Subscribe to
Opera Today

Receive articles and news via RSS feeds or email subscription.


facebook-icon.png


twitter_logo[1].gif



Plumbago_9780993198359_1.png

9780521746472.png

0810888688.gif

0810882728.gif

Recently in Performances

Arabella in San Francisco

A great big guy in a great big fur coat falls in love with the photo of the worldly daughter of a compulsive gambler. A great big conductor promotes the maelstrom of great big music that shepherds all this to ecstatic conclusion.

Two falls out of three for Britten in Seattle Screw

The miasma of doom that pervades the air of the great house of Bly seems to seep slowly into the auditorium, dulling the senses, weighing down the mind. What evil lurks here? Can these people be saved? Do we care?

Pascal Dusapin’s Passion at the Queen Elizabeth Hall

Ten years ago, I saw one of the first performances of Pascal Dusapin’s Passion at the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence. Now, Music Theatre Wales and National Dance Company Wales give the opera its first United Kingdom production - in an English translation by Amanda Holden from the original Italian: the first time, I believe, that a Dusapin opera has been performed in translation. (I shall admit to a slight disappointment that it was not in Welsh: maybe next time.)

Tosca in San Francisco

The story was bigger than its actors, the Tosca ritual was ignored. It wasn’t a Tosca for the ages though maybe it was (San Francisco’s previous Tosca production hung around for 95 years). P.S. It was an evening of powerful theater, and incidentally it was really good opera.

Fine performances in uneven War Requiem at the Concertgebouw

At the very least, that vehement, pacifist indictment against militarism, Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem, should leave the audience shaking a little. This performance by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra only partially succeeded in doing so. The cast credits raised the highest expectations, but Gianandrea Noseda, stepping in for an ailing Mariss Jansons and conducting the RCO for the first time, did not bring out the full potential at his disposal.

The Tallis Scholars at Cadogan Hall

In their typical non-emphatic way, the Tallis Scholars under Peter Phillips presented here a selection of English sacred music from the Eton Choirbook to Tallis. There was little to ruffle anyone’s feathers here, little in the way of overt ‘interpretation’ – certainly in a modern sense – but ample opportunity to appreciate the mastery on offer in this music, its remoteness from many of our present concerns, and some fine singing.

Dido and Aeneas: Academy of Ancient Music

“Remember me, but ah! forget my fate.” Well, the spectral Queen of Carthage atop the poppy-strewn sarcophagus wasn’t quite yet “laid in earth”, but the act of remembering, and remembrance, duly began during the first part of this final instalment of the Academy of Ancient Music’s Purcell trilogy at the Barbican Hall.

Poignantly human – Die Zauberflöte, La Monnaie

Mozart Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute) at La Monnaie /De Munt, Brussels, conducted by Antonello Manacorda, directed by Romeo Castellucci. Part allegory, part Singspeile, and very much a morality play, Die Zauberflöte is not conventional opera in the late 19th century style. Naturalist realism is not what it's meant to be. Cryptic is closer to what it might mean.

Covent Garden: Wagner’s Siegfried, magnificent but elusive

How do you begin to assess Covent Garden’s Siegfried? From a purely vocal point of view, this was a magnificent evening; it’s hard not to reach the conclusion that this was as fine a cast as you are likely to hear anywhere today.

Powerful Monodramas: Zender, Manoury and Schoenberg

The concept of the monologue in opera has existed since the birth of opera itself, but when we come to monodramas - with the exception of Rousseau’s Pygmalion (1762) - we are looking at something that originated at the beginning of the twentieth century.

ENO's Salome both intrigues and bewilders

Femme fatale, femme nouvelle, she-devil: the personification of patriarchal castration-anxiety and misogynistic terror of female desire.

In the Company of Heaven: The Cardinall's Musick at Wigmore Hall

Palestrina led from the front, literally and figuratively, in this performance at Wigmore Hall which placed devotion to the saints at its heart, with Saints Peter, Paul, Catherine of Alexandria, Bartholomew and the Virgin Mary all musically honoured by The Cardinall’s Musick and their director Andrew Carwood.

Roberto Devereux in San Francisco

Opera’s triple crown, Donizetti’s tragic queens — Anna Bolena who was beheaded by her husband Henry VIII, their daughter Elizabeth I who beheaded her rival Mary, Queen of Scots and who executed her lover Roberto Devereux.

O18: Queens Tries Royally Hard

Opera Philadelphia is lightening up the fare at its annual festival with a three evening cabaret series in the Theatre of Living Arts, Queens of the Night.

O18 Magical Mystery Tour: Glass Handel

How to begin to quantify the wonderment stirred in my soul by Opera Philadelphia’s sensational achievement that is Glass Handel?

A lunchtime feast of English song: Lucy Crowe and Joseph Middleton at Wigmore Hall

The September sunshine that warmed Wigmore Street during Monday’s lunch-hour created the perfect ambience for this thoughtfully compiled programme of seventeenth- and twentieth-century English song presented by soprano Lucy Crowe and pianist Joseph Middleton at Wigmore Hall.

O18: Mad About Lucia

Opera Philadelphia has mounted as gripping and musically ravishing an account of Lucia di Lammermoor as is imaginable.

O18 Poulenc Evening: Moins C’est Plus

In Opera Philadelphia’s re-imagined La voix humaine, diva Patricia Racette had a tough “act” to follow ...

