Saturday, February 03, 2007

On hearing Jenůfa (again)

I began going to multiple performances of Karita Mattila productions here because I discovered (years ago) that any particular evening might turn out like, well, this one. As good as was Monday's Jenufa season premiere, it now seems but a dress rehearsal for Friday night's overwhelming account.

It was not even Mattila's particular triumph! Yes, she is as good as she's ever been, and the wholehearted, transcendent acceptance in act 3's redemption music may even have been new, but that is her standard. On this night, though, everyone was so inspired, from Silvasti -- again terrific in his character dynamic with Mattila, through to the remarkable final scene -- to Silja, whose act 2 solo and act 3 cry at seeing the baby's cap were blood-curdling, and not least conductor Jiri Belohlavek. On Monday orchestral and stage voices bumped pellmell into each other (as the last post complained), but this time all the Met's forces followed Belohlavek's compulsion -- and each other's -- even as the river of his sound idea ran wilder and more urgently than was even hinted Monday, in now-truly-intoxicating course.

Janacek's genius -- his idea of life, and sound -- was well served. Mattila appeared moved to the edge of tears at her ovation.

UPDATE (11:15AM): Forgot to mention concertmaster Nick Eanet, whose obbligato in Jenufa's act 2 prayer was as expressive as any sound all evening.
UPDATE 2 (2/7): Not only did I forget Eanet, I forgot when his solo actually happens (earlier).

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Absolutely no axe-grinding, please.