Kát’a Kabanová

Kát’a Kabanová

Opera by Leoš Janáček

Tribune de Genève

“This Katia Kabanova, a performance not to be missed”


La raison principale des mariages malheureux est d’avoir été éduqué dans l’idée que le mariage servait à rendre heureux.

Léon Tolstoï

Infos & Cast


Infos & Cast

Opera by Leoš Janáček
Libretto by Vincenc Červinka after the play The Storm by Alexandre Ostrovsky
First performed in 1921 at the National Theatre Brno
Last performed at the Grand Théâtre de Genève 2002-2003

21, 25, 28 October and 1 November 2022 – 8pm
23 and 30 October 2022 – 3pm
Duration: approx. 1h40 without intermission

Musical Director Tomáš Netopil
Stage Director Tatjana Gürbaca
Scenography Henrik Ahr
Costumes Barbara Drosihn
Lighting Designer Stefan Bolliger
Dramaturgy Bettina Auer
Choir director Alan Woodbridge

Katia Kabanova Corinne Winters
Boris Grigorjevič Aleš Briscein
Marfa Ignatěvna (Kabanicha) Elena Zhidkova
Tichon Ivanyč Kabanov Magnus Vigilius
Savël Prokofjevič Dikój Tómas Tómasson / Sami Luttinen
Váňa Kudrjaš Sam Furness
Varvara Ena Pongrac

Grand Théâtre de Genève Chorus
Orchestre de la Suisse Romande

Coproduction with Deutsche Oper am Rhein Düsseldorf Duisburg

Sponsored by


The Grand Théâtre’s exploration of Leoš Janáček’s operas continues this season with his searing tragedy, Katia Kabanova. First seen in Brno in 1921, the opera is based on Alexander Ostrovsky’s drama The Storm and charts Janáček’s enduring obsession with Russian literature. Yet it also opens a window onto the composer’s soul, written in the white heat of his passion for Kamila Stösslová, the woman who became his muse during a final decade of unbridled creativity. Living in Moravia, unhappily married, Janáček felt kinship with his heroine, who yearns to escape her drab provincial home and loveless husband, Tichon. Witnessing the carefree life of Varvara and Váňa, Katia embarks on an adulterous and disastrous relationship with Boris. Dreams of freedom and sultry nights on the River Volga draw music of staggering beauty from Janáček’s pen. Swelling through the orchestra, it offers a stark contrast with the brutal world that forces Katia to drown herself.
These performances reunite soprano Corinne Winters, appearing in the title role, and the highly acclaimed German director Tatjana Gürbaca, following their triumph with Janáček’s Jenůfa last season. They are joined by conductor and principal guest conductor of the Czech Philharmonic, Tomáš Netopil and the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, with a cast that includes Netopil’s fellow Czech Aleš Briscein as Boris, returning to Geneva after his success in War and Peace last season, and the impressive Russian mezzo-soprano Elena Zhidkova as Katia’s timorous mother-in-law. Croatian mezzo Ena Pongrac and Welsh tenor Sam Furness play the young lovers, Varvara and Váňa, the only people able to realise their dreams of escape. Gürbaca and her well-honed team’s gripping production tells of Katia’s desperate search for ecstasy in this narrow and claustrophobic world. Forbidden to work, she is surrounded by the banal and the morally bankrupt, with an older generation that has turned against the young and denies her any opportunity. Instead, she craves a higher sense of purpose that she finally discovers in the Volga’s pantheistic force, with the river offering that necessary alternative to a life without divinity. So, while Katia’s final decision is a desperate one, it is also a flight into nature. In turn, it inspired one of Janáček’s most potent creations.


Program Kát’a Kabanová
All about the opera


Kát’a at La Plage

Check out all the various events connected with the production.

