Pity and Terror

By Tanner, Michael | The Spectator, June 7, 1997 | Go to article overview

Pity and Terror


Tanner, Michael, The Spectator


The revival of Katya Kabanova is one of the Royal Opera House's triumphs, perhaps even more so than at its first outing in 1994. Bernard Haitink is ideal in this work, finding the right degree of painful lyrical warmth for the heroine, as much as the abrasive sharpness of the world she is tormented by. There is a roundness to the orchestral sound which distinguishes his reading from Mackerras's, but no blunting of impact, quite the reverse. And he is served by a magnificent team of soloists, of whom the new Katya, Eva Jenis making her Covent Garden debut, is the outstanding member. Slight of figure, with a penetrating Slav voice which is neither shrill nor wobbly, she scales peaks of intensity which make me long to see her in other roles, perhaps Tatiana or Pamina above all.

Her illicit lover, Boris, is Keith Olsen transformed from the misery of the season's Tosca. As her husband Tikhon, J. Patrick Raftery is subtle, in a part which requires that; he is no villain, though it is easy to make him one, to present him as nothing more than the son of his terrible mother. The Kabanicha is Janacek's least forgiving portrayal of the denial of emotional vitality, so harshly and sparingly drawn that she might have come from a D.H. Lawrence short story. There isn't a lot to be done with her, and Eva Randova is suitably uncompromising. With her voice in better shape than it often was when Karajan overparted her, she is frightening to hear and to see.

The action is played out against a cosmic swirl, which would do very nicely for Act II of the next production of Die Walkure - I wonder when that will be? In the last act there are some quite elaborate effects, in a setting whose keynote, like everything else about the piece, is simplicity. Yet it works, a ramshackle construction crumbling into nothing. Everything works, it is a compressed evening of pity and terror. As always with Janacek on top form, each moment is almost cruel in its power, but there is no cumulative intensity. It is his originality and no doubt his view of things that there shouldn't be. The appeal of his world is the absence of any gap, for those who have strong feelings, in the inner and outer life. He seems to be so amazed by the discovery that it is possible to live without dissimulation - even though early death is the almost inevitable result - that he can't wait to communicate his vision of a world of truthfulness. He is the perfect composer for his characters, if that isn't too absurd a thing to say. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Pity and Terror
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.