Reviews of Jenůfa, Malmö Opera 2011
...Phelan’s Jenůfa is sung with musical and dramatic precision by the kind of tight ensemble not often seen in world class opera. Voice, theatre and orchestra are all of a piece, revealing powerful undercurrents of sexual shame and religious devotion borne out of fear...Orpha Phelan’s production looks purposely two dimensional yet remains atmospheric enough that one is never kept at an objective distance. Yet the performance does leave room for the listener to stand back and appreciate how the opera accomplishes what it does, partly because the performance makes its points on details, both psychological and musical... For an unflinching Jenůfa, I’ll choose Malmö.
Gramophone, 2013 on Jenůfa DVD
Orpha Phelan’s production packs a strong emotional punch. Set just after the Second World War, it highlights the bleak existence of the community and the struggle to survive in an unforgiving physical and moral environment. Kostelnicka is no monster but a damaged and flawed woman trying to rationalise her situation. Likewise Jenůfa is not just buffeted by events but strengthens her sense of self worth as the tragedy unfolds. A powerful production which is very well filmed.
Opera Now, 2013 on Jenůfa DVD
One can only be grateful for Phelan’s enthusiasm for the piece itself and for her dedication to it. The production eminently deserved documentation; it is competitive with any of the other three fine Jenůfas currently on DVD and should be shared with the widest possible audience. What matters most in any Jenůfa is whether the Personenregie works - and it is superb here.
International Record Review, 2013 on Jenůfa DVD
Absolutely one of the most complete stagings I’ve ever seen in an opera.
Skanska Dagbladet, 2011
A perfect staging at Malmö Opera - it is worth traveling over the bridge for a sharp and intense experience with Jenufa. Everything about the current staging of Leos Janacek’s Czech masterpiece is simple and tight, without exaggerated gestures - and that is why it is so powerful. This March you can experience it at the Deutsche Oper in Berlin where star director Christoph Loy stages this opera. But it's hard to imagine a much more satisfactory production than that which director Orpha Phelan and designer Leslie Travers have created in Malmö.
Malmö Opera has created an excellent new production of this original and fascinating opera. The Irish director, Orpha Phelan, has moved the action forward to 1950's Stalinist Eastern Europe - engaging and moving especially because of the staging.
Information.dk - Kunst & Kultur, 2011
A world class Jenufa. The Irish director Orpha Phelan, who last spring gave us her strong Tales of Hoffmann in Malmö, together with her set designer Leslie Travers, skillfully uses Malmö Opera’s enormous stage to concentrate us on the essentials of the drama. Not to be missed.
Aftonbladet Kultur, 2011
Malmo Opera’s production never turns away, but attacks from the front. The direction is clear, whether in its in-depth psychological analysis of individuals or of crowds of people.
Dagens Nyheter, 2011
A Moravian drama of jealousy set in a rural environment to music by a Czech composer, performed in the original language, could probably scare one or two prospective opera visitors. But add the composer Leos Janacek’s name and leading world soloists Gitta-Maria Sjöberg and Erika Sunnegårdh, and not least the internationally distinguished Irish director Orpha Phelan, and there is every reason to defy any possible skepticism. As of this spring's lavish production of Offenbach's Tales of Hoffmann at the Malmö Opera, Phelan and her Anglo-Saxon production team (set and costume designer Leslie Travers and lighting designer Thomas C. Hase) again used Malmö Opera’s vast space to create a striking production.
The artistic team speaks a common language that leaves room for the intimate as well as more powerful expression. Orpha Phelan delivers an instantaneous insight into the characters’ behaviour, which corresponds well to the music's character.
Helsingborgs Dagblad, 2011