45 minutes before the performance

45 minutes before the bells call you into the house, it’s time to refresh your memory and go back to the beginnings of the opera: we offer a brief introduction to remind you what the work is all about and what kind of magical, apocalyptic, critical or hyper-realistic worlds the people behind the production have in store for you. Lickety-split, there’s just enough time to grab some bubbly before you take your seats under the star-studded ceiling of a thousand and one operas!
45 minutes before each performance
Free admittance with performance tickets
Foyer of the GTG

Thursday, October 6 at 6:30PM

About Kát’a Kabanová
Between the slavic dances and misty landscapes, come and experience the music of the two greatest Czech composers, Antonín Dvořák and Leoš Janáček, alongside our vocal leaders.
With Réginald Le Reun and Jean-Paul Pruna on piano.
Thursday, October 6, 2022
At 6:30 pm
CHF 25.– (first drink included)
In the foyer of the GTG

Public Workshop
Saturday, Octobre 8 at 11AM

The Storm: about Kát’a Kabanová by Janaček / Theater and music workshop
By Tamara Fischer and Mariama Sylla
Kát’a Kabanová is suffocating in the closed environment of her small provincial town in Russia, squeezed between her falot husband, Tichon, and her authoritarian and contemptuous mother-in-law, Kabanicha. How can she resist the attention of the young Boris during her husband’s absence? Can Kát’a find happiness or will frustration and despair lead her to tragedy?
Composer Leoš Janaček was a great lover of literature and theater. The libretto of his opera Kát’a Kabanová was taken from the play The Storm by Alexander Ostrovsky. In an acting workshop that will also feature Janaček’s musical score, join us in discovering the characters and the fable of Kát’a Kabanová.
Saturday, October 8, 2022 at 11am
From 12 years old
Duration 1h30
At the GTG

In collaboration with the Fête du Théâtre

Monday, October 17 at 6:30PM

Katia Kabanova : Les accents de l’intranquillité
Une conférence présentée par Mathilde Reichler
Basée sur une pièce d’Ostrovski, l’histoire de Katia Kabanova frappe par sa simplicité et son caractère presque ordinaire (un adultère, dans un milieu provincial). Resserrée par rapport à son modèle littéraire, l’action est prise dans l’étau d’une construction dramatique implacable, qui ne laisse guère de place aux écarts et à la fantaisie.
Mais à l’intérieur de ce cadre étroit, Janáček conçoit une toile vibrante basée sur une multitude de motifs, passant par tous les pupitres d’un orchestre chatoyant de mille couleurs. Autant de miniatures qui jaillissent, de gestes musicaux qui se combinent au chant, et se superposent en un perpétuel miroitement intranquille. L’invention de l’écriture est prodigieuse, imbriquant le lyrisme et l’urgence, à l’image de l’âme agitée de l’héroïne.
Ainsi, c’est au dialogue entre la dramaturgie presque classique de l’œuvre et son véritable bouillonnement intérieur que cette conférence vous convie.
The Association genevoise des amis de l’opéra et du ballet presents Kát’a Kabanová
Monday, October 17, 2022
At 6:30PM
Théâtre de l’Espérance

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En coulisse
Sunday, October 23

Haven’t you ever wondered what it’s like on the other side, when the curtain falls on a performance? How does all the technical machinery work? What do the stagehands have to do to get things back into working order? Or maybe just bump into one of the stars of the show?
So let us raise the curtain on all this for you. With every production, we give our patrons an opportunity to come backstage with us, raise their eyes to the flies and take a good look at what’s behind the sets. It may be dark in the wings but there’s a whole lot going on there! And because it’s a really busy place, we can’t really do this more than once per performance run. You will need to book your visit beforehand, so don’t delay!
A member of the theatre staff who can answer all your questions and show you some of the very impressive features of our opera house takes you backstage for free.
After the October 23 performance, a member of the theatre staff who can answer all your questions and show you some of the very impressive features of our opera house takes you backstage for free.
The “En coulisse” tour lasts about 20 minutes, starts 15 minutes after the performance, is free of charge on prior reservation with our box office service by email [email protected].

On Tour

Kát’a on Tour

«Our production of Kát’a Kabanová will be performed again on November the 13th as part of the Janáček Brno Festival, Janáček’s home town, the biggest festival dedicated to the composer.»

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Légende photo
Un colon se baignant à Shiryat Hayam. Gush Katif, Gaza, 2005
© Paolo Pellegrin

Katia Kabanova © GTG / Carole Parodi