|Melody Moore (Katya). Jacob Lucas photo|
Written by Leoš Janáček, “Katya Kabanova” tells the story of a lovely, young woman trapped by circumstances that she cannot overcome. Her domineering mother-in-law constantly belittles Katya and runs rough-shod over her husband, Tichon. Katya finds herself longing for another man, Boris, who is single but must tolerate his gruff and boorish uncle in order to get his inheritance. An evening liason between Katya and Boris pushes Katya into a heightened emotional state, and she confesses her adultery to the townspeople. Katya then runs off, causing the townspeople to search for her. She meets with Boris, but they don’t have a future together. Distraught yet strangely at peace with herself, Katya dies after falling into the river.
|Joseph Dennis (Boris) and Melody Moore (Katya). Philip Newton photo|
Victoria Livengood excelled in every which way as Kabanicha, the evil mother-in-law, bully everyone around her with demands and proclamations. When yells at Katya that Tichon “is her husband, not her lover,” that pretty much summed up her view of marital relations. As Dikoj, Stefan Szkafarowsky spouted off like a crusty old teakettle – full of abrasiveness and a smidgeon of charm.
|Jennifer Cross (Glasha), Victoria Livengood (Kabanicha) and Nicky Spence (Tichon). Philip Newton photo|
Patrick Nolan provided crisp stage directions that were easy to follow. One of the most symbolic moments came at the end when Katya fell backwards into the river. It seemed to be an acceptance of her fate.
Under the baton of Dohnányi, the orchestra sounded fantastic, delivering sounds that marvelously matched the text and expressed the emotional states of the characters. Lush moments, angry outbursts, ominous moods… the musicians terrifically conveyed it all. There was a solitary passage in the final scene when the clarinet (Benjamin Lulich) deftly conveyed what seemed to be the essence of Katya wandering in the woods. It was truly magical.