Preloader Operavision
Patrik Borecký | National Theatre Brno
02.10.2019 at 18h00 CET
Wednesday, October 2, 2019 - 18:00

National Theatre Brno


Better a scarred face than a scarred soul.

Operas | Janáček

When a beautiful young woman in rural Moravia becomes unexpectedly pregnant, she learns that love is sometimes only skin-deep.


A grim tale of infanticide and redemption, Jenůfa was one of the first operas written in prose. Premiered at the National Theatre in Janáček’s hometown of Brno 115 years ago, it is today regarded as the Moravian national opera.

Sung in Czech

Subtitles in English, French and German available soon after the livestream with possibility of auto-translation into 114 other languages.

Available from
02.10.2019 at 18h00 CET

Available until
01.04.2020 at 23h59 CET

Grandmother BuryjovkaJitka Zerhauová
Laca KlemeňJaroslav Březina
Števa BuryjaTomáš Juhás
KostelničkaSzilvia Rálik
JenůfaPavla Vykopalová
StárekIvan Kusnjer
The MayorLadislav Mlejnek
The Mayor's WifeJarmila Balážová
KarolkaEva Štěrbová
PastuchyňaStanislava Jirků
BarenaLenka Schallenberger
JanaMartina Mádlová
AuntIvona Špičková
ChorusThe National Theatre Brno Janáček Opera Chorus
OrchestraThe National Theatre Brno Janáček Opera Orchestra

MusicLeoš Janáček
TextLeoš Janáček
ConductorMarko Ivanović
DirectorMartin Glaser
Set DesignerPavel Borák
Costume DesignerMarkéta Sládečková
Lighting DesignerMartin Špetlík
ChoreographerMário Radačovský
Chorus MasterJosef Pančík
DramaturgOlga Šubrtová

Act I

The beautiful Jenůfa fears that her beloved Števa has been drafted into the army. She is expecting his child and his departure would jeopardise their forthcoming marriage. Števa’s stepbrother, Laca, also carries a flame for Jenůfa and asks her about him. Števa finally arrives with his friends and musicians – he had not been drafted after all and celebrates his good fortune with drinking and dancing. Jenůfa’s strict guardian, Kostelnička, disapproves of Števa’s behaviour and that of his friends. In front of them all, she announces that she will only give her consent for a marriage between Jenůfa and Števa after a probation year, during which time Števa would not be allowed to drink. Laca convinces Jenůfa that Števa loves her only because of her beauty, and during the argument he cuts her face with a knife.

Act II

Fearing disgrace, Kostelnička has hidden Jenůfa in her home and claims to everybody that she has left for Vienna. In the meantime, Jenůfa has given birth to a son. Whilst Jenůfa is sleeping, Kostelnička humbles herself before Števa and begs him to marry Jenůfa. For Števa, however, Jenůfa’s scarred face has rendered her ugly. Besides, he is already engaged to the daughter of the Mayor. Laca arrives and asks Kostelnička to hand Jenůfa over to him. When Kostelnička lets slip that Jenůfa has given birth to Števa’s child, he is shocked. In desperation, Kostelnička lies that the child died immediately after his birth. As soon as Laca leaves, Kostelnička drowns the child in an icy river and convinces Jenůfa that she had slept for several days in a fever and the little boy had died in the meantime. The devastated Jenůfa agrees to a marriage with Laco.


During the preparations for the wedding between Jenůfa and Laca, news breaks out that a child has been found dead in the river. Jenůfa recognises her little boy’s bonnet and the suspicion of murder falls upon her. Kostelnička admits her crime in front of the assembled guests. Before the Mayor leads her off to court, Jenůfa forgives her, for she understands that she did it out of love for her. Jenůfa believes that Laca will no longer want her and sends him away. However, he still wants to stay by her side and promises that he will be with her even in the bad times. Jenůfa realises that she has found her true love ‘and God is pleased with it’.