We went to see Katya Kabanova by Janacek last night by the Welsh National Opera.
You could not fault the orchestra or the singers who were all fabulous, the new conductor of the WNO Lothar Koenig is really, really good and has given the orchestra a new lease of life I think. The music is complex and emotional, the singing - especially Amanda Roocroft who played Katya - excellent.
It is such a silly plot, even by opera standards. The poor heroine is going mad, but really, she goes off to see the lover and spends all her time telling him she is sinning and is going to die. If that didn't put the man off I can't think what would. There was a discrepancy between the lack of credibility in the plot which strove for reality and missed, and the power of the music which was trying to carry the plot along with it.
Some of the reason for the credulity gap was - surprise surprise - down to the director, who for some reason had set it all in a fairly grim 50's place, although anything Russian in the 50's would not have had everyone going to church all the time, or had the whole set up of inherited wealth being so crucial to the plot. She also ignored completely one of the 'characters' in the plot which is the River Volga, which people referred to seing while looking at an institutional green wall in a cafe.
Had the director picked up more on the actual themes in the opera - unhappy marriage, childhood, the river, - and done something with them instead of imposing her own obsession with 50's Poland (she has used it a few times before apparently) then I think the whole thing would have gelled much better.
Even so, it was really good, and I did enjoy it.
I am also going to see Figaro, La Boheme and Tristan this season. The first 2 I have seen before, but Tristan is my first Wagner. I will take sandwiches.
We have also gone mad and booked concerts up to next June as both the BBC and WNO are doing ones we want to see this year, having had a few years when we have looked at the programmes and thought - nah. Gergiev is coming in April doing Mahler Symphony no 8 which B has never seen live and is apparently stunning, so we are off to that. Plus lots of other things. Luckily if you buy enough tickets for the BBC concerts you get to pay over 4 months.