The excellent first review says it nearly all. A few footnotes: Don't be scared off by the fact that it's Boulez conducting. Yes, his style here as well as elsewhere is very precise and analytical, and his interpretation predictably stresses the forward looking aspects of Janacek's music. Mackerras, on CD, is warmer, maybe more emotional. But this opera fares very well with Boulez's approach. The music is shattering, and does not need more "emotion" laid on. And yes, it is great to have the different musical lines and instruments brought out so clearly, the music sounds like it was written yesterday. Don't be put off either by the opera's reputation of not having a plot worthy of the name. True, it is not Otello, but it is a mosaic of dramatic stories, some of them linked, within a framework story with different strands: that of the bird the prisoners have made, that of Goryanchikov, and that of Alyeya. Chereau has brought this out ingeniously, in a way that stresses the timelessness of the drama. What emerges is an opera of mythic force about freedom and captivity, the "humiliated and oppressed", to join Janacek's other masterpieces, about parental and romantic love (Jenufa and Katya), and the relationship between life and death (Vixen and Makropoulos).