Janáček: Jenůfa

Opera 100

Here we write a 100-word précis of numerous opera plots. This is an ongoing and serendipitous series, the idea being to present the storyline in an instant.

Janáček: Jenůfa

by: Alexander Campbell

Realising she’s pregnant, Jenůfa anxiously awaits Števa. He arrives drunk, provoking Jenůfa’s foster-
mother the Kostelnička (Sacristan) to postpone their marriage. Števa’s step-brother Laca jealously
disfigures Jenůfa’s face. Jenůfa bears a son in secret. Števa refuses Kostelnička’s pleas to honour his
earlier promises – he’s betrothed elsewhere. Laca expresses love for Jenůfa to Kostelnička but reacts
angrily when he learns of the baby. Rashly, she says the child died and, after drugging Jenůfa, she
acts. The guilt-ridden Kostelnička is about to bless Jenůfa and Laca’s union as cries are heard. A
baby’s body has been found. Confessions with consequences are necessary.

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