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26 Mar 2006

Eugene Onegin, Royal Opera House, London

By Anna Picard [Independent, 26 March 2006]

Steven Pimlott's production of Eugene Onegin opens with a single image: Hippolyte Flandrin's Jeune homme nu assis au bord de la mer. Widely reproduced on greetings-cards, this nude is an unthreatening ideal of masculine beauty. His genitals are hidden, and for all we know the area between his muscular thighs and toned stomach could be as sexless as that of Barbie's boyfriend, Ken. For the girls at my school who were too cool to cover their study notice-boards with pictures of Simon Le Bon, this Neo-Classical calendar boy was the pin-up of choice. Only later did I learn that he was also a homoerotic icon, and that some of the boys whose looks we compared so unfavourably to his might well have been lusting after the same figure.

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