Kátya Kabanová at Covent Garden

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Kátya Kabanová at Covent Garden

Trevor Nunn's 1994 production of Janácek's Kátya Kabanová) with Andrew Sinclair as revival Director, returned to Covent Garden on 19 June in an authoritative interpretation conducted by Sir Charles Mackerras. Kátya was Janice Watson, who, aside from a few rather shrill high notes early on, sang well but whose acting hardly suggested the soul in torment portrayed by the story. In fact, this applied to the performance as a whole, the singing, for example, of Kurt Streit as Boris, of Chris Merritt as Tichon, of Toby Spence as Kudrjás, was expressive, their flexible vocal lines approaching speech without ceasing to be powerfully lyrical. Yet their movements about the stage often seemed arbitrary and without much meaning.

Of course, there were exceptions, principally Felicity Palmer as Kabanicha, who throughout sounded, looked and behaved like the thoroughly tiresome person she is. And the exchanges between Kátya and Varvara, played by Linda Tuvas in her RO debut, were done with considerable feeling. …