The short version of the plot for those who aren’t particularly interested;
It’s a tragedy. The female lead dies at the end.
For those who want the longer version of events, I’ve just returned from Opera North’s new production of Janácek’s ‘Katya Kabanova’ with the usual post opera blues – yes it was beautiful, but also depressing as hell (which sometimes I think is the point, opera makes you feel good about your life no matter what is happening). Whilst it isn’t quite in the same league as some other, more well known opera you do get the sense that the women is “dead meat” the moment you see her, and sure enough she ends up drowning herself.
What did catch me by surprise however was how sexy the middle act was, where instead of merely warbling at each other about how good it was that they had found each other (and this is from someone who contrary to the slightly pithy nature of this post, loves opera) they actually, well, appeared to want to be with each other. Once again a background of doomed Russian love showed that I really should get around to reading more of their classic literature and the music, whilst not catchy in the traditional sense, certainly lacked the cold clinical nature that seems to afflict some modern opera.
Would I want to see it again? Well I’m not really sure, although I am sure that I’m glad I have seen it.