Janacek: Jenufa (In English) - Barstow, Tinsley, Cathcart, Dempsey; Armstrong. Cardiff, 1975
Listen to a Sample:
Leos Janacek's powerhouse of a pot boiler is perhaps the greatest opera written in the Czech language, and unlike several of his other works, its rural setting is equally as important as the passionate emotions of the characters. Richard Armstrong makes a good case for the work, bringing clarity to the plot and a sense of threatening claustrophobia to the pastoral setting. Josephine Barstow sings the title role very well, but as with many a performance of this opera it is the Kostelnicka who carries the show. The very undervalued British soprano Pauline Tinsley is in fine form, gripping in the great act two monologue and shattering in her confession at the opera's end. The men are equally fine, with Gregory Dempsey's piercing, feckless Steva a nice contrast to the burly, baritonal sound of Alan Cathcart's faithful Laca. The recording was obviously taken by a member of the audience, and the orchestra occasionally drowns out the singers, but the fine musicianship on display is enough to make up for it.