• Composer & LibrettoLeos Janáček
  • ConductorStuart Stratford
  • DirectorAnnilese Miskimmon
  • DesignerNicky Shaw
  • Lighting DesignerMark Jonathan
  • Movement directorKally Lloyd-Jones
  • JenůfaLee Bisset
  • Kostelnička BuryjovkaKathryn Harries
  • Laca KlemeňPeter Wedd
  • Števa BuryjaSam Furness
  • Grandmother BuryjovkaAnne-Marie Owens
  • StárekWilliam Allenby
  • MayorJonathan May
  • Mayor’s WifeLaura Margaret Smith
  • KarolkaSian Winstanley
  • JanoLouise Kemeny


‘Jenufa transposed to the west of Ireland makes perfect sense.’

‘To swap a Czech folk setting for whitewashed stone, slate roof and the Irish conscription crisis of 1918 might sound effortful at best, at worst tiresome. This was Annilese Miskimmon’s solution, lightly handled, for her new staging for Scottish Opera, a co-production with Danish National Opera. It proved as natural as crossing a room and looking out of another window. The landscape is the same, the perspective different and unexpected.’

‘Adroitly designed by Nicky Shaw with lighting by Mark Jonathan, the work opens in the confined yard outside a small stone house, the Kostelnicka’s. This plain exterior is later reversed to reveal a detailed interior: scrubbed wooden table, dresser with plates, copper pans, candles and objects of faith, notably a crucifix.’

‘Annilese Miskimmon’s intelligent and sensitive new co-production for Scottish Opera and Danish National Opera relocates the drama from Moravia to the west of Ireland in 1918, where interior decorations and social dynamics feel unnervingly close to home.’

‘The first act plays out against the whitewashed exterior of a lifesize stone cottage; later the drama moves inside to a handsome period kitchen, astutely rendered down to the brown betty teapot. With heartbreaking empathy and an eye for subtle gesture, Miskimmon makes every character reasoned, every disastrous decision explicable, every relationship as complicated as real life. It’s like watching a troubled slice of your own family history.’

‘Director Annilese Miskimmon...has chosen to shift the story to her native Ireland at the time of the First World War. It is a bold stroke that not only gives a particular historical slant to the threat of conscription faced by Jenufa's lover Steva at the opening of the opera, but also gives the importance of their doomed child's reported baptism and other specific religious references in the libretto a particular rural Catholic context that will be easily understood by modern British audiences.’

‘Jenufa is an exploration of grief on a scale that Wagner, for example, was too grand to contemplate, and it requires quality acting performances to match. That is exactly what Miskimmon has found in this cast, in an interpretation that gives the men, who are the obvious villains in a tale that no-one emerges from well, moments of redemption to balance their foolishness.’

‘Carefully measured vocal performances match the detailed characterisation, meticulous design (Nicky Shaw) and thoughtful blocking (with choreography by the ever-present Kally Lloyd-Jones).’

‘It’s the anonymity of Miskimmon’s fluid staging and Nicky Shaw’s detailed storybook set designs - a cottage that opens up like a doll’s house for the interior drama of Acts Two and Three – that is this show’s strong selling point.’

‘this is a production Scottish Opera can be proud of’

‘Annilese Miskimmon’s production, brilliantly designed by Nicky Shaw – who shows us the exterior and interior of the Kostelnicka’s house, but leaves out the crucial and symbolic mill wheel – is set in the west of Ireland in 1918, instead of in the Moravian village of the original.’

‘Miskimmon’s production is focused and detailed, presenting the characters and their complex individual situations with acuteness and veracity. As a staging, this must rank as a notable success for Scottish Opera.’

‘Janáček's turbulent and disturbing opera of mill workers in Moravia was brought forward to rural Ireland at the end of the First World War in a haunting joint production with Danish National Opera directed by Annilese Miskimmon, its Artistic Director.’

‘In this intriguing and powerful reading Miskimmon does not let them get off so lightly.’

‘we were drawn into Grandmother Buryjovká's family, all set outside a full scale model of a whitewashed Irish cottage in Act I, which opened out like a doll's house to a homely interior complete with dresser and a set of copper pans in a clever design by Nicky Shaw.’

‘Annilese Miskimmon has changed the setting of the opera from the Moravia of the 1880s to the west of Ireland in 1918 – an intelligent re-contextualising which makes the drama more vividly immediate without ignoring or slighting the libretto’s implications. Jenufa and the Kostelnicka live in a whitewashed stone cottage, its interior and
exterior naturalistically rendered in Nicky Shaw’s designs.’

‘Annilese Miskimmon directed an extraordinarily sensitive and accurate portrayal of a family's tribulations.’

‘The impressive set initially is of the outside of a mill cottage with action outside and from opened windows on two floors. After the interval we were watching the goings-on inside the same realistic cottage.’

‘This was a serious and particularly successful Scottish Opera and Danish National Opera production to be highly commended.’

‘Scottish Opera sets Janáček classic in rural Ireland at the end of WWI’

‘Annilese Miskimmon has hit on a perspective that well fits the opera’s complex balances of relationships. The stigma of being unmarried and having a baby is one that is keenly felt, but it is the power of love – whether Jenůfa’s for the wrong man as the story unfolds, or her forgiveness of her step-mother as the opera comes to its surprisingly optimistic close – that is examined most effectively under Miskimmon’s microscope.’

‘With design by Nicky Shaw, the set provides a domestic intimacy that drew the audience into what is overall a superbly strong production from the Scottish / Danish partnership.’