The story of Jen?fa and her stepmother, the verger’s wife, is set within the confines of a closed community. Rivalry, jealousy and social control degenerate into the murder of an illegitimate but innocent child. Leoš Janá?ek’s third opera, based on the controversial play by Gabriela Preissová, is best known as Jen?fa, but by giving it the subtitle Her stepdaughter, the composer underlined the importance of the stepmother. Janá?ek’s score was rejected for a long time by the National Theatre in Prague. Jen?fa was nevertheless his breakthrough as a composer in musical theatre, where he used the speech melody as ‘the most authentic expression of the soul’. The Latvian director Alvis Hermanis, one of the masters of European theatre, makes his debut at La Monnaie. Our chief conductor Ludovic Morlot is the musical director.