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  • Janacek: Jenufa -- Glyndebourne [1989] [DVD] [2001]
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Janacek: Jenufa -- Glyndebourne [1989] [DVD] [2001]

8 customer reviews

Price: £24.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Actors: Glyndebourne Chorus, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Roberta Alexander, Anja Silja, Philip Langridge
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, German, French, Spanish
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: ARTHAUS
  • DVD Release Date: 22 Jun. 2001
  • Run Time: 118 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005N8E3
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 92,882 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

A Glynebourne production of Leos Janacek's opera. Designed by Tobias Hoheise. Lead parts sung by Roberta Alexander and Anja Silja.

From Amazon.co.uk

Janacek's masterpiece Jenufa, captured in this 1989 Glyndebourne Festival Opera production, is among the most revived modernist works. Compared with much grand opera, the story of one woman's struggle to rise free from social constraints at a terrible cost is remarkably poignant, credible and accessible. Scenes are short and intense. The music shimmers with Janacek's characteristic blend of sweetness and sharp dissonance. His men are damaged and angry; his women kick against the expectations of convention. Tragedy is inevitable, but here, unusually, hope triumphs. In the title role, Roberta Alexander is utterly convincing as the stepdaughter of the Kostelnicka Buryja, placing her love and trust in the wrong man with dire consequences. As the Kostelnicka, Anja Silja turns in an equally towering performance, unravelling with the awful consequences of her pragmatism. Alexander's fluid soprano reveals the extraordinary beauty of some of Janacek's finest arias: the moment when she becomes supernaturally aware of her baby's fate--it's "as if death was peering into the house!"--and is actually singing prayers for its soul is quite overwhelming. This Jenufa is sung splendidly; a revelation of the essential humanity which lurks at the heart of the greatest operas.

On the DVD: This production was filmed for Channel 4 and has all the hallmarks of a 1980s television broadcast: standard 4:3 picture format which limits the impact of Tobias Hoheisel's magnificent expressionistic set; PCM stereo which somewhat dulls Andrew Davis' sterling, powerful work at the helm of the London Philharmonic Orchestra (although the principal singers shine through); poor subtitles; and static freeze-frame links between scenes. As a record of an important production, though, it suffices. --Piers Ford

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By hillbank68 TOP 500 REVIEWER on 29 Sept. 2010
Format: DVD
I remember years ago reading a review of 'Jenufa' which said it carried 'a matchless emotional charge'. That's true. There is something about the music that constantly demands involvement - indeed, tears, of sadness, empathy or joy. It's a grim story which somehow resolves itself into hope at the end, but at great cost. I can pay this production no greater compliment than to say that it does this astonishing opera full justice. The casting is spot on. Roberta Alexander sings magnificently and carries herself onstage as if she actually were the desperate, anguished heroine, aware of every moment of hope and despair. Philip Langridge, in the difficult role of Laca, who must be brutal and apparently callous in his (he believes) doomed love for Jenufa and bitter at his treatment by those around him, sings equally well and just about engages our sympathy as he broods and snarls. Anja Silja was a famous Kostelnicka and her singing is astonishingly powerful and commanding - born for the part, I'd say. When she makes her first entrance and scolds the young ones for thoughtless behaviour, she commands the stage absolutely. The set is spare and realistic, the costuming good and the direction excellent, and I really take my hat off to those singers, all of them, for acting with such involvement - to Mark Baker as Steva, for example, stumbling and falling drunkenly in Act One, his bottle spewing liquid all over the place, in a completely convincing depiction of the irresponsible drunken young man that he is (and he has to sing too!). The LPO under Andrew Davis play heroically (it's not an easy score) and Janacek's wonderful music hits the viewer as it should. Every moment of this DVD is compelling and, loving this opera as I do, I am delighted with it - five stars without question, and I wish I could give it more.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By DAVID BRYSON TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 15 Nov. 2003
Format: DVD
If you have never been to Glyndebourne but would like to get the feel of the place from a recorded performance, I promise that you will get none of it from this one. It is very good indeed but it might be from anywhere. Apart from Strauss and Puccini, there is probably no serious 20th-century opera that is easier to come to terms with than Jenufa. The story is harrowing, but all in a very operatic way as that term might be applied to Verdi. The narrative line is simple and direct and does not strain our credulity, at least not by operatic standards, the characters are few and strongly identifiable, and the pace of the action is very well calculated. Clarity has obviously been a major objective in this production, and the simplicity of the sets seems designed to focus attention on the action and the music. The musical style is highly rational in the best sense – free from hyperbole, the vocal parts reasonably pitched, lyrical up to a point and not afraid of word-repetition but avoiding formal arias and ‘numbers’ except for the choruses towards the end and even cleverly steering clear of cadences in the interests of continuity, the orchestral parts interesting in their own right but always subordinate to the voices.
There is everything to be said for DVD as the medium for bringing opera into the home. In sound alone the very greatest performances inevitably lose something – they were simply not written just to be heard. That said, this is not just ordinary drama, but music-drama, and within reason I for one am quite happy to suspend disbelief up to a point if the music is well enough done. For me Roberta Alexander as Jenufa does not look the part in the least, and I do not care in the least given her fine acting and superlative singing.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 21 Sept. 2001
Format: DVD
Just before the Glyndebourne Opera House was re-built, the television rights for a couple of years, were owned by the old ITV franchise-holder TVS. This version of Jenufa comes from the end of that era after thier production teams had come to know the old opera house well. The sound is beautifully mixed and digitally recorded, and this transfer lovingly recaptures this famous love story in the realistic if rather dry acoustic. The noisy picture quality shows it's age in places but the performances are sensational, though the set very stylised. A must for Jenufa fans everywhere.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By 221b on 8 Feb. 2007
Format: DVD
The intimacy of the old Glyndebourne stage works perfectly for this production by Lenhoff, bringing a chamber-like intensity to this powerful drama. Initial concerns about Roberta Alexander's suitability for the title role soon melt away as you get caught up in her heart-rending performance; she brings a reality to the role which is often overlooked in performance - this is a real woman with desires and hopes, not some operatic 'grande dame'. All the more devastating is her Act II portrayal at the loss of her baby son - and yet her forgiveness and love make you cry again at the end of Act III, with some of Janacek's most burnished orchestration; how can an opera as dark and as tragic as this have such a hopeful and uplifting ending? Most of the cast are excellent in their roles, particularly Anja Silja who creates great humanity and warmth in a role that is often overdone as an operatic harridan. The burden of her guilt and conscience truly weighs heavy on her shoulders as the opera progresses. The LPO offer stirring support whipped along at a cracking pace by Andrew Davis, and although the recording isn't as crystal clear as one may like (it was recorded for TV in the late 1980's) it is a wonderful document which has fortunately been preserved for those who were not lucky enough to see the performances live.
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