Aotea Centre at THE EDGE®, Auckland

20/09/2008 - 27/09/2008

St James Theatre 2, Wellington

11/10/2008 - 18/10/2008

Production Details

A rare masterpiece comes to our shores… with a great deal for under-25s 

"Anyone with an interest in theatre or music must see Jenufa – it will be an unforgettable experience!" Aidan Lang, General Director of The NBR New Zealand Opera, has seen the world famous Glyndebourne Festival production several times and is delighted to be bringing it to New Zealand, opening in Auckland on 20 September and in Wellington on 11 October. "This," he says, "is the acme of opera productions, created by the great Nikolaus Lehnhoff, one of opera’s directing heavyweights – the precision, detail, and taut construction are unsurpassed as a piece of direction and coexist seamlessly with the subtly expressionistic design. And nowhere in opera is reality more raw and uncensored than in Jenufa; it’s intensely dramatic and deeply moving, and is as relevant to today’s audiences as it was to those a hundred years ago when it was written."

In its commitment to fostering younger audiences, The NBR New Zealand Opera has a special ticket offer for under-25 year olds to experience this great masterpiece. From 9.00am on the day of the show, those under 25 who present their ID in person at the Aotea Centre box office (Auckland) or St James Theatre box office (Wellington) are eligible for the $25 ticket price, subject to ticket availability. Under-25s tickets cannot be reserved or put on hold, and only one ticket per ID can be purchased. Any ID that shows proof of age is accepted.

Banish your ideas of sweet and predictable love stories; Jenufa has brave love, mad love, and crushing tragedy, its origins lying in a primal story of sex, lies, love and forgiveness.

A stellar cast, headed by Anne Sophie Duprels as Jenufa, Tom Randle as Laca, and Margaret Medlyn as the Kostelnièka; the Chapman Tripp Opera Chorus, Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, and Vector Wellington Orchestra will deliver all of this, and much more.

The Genesis Energy Spring Season of Jenùfa

AUCKLAND – Aotea Centre, THE EDGE®
Sat 20, Thu 25 and Sat 27 September (7:30pm), Tue 23 September (6:30pm)

WELLINGTON – St James Theatre
Sat 11, Thu 16 and Sat 18 October (7:30pm), Tue 14 October (6:00pm)

Single Tickets: $49.50 to $159.50; Concessions available. Service fees apply.

Bookings: Ticketek nationwide: Tel 0800 TICKETEK (0800 842 538) or
Further information at  
The NBR New Zealand Opera receives core funding from Creative New Zealand.
The Spring Season of
Jenùfa is sponsored by Genesis Energy.

As good as it gets

Review by Roger Wilson 15th Oct 2008

This is as good as it gets, a theatrical experience of immense power. That the cast sings superbly is axiomatic, but somehow the dramatic strength of Jenufa goes beyond the act of singing. If you are an opera enthusiast you will need no prompting, but if you think opera isn’t for you, it’s absolutely essential that you attend this one.

Composer Leos Janácek stands a little apart from the operatic mainstream, making NBR NZ Opera’s choice courageous. Not that Jenufa is a modern piece: it’s been around for over a 100 years and is indisputably one of the few truly great 20th century operas, but it still has the capacity to shock.

Not full of memorable tunes in the conventional sense, this marvellous score is built on speech rhythms in an idiom now folksy, now harsh, and the cast take the demanding Czech language in their stride.

The production imported from Glyndebourne is justly celebrated. The first act beside the mill features an inexorably turning water wheel, while a jagged green background evokes, of all things, a Colin McCahon landscape.

The 2nd and 3rd Acts are set in a Moravian village house, austerely furnished and bleakly side-lit from large windows to show the seasonal changes.

Under the expert direction of Wyn Davis the Vector Wellington Orchestra plays with idiomatic fluency, the chorus is in its customary fine form, the choreography excellent.
In a cast of splendid singing actors all roles great and small are vividly drawn characters: Richard Green and Carmel Carrol the pompous mayoral couple, Kate Lineham their insufferable daughter, a restrained Helen Medlyn as the Grandmother, Jamie Allen as the despicable Števa. Tenor Tom Randle is marvellous as the gauche but honourable Laca as is Anne Sophie Duprels as the much wronged but magnanimous Jenufa.

But greatest of all is the Kostelnicka of Margaret Medlyn – Janácek could have written it with her in mind.

She has done many fine things in the theatre, but this exceptionally powerful vocal and dramatic portrayal is her best yet, an emotionally torn woman whose maternal instincts conflict with the narrow-minded societal confines which she herself embodies, forcing her into a terrible act of infanticide. Yet this is not just a brutal tale of dysfunction and crime. The opera ends on a note of forgiveness and reconciliation; this is the true genius of Janácek.
For more production details, click on the title at the top of this review. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News.


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Fine portrayal rewards long wait for landmark opera

Review by William Dart 22nd Sep 2008

The NBR New Zealand Opera’s Jenufa is an operatic landmark in this country. We have waited too long to experience the genius of this Janacek opera which, though set in a Moravian village a century ago, has a truth and relevance that still resonates today.

There might be grim goings-on in the course of the opera, but the heroine’s transcendence over them is our reward. [More]


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