Janacek: Jenufa (In Italian) - Bumbry, Olivero, Merolla, Cioni, Zaccaria; Semkow. Milano, 1974
Listen to a Sample:
Jenufa gets the Italian treatment in this performance from La Scala. Although the meticulous nature of Janacek’s text setting doesn’t always fit with the cadence of the Italian language, this performance does benefit greatly from the oversized emotions that the (largely) Italian cast brings to the proceedings. Grace Bumbry is an odd choice in the title role. She has no trouble with the soprano range, but Jenufa should have a guileless quality to her, and although Bumbry shapes her phrases with care, it is hard to not hear a little bit of Amneris in her performance. As Kostelnicka, Magda Olivero is the true star of the evening. Olivero was at home in roles that trafficked in raw emotion and Kostelnicka gives her ample opportunity to do just that. The sound is very good.