A wildly beautiful tale of temptation, passion and guilt

Katya is a gentle soul drowning in a narrow-minded small-town society. She is married to a weak man who is entirely under the thumb of his overbearing mother. Katya catches the eye of the romantic Boris, and when her husband leaves on business, temptation proves impossible to resist. Katya and Boris embark on a passionate affair but when her husband returns, a storm breaks in Katya’s heart and mind. She is overwhelmed by guilt, but will she confess her sin?

Janáček took his inspiration for Katya Kabanova from his own unrequited love for a married woman. The highly-charged, non-stop drama is driven by sublime music that crackles with tension and eroticism. Tim Albery’s atmospheric production is led by one of the country’s most distinguished conductors, Sian Edwards, making her Opera North debut.


From £15 to £75*
  • Leeds Grand Theatre
  • The Lowry, Salford Quays
  • Theatre Royal Newcastle
  • Theatre Royal, Nottingham

Leoš Janáček

Running time
Approximately 1 hour 45 minutes with no interval

Sung in English with English titles

Pre-show talks
Leeds: Sat 9, Thu 21 & Wed 27 Feb, (6.30pm–7.00pm) — free; please book in advance with Box Office or when booking your tickets.

*Prices vary by venue. Booking fees may apply.

What the critics said...

“Opera North’s new production is by any standards very fine.”

★★★★ — The Telegraph (2007)

“…its brilliance lies in Albery’s ability to contextualise the opera without losing sight of its emotional violence or psychological veracity.”

★★★★ — The Guardian (2007)

“Opera North’s ensemble has a great evening, achieving wonders with Janáček’s difficult but emotionally powerful writing…”

★★★★ — The Stage (2007)


Stephanie Corley

Katya Kabanova

Harold Meers


Andrew Kennedy


Heather Shipp


Katie Bray


Alexander Sprague


Stephen Richardson


Nicholas Butterfield


Creative team

Sian Edwards


Tim Albery


Hildegard Bechtler

Set & Costume Designer

Peter Mumford

Lighting Designer


In a small Russian town on the banks of the River Volga, Katya Kabanova lives an unhappy life. Her husband, Tichon, is weak-willed. Constantly scorned by his domineering mother, Kabanicha, he seeks solace in drink rather than standing up for himself and Katya.

When Tichon leaves town on business, Katya fears that she will not be able to resist temptation. She asks Tichon to make her swear an oath that she will speak to no strangers during his absence…

With Tichon gone, Katya begins to feel tempted knowing that local romantic, Boris, has feelings for her. Varvara, the family’s foster daughter, reveals that she is meeting Vana, her lover, that night in the garden behind a locked door to which she has the key. She suggests that Katya should go there too to meet Boris.

Later that night, she meets Boris at the bottom of the garden. Though she is worried about the consequences of an affair, she cannot resist and as he declares his love for her, she admits her feelings for him.

Tichon’s return is marked by a violent storm and Katya becomes increasingly agitated. She confesses her affair to Tichon in front of everybody, before running out into the tempest… Later, when the storm has finally subsided, Tichon sets out to find her.

Katya reunites with Boris, who tells her that he is leaving. At first, she begs to go with him but then decides that she cannot leave. Boris departs and Katya, overcome with sorrow, throws herself into the Volga. Tichon arrives just in time to witness Katya leap into the torrent. He rushes to help but his mother holds him back. As Katya’s body is pulled from the water, Tichon weeps and Kabanicha thanks the bystanders for their help.

Katya Kabanova
Katya Kabanova

Search our site