- Leoš Janáček. Opera in three acts. 1921.
- Libretto by the composer, after the play Groza (Storm) by Alexander Nikolayevich Ostrovsky.
- First performance at the National Theatre, Brno, on 23rd November 1921.
|Marfa Ignatĕvna Kabanová, widow of a rich merchant ||contralto|
|Tichon Ivanyč Kabanov, her son ||tenor|
|Kate˙rina (Katya), his wife ||soprano|
|Varvara, a foster-child with the Kabanovs ||mezzo-soprano|
|Savël Prokofjeviĕ Dikoj, a rich merchant ||bass|
|Boris Grigorjevič Dikoj, his nephew ||tenor|
|Váňa Kudrjáš, Dikoj's clerk ||tenor|
|Glas˙a, a servant of the Kabanovs ||mezzo-soprano|
|Fekluša, a servant ||mezzo-soprano|
|Kuligin, a friend of Kudrjáš ||baritone|
Set in the small Russian town of Kalinov, on the banks of the Volga, in 1860, the opera opens by
the riverside, outside the Kabanovs' house. Boris, tied by the terms of his grandmother's will to
employment with his unreasonable and tyrannical uncle, complains to Kudrjáš and admits that he is
in love with Katya, now returning from church in a party led by her domineering mother-in-law, who
abuses her son and Katya. Inside the house Katya tells the servant Varvara of her unhappiness, the
latter urging her to look to others, apart from her husband. Tichon announces that he must go to
Kazan on business, at his mother's behest. She makes him elicit from Katya a promise not to see any
other men, while he is away. Later the same day, Katya is nagged by her mother-in-law. Varvara
arranges to let her into the garden, where she may meet another. In the garden Varvara meets
Kudrjáš and Katya comes out to meet Boris. In a summer-house by the river bank, some days later,
Kudrjáš and his friend Kuligin take shelter from a storm, joined by Dikoj, who regards the storm as
an omen. As he goes, Varvara appears, joined by Boris, whom she warns of Tichon's return. Boris
hides, as Katya and her husband and mother-in-law come in, Katya now loudly confessing her
infidelity. The final scene finds Tichon and the servant Glas˙a looking for Katya, who has left home.
As they move away in their search, Katya appears and now meets Boris for the last time. They bid
each other farewell and Katya, now alone, throws herself into the river. Tichon, restrained by his
mother, cannot save her, and Dikoj drags her body onto the bank.
Janáček dedicated his opera to the young Kamila Stösslová with whom he became infatuated
during his final years. He seems to have modelled his portrait of Katya on her. Concert excerpts
from scores as tightly knit as those of Janáček are virtually impossible, with the close melodic
dependence of each melodic figure on the words set, although the emotive prelude to Kat'a
Kabanová, with its suggestion of Tichon's journey to Kazan and Katya's reflection on her unhappy
situation, may occasionally be heard out of its operatic context.