his mothers thumb: Kabanicha hates her daughter-in-law and oppresses her son.
Kabanicha and members of her household return from vespers. Kabanicha berates her son for his lack of attentiveness. He tries to please her. At a sharp reply from Kabanicha, he and his wife Káta try to tell the old woman they love and respect her. Tichons temper snaps at being told he spoils his wife. Kabanicha orders Tichons to go Kazan for business.
At Kabanovs house, Káta tells Varvara how free and happy she felt as a child, constantly dreaming. Even now, she admits, she has dreamed of having a lover. Varvara figures that Káta is in love with Boris. Varvara sympathizes with Káta: she has also broken her mothers ban and goes out with Kudrjáš.
Káta fights against her love. She wants to stay faithful to her husband and begs him not to go to the town of Kazan, but in vain. At least, she asks him to make her swear to speak to no strangers during his absence.

Act II
Kabanicha criticizes Káta for not making an ordinary display of grief over Tichons absence. After she has left, Varvara shows Káta the key to the far part of the garden: she plans to meet her lover there and hints that Káta might want to do the same, giving the key to her. Káta hesitates but decides that fate has willed it: she is going to meet Boris.
At the secret date, Boris proclaims his love to Káta. Unable to hide her feelings, Káta embraces him.

Two weeks have passed. An approaching storm drives Kudrjáš and his friend, Kuligin, to a shelter, where they are joined by other strollers. When the rain lets up, they all leave the shelter, and Kudrjáš runs into Boris and Varvara. The girl reports that Tichon is back, and Káta seems out of her mind.
Kabanicha approaches with Tichon and Káta. Káta is frightened by the returning storm. With a burst of thunder, she confesses to Tichon that she has dallied with Boris during his absence and runs away.
Káta suffers in her repentance and humiliation, while Boris is about to leave for Siberia. Káta says goodbye to her beloved and throws herself into the Volga. Kuligin sees her jump and calls for help. Tichon rushes back, followed by Kabanicha, whom he blames for Kátas death.

Premiere at the Mikhailovsky Theatre: 16 December 2010
Revival of the production: 20 November 2016

Libretto by the composer after the play by Alexander Ostrovsky The Storm

Musical Director of the production and Conductor: Peter Feranec
Stage Director: Niels-Peter Rudolph
Stage Designer: Volker Hintermeier
Costume Designer: Sue Bühler
Principal Chorus Master and Artistic Director of Chorus: Vladimir Stolpovskikh
Assistant to Musical Director: Valentin Bogdanov
Director of the revival: Margarita Kunitsyna-Tankevich
Assistants to Director of the revival: Elena Piskunova, Vyacheslav Kalyuzhny
Lighting: Alexander Kibitkin
Principal Pianist: Marc Vayner
Pianists: Maria Kopyseva, Maria Mikirtumova
Chorus Masters: Alexey Dmitriev, Sergey Tsyplenkov
Czech Language Consultant: Elena Kolomiytseva
Stage Manager: Olga Kokh

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