Earlier this month, Jakub Hrůša made his US operatic debut conducting Leoš Janáček’s Jenůfa in Chicago. The first performance took place on the 12 November at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, in a production by Claus Guth which was created in association with the Royal Opera House in London, where it was first staged in 2021. The production concludes with its final performance this Sunday, on the 26 November.

Hrůša’s debut has earned him unanimous praise from reviewers:

“The music from the pit thrums with excitement as Jakub Hrůša makes his Lyric debut. The Lyric Opera Orchestra surrounds the singers with music that bristles with excitement and portent. Hrusa ensures that the music has natural flow and dramatic potency.” – M.L. Rantala, Hyde Park Herald

“Jakub Hrůṥa led a propulsive reading of the score that didn’t skirt on the overt lyricism of Janáček’s orchestral writing. There were bright details throughout, from the spicy, folk-infused percussion at the top of Act 1 to the heavenly harp that underscores Jenůfa and Laca’s ultimate profession of love…Music drives the drama in a Janáček opera, and in this extraordinary production, all elements are well served.” – Cameron Kelsall, Bachtrack

“His [Hrůša’s] vision of the score emphasizes its sheer beauty, encouraging smooth lyricism and a kind of musical patience, letting the drama unfold… .” – Zachary Woolfe, The New York Times

“Under Hrůša, the Lyric orchestra ratchets up its own high standard, sounding glorious and gutsy. Many great “Jenůfas” out there are skinny and hard-edge, but Hrůša’s has more meat on its bones.” – Hannah Edgar, Chicago Tribune

Hrůša’s recent highlights include conducting Dvořák’s The Spectre’s Bride with the choir and orchestra of Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, as well as conducting the Berlin Philharmonic in a highly acclaimed performance of Dvořák’s Stabat mater. He was recently awarded the Kulturpreis Bayern 2023 for his work with Bamberg Symphony.

Photo credit: Ian Ehm