The best classical and opera for March 2020—the Royal Opera House's Jenufa and Philip Venables's Denis & Katya

Plus the Southbank restages Pizzetti’s Murder in the Cathedral
January 25, 2020

Jenufa Royal Opera House, 24th March to 9th April

In 2018 they gave us From the House of the Dead, and last year it was Katya Kabanova. Can the Royal Opera pull off their latest Janácek staging yet again? Signs point to yes. Jenufa, the composer’s powerful twist on a “village opera” pulses with energy. Directed by Claus Guth, the production features a dream cast led by award-winning Lithuanian soprano Asmik Grigorian. She plays alongside legendary Janácek soprano Karita Mattila for the first time. Vladimir Jurowski conducts.

Denis & Katya, Music Theatre Wales--—Newport, Mold, -Aberystwyth, London, Cardiff, 27th -February to 27th March

British composer Philip Venables has an instinct for music-drama, as his first opera—2016’s award-winning 4.48 Psychosis—proved. Venables’s follow-up arrives in the UK laden with praise. Inspired by the true story of two Russian teenagers whose live-streamed deaths made them the Romeo and Juliet of the internet age, Denis & Katya impressed at its Philadelphia premiere. The New York Times hailed it as “an intimate, haunting triumph.” Directed by Ted Huffman.

Murder in the Cathedral, Southbank Centre, 28th March

Premiered at La Scala in 1958, Ildebrando Pizzetti’s Murder in the Cathedral was an immediate success—even more so when Karajan brought it to Vienna two years later. Since then this evocative adaptation of TS Eliot’s play has been neglected, so it’s exciting to see the Chelsea Opera Group present a concert performance. With Sir John Tomlinson as “turbulent priest” Thomas Becket and ENO music director Martyn Brabbins conducting, this may be your best chance to see this masterpiece.