O18: Unsettling, Riveting Sky on Swings

Opera Philadelphia’s annual festival set the bar very high even by its own gold standard, with a troubling but mesmerizing world premiere, Sky on Wings.

Simon Rattle — Birtwistle, Holst, Turnage, and Britten

Sir Simon Rattle and the London Symphony Orchestra marked the opening of the 2018-2019 season with a blast. Literally, for Sir Harrison Birtwistle's new piece Donum Simoni MMXVIII was an explosion of brass — four trumpets, trombones, horns and tuba, bursting into the Barbican Hall. When Sir Harry makes a statement, he makes it big and bold !

OPERA TODAY ARCHIVES »

Performances

Corinne Winters as Tatiana [Photo courtesy of Arizona Opera]
05 Feb 2015

Arizona Opera presents Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin

Arizona Opera presented Eugene Onegin during and 1999-2000 season and again on February 1 of this year as part of the 2014-2015 season. In this country Onegin is not a crowd pleaser like La Bohème or Carmen, but its story is believable and its music melodic and memorable. Just hum the beginning of the “Polonaise” and your friends will know the music, if not where it comes from.

Arizona Opera presents Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin

A review by Maria Nockin

Above: Corinne Winters as Tatiana

Photos courtesy of Arizona Opera

 

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky wrote the opera Eugene Onegin together with librettist Konstantin Shilovsky. They followed Alexander Pushkin’s verse novel of the same name very closely and retained a great deal of his poetry. Shilovsky’s contributions included the verses sung by the French speaking Monsieur Triquet in Act II. The composer wrote the text for Lensky’s Act I arioso and most of Prince Gremin’s Act III aria. Nikolai Rubenstein conducted Moscow Conservatory students at the premiere in March 1879.

Tatiana’s Act I “Letter Scene” defines the soprano. Corinne Winters’ Tatiana was naive, girlish and far too honest when she wrote and sang of her true feelings for her somewhat older, attractive and worldly neighbor, Eugene Onegin. Sung by David Adam Moore, the letter’s recipient was not impressed by the young girl’s expression of first love, and instead reproached her for her lapse in protocol. Thus, Moore’s character began as a cold cynic. Only much later did he realize what he had lost. Winters sang with powerful floods of silvery tone that wafted across the Music Center as she whirled around the room with excitement over her letter. Only when Moore addressed her as a wayward child did she regain decorum. He sang with artful phrasing and stern tones as he pointed out her folly.

002_8537.png“Dueling Scene,” Act II

Act II opened at a ball and the orchestra played the famous Polonaise. Onegin asked Tatiana’s sister Olga to dance knowing it would irritate his best friend, Lensky, who was in love with her. In a jealous rage, Zach Borichevsky as Lensky sang with colorful dramatic tones as he challenged Onegin to the duel, which became the opera’s main tragedy. Lensky’s aria, “Kuda, kuda vy udalilis” provided some beautiful light moments in this otherwise dark work. Act III takes place many years later. Onegin has traveled around Europe and on his return he finds a very different society. He sings about the emptiness of his life and his remorse over the death of Lensky. Prince Gremin, a warrior who came home some time ago, expresses his love for the wife who brightened his life, Tatiana. Nicholas Masters was an impressive Gremin whose excellent vocalism extended down to very low but still powerful bass tones. Having long since grown out of her naiveté, Tatiana has become a faithful wife to the older Prince. Onegin meets her and asks her to run away with him. She admits that she fell in love with Onegin as a young girl and, in fact, still loves him. She loves her husband more, however, and she pushes Onegin away. At the end, he is left alone to contemplate what might have been.

Mezzo-soprano Robynne Redmon and contralto Susan Schaefer created believable characters as Madame Larina, the mother of Tatiana and Olga, and Filipievna, their nurse. Beth Lytwynec sang a sweetly resonant Olga and provided smooth harmony in her duet with Tatiana. Andrew Penning offered a charming interlude as M. Triquet while Calvin Griffin was an efficient, dark voiced Zaretsky.

Director Tara Faircloth told her story in a most realistic manner and each of the leading artists was able to create a realistic character. Scenic designer Laura Fine Hawkes was somewhat less successful because some of her pieces utilized only one side of the stage. Conductor Steven White began with a rather slow tempo, but he offered faster tempi and packed more tension into the music of the second and third acts. Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin is a great masterpiece and Arizonans were lucky to be able to enjoy it at home.

Maria Nockin


Cast and production information:

Eugene Onegin, David Adam Moore; Tatiana, Corinne Winters; Lensky, Zach Borichevsky; Olga, Beth Lytwynec; Prince Gremin, Nicholas Masters; Madame Larina, Robynne Redmon; Filipievna, Susan Schaefer; Monsieur Triquet, Andrew Penning; Zaretsky, Calvin Griffin; Conductor, Steven White; Director, Tara Faircloth; Scenic Designer, Laura Fine Hawkes; Lighting Designer, Douglas Provost; Chorus Master, Henri Venanzi; Choreographer/Dancer, Gabrielle Zucker; Dancer, Spencer Smith.

Send to a friend

Send a link to this article to a friend with an optional message.

Friend's Email Address: (required)

Your Email Address: (required)

Message (optional):