I’ve had just about Jenufa you

Violent love triangles and infanticide are the basis for Utah Opera’s latest production, Jenufa, written in 1904 by Leos Janacee. In addition to the usual flare of Utah Opera performances, audience this time around will be offered a rare treat, as the Opera will be performed in Czech, its native language.

The first scene unfolds as Jenufa is waiting eagerly to hear if the man she loves, Steva, will be forced to enter into military service. Before long, the disreputable Steva bursts in with his rowdy companions and the news that he will not have to serve. The men proceed to play music and drink, and Steva treats Jenufa coldly, despite knowing she is pregnant with his child-callous, intriguing stuff to say the least.

Luca, the half-brother of Steva, has held a life-long love for Jenufa but has always kept his feelings well hidden. Compelled by Jenufa’s mistreatment at the hand of his brother, Luca finds the courage to finally speak to her. Unfortunately, his jealously transforms his confession of love into a quarrel in which he slashes Jenufa’s cheek and flees from her presence.

The plot thickens when Steva’s child is born, and a desperate act on the behalf of Jenufa’s step-mother leads to the infant’s death. In the end, the tragic elements of the work can be expected to be brilliantly manipulated to show the more beautiful aspects of human nature.

Utah Opera is sure to continue in its own footsteps of dramatic productions that do not detract from the original beauty of the opera. As an added bonus, Jean Stillwell, who recently played Utah Opera’s Carmen, will be present playing the part of Kostelnicka, Jenufa’s step-mother as well as the opera’s antagonist.

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