17 March 2015

Opera Blog: Conversation with Michael Beckerman about “Kátya Kabanová”




Magda Romanska, BLO Dramaturg and Associate Professor of Dramaturgy at Emerson College, talks to Prof. Michael Beckerman, a world-renowned musicologist, specializing in Czech and Eastern European music and the works of Janáček, Dvořák, and Martinu. Prof. Beckerman is a recipient of the Janáček Medal from the Czech Republic and a Laureate of the Czech Music […]

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3 March 2015

Opera Blog: “Kátya Kabanová” – The Drowned Woman and The Cult of L’Inconnue




A note before we begin… What is a death mask? A death mask is a wax or plaster cast made of a deceased person’s face. While certainly unusual today, death masks were a common and important method of commemorating the deaths of important figures throughout history. For instance, you can see the death mask of […]

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26 February 2015

Opera Blog: “Kátya Kabanová” and Aleksandr Ostrovsky’s “Groza”




Leoš Janáček’s Kátya Kabanová is based on an 1859 Russian play by Aleksandr Nikolayevich Ostrovsky, titled Groza (The Storm, also known as The Thunderstorm). Often considered a precursor of Anton Chekhov, Ostrovsky wrote 48 original plays and “almost single-handedly created a Russian national repertoire.”Considered Ostrovsky’s masterpiece and a classic of Russian theatre, The Storm depicts […]

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20 February 2015

Opera Blog: “Kátya Kabanová” – Political and Cultural Context




The scholar of Central Europe, Larry Wolff (2006) classifies Kátya Kabanová as a modernist opera, arguing that its history “illuminates the development of operatic modernism on the terrain of the late Hapsburg Empire, which was reconceived as the transnational domain of Central Europe after the demise of the Empire at the end of World War […]

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18 February 2015

Opera Blog: “Kátya Kabanová” – Love, Death and Marriage




So often I imagine I’m a bird And can spread my wings and fly. I used to be so free and happy, But since I came here to live that’s all changed. —Kátya Kabanová Marital Woes Leoš Janáček’s 1921 opera, Kátya Kabanová, is foremost a study of marriage as a social institution and its effects […]

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13 February 2015

Opera Blog: Kátya Kabanová – The Woman Behind the Story




The character of Kátya Kabanová was modeled on Kamila Stösslová (1892–1935), whom Janáček met in 1917 at a spa. Married to an antique dealer, Kamila was very beautiful, a mother, and 38 years younger than Janáček. Most of Janáček’s major works were inspired and often dedicated to her. They include Zápisník zmizelého [The diary of […]

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