Karita Mattila and Anja Silja Open in Jenufa at Metropolitan Opera

Classic Arts News   Karita Mattila and Anja Silja Open in Jenufa at Metropolitan Opera
Finnish soprano Karita Mattila, an opera star celebrated for her vocal and musical gifts, her compelling acting and her physical beauty alike, begins a six-performance run tonight in one of her most acclaimed roles, the title part in Janšcek's gripping drama Jenufa.

Starring opposite Mattila as Jenufa's stepmother, the Kostelnicka (the local Church Lady), is the legendary singing actress Anja Silja. (At the February 10 performance, the role will be played by veteran Canadian mezzo Judith Forst, no mean actress or singer herself.)

Tenor Jorma Silvasti will take on both of the opera's major male roles. For the first two performances (tonight and February 2), he plays Laca, the young man who pines for Jenufa; for the rest of the run he will sing Steva, Laca's caddish half-brother, whom Jenufa loves and who has fathered her illegitimate child. (Raymond Very plays Steva to Silvasti's Laca, while Kim Begley takes over Laca when Silvasti moves to Steva.)

Conducting the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus will be Jir‹ Belohlšvek, who this season began his term as chief conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra and has held the same post at both the Czech and Slovak Philharmonics.

Jenufa — in a production by Olivier Tambosi which first came to the Met in 2003 — opens tonight at 8 p.m., with additional performances on February 2, 6, 10, 14 and 17 (matinee). Information and tickets are available at www.metopera.org.

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