Music and theater and opera and art and the whole damn thing.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Il Trovatore and Jenufa

No one seems to have remarked - and I've only just realized myself - how closely the plot of Jenufa (aka Jeji Pastorkyna, that is, Her Stepdaughter) resembles that of Il Trovatore (aka La Zingara).

Consider: Two half-brothers who hate each other are in love with the same girl - who adores one of them, loathes the other. (The jealousy of the disliked brother is the engine that drives much of the plot.) The fourth character, who is actually the most important and usually steals the show (the glory of mezzo-sopranos!) is a foster mother , possessively, devouringly in love with the child she raised but never bore. (Her love is the real engine of the plot.) A baby murdered by the foster mother also figures.

They say there are only six plots. (Five of them are against me.) I doubt anyone has connected these two before.

1 comment:

chrisb said...

An excellent, even amazing observation. And the revelation beyond the similarity is the difference! (Really, can you imagine two operas with more dissimilar effect?) The interior vs. exterior methods of storytelling, perhaps? Or, on another level, the composer who gets inside the skin of his characters (Janacek) vs. the one who remains resolutely aloof, playing with his puppets. Much as I love Trovatore, I don't think I empathize. At Jenufa, I can't help myself and become a blubbering mess.

Of course there is no redemption at the end of Trovatore (the big plot difference!).