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.