Leo Janácek after Gabriela Preissová
A young woman is passionately in love with one of two rival half brothers. She becomes pregnant out of wedlock, whereupon he abandons her. The other one would be willing to take her, but he doesn’t want the offspring of a brother he has always envied. The young woman’s stepmother, who looks after her as if she were her own flesh and blood, sees only one way out of this predicament: after a secret childbirth she drowns the newborn baby in the freezing river. When spring arrives, a wedding is in the offing, but then the ice melts and reveals all the shattered hopes of the previous summer. Believing to have wanted nothing but the best for the girl, misguided by her own disappointments and under the influence of her inflexible morals, the sextoness had irreversibly intruded in the destiny of her stepdaughter Jenůfa, assuming a huge burden of guilt. Leoš Janáček tells this story straightforwardly and devoid of illusion, yet not without giving us a great musical promise of some small happiness.
Sung in Czech with German surtitles