Subscribe to
Opera Today

Receive articles and news via RSS feeds or email subscription.


facebook-icon.png


twitter_logo[1].gif



9780393088953.png

9780521746472.png

0810888688.gif

0810882728.gif

Recently in Performances

Hibiki: a European premiere by Mark-Anthony Turnage at the Proms

Hibiki: sound, noise, echo, reverberation, harmony. Commissioned by the Suntory Hall in Tokyo to celebrate the Hall’s 30th anniversary in 2016, Mark-Anthony Turnage’s 50-minute Hibiki, for two female soloists, children’s chorus and large orchestra, purports to reflect on the ‘human reverberations’ of the Tohoku earthquake in 2011 and the devastation caused by the subsequent tsunami and radioactive disaster.

Janáček: The Diary of One Who Disappeared, Grimeborn

A great performance of Janáček’s song cycle The Diary of One Who Disappeared can be, allowing for the casting of a superb tenor, an experience on a par with Schoenberg’s Erwartung. That Shadwell Opera’s minimalist, but powerful, staging in the intimate setting of Studio 2 of the Arcola Theatre was a triumph was in no small measure to the magnificent singing of the tenor, Sam Furness.

Khovanshchina: Mussorgsky at the Proms

Remembering the centenary of the Russian Revolution, this Proms performance of Mussorgsky’s mighty Khovanshchina (all four and a quarter hours of it) exceeded all expectations on a musical level. And, while the trademark doorstop Proms opera programme duly arrived containing full text and translation, one should celebrate the fact that - finally - we had surtitles on several screens.

Santa Fe: Entertaining If Not Exactly (R)evolutionary

You know what I loved best about Santa Fe Opera’s world premiere The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs?

Longborough Young Artists in London: Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice

For the last three years, Longborough Festival Opera’s repertoire of choice for their Young Artist Programme productions has been Baroque opera seria, more specifically Handel, with last year’s Alcina succeeding Rinaldo in 2014 and Xerxes in 2015.

Full-throated Cockerel at Santa Fe

A tale of a lazy, befuddled world leader that ‘has no clothes on’ and his two dimwit sons, hmmmm, what does that remind me of. . .?

Santa Fe’s Trippy Handel

If you don’t like a given moment in Santa Fe Opera’s staging of Alcina, well, just like the volatile mountain weather, wait two minutes and it will surely change.

Santa Fe’s Crowd-Pleasing Strauss

With Die Fledermaus’ thrice familiar overture still lingering in our ears, it didn’t take long for the assault of hijinks to reduce the audience into guffaws of delight.

Santa Fe: Mad for Lucia

If there is any practitioner currently singing the punishing title role of Lucia di Lammermoor better than Brenda Rae, I am hard-pressed to name her.

Janáček's The Cunning Little Vixen at Grimeborn

Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen can be a difficult opera to stage, despite its charm and simplicity. In part it is a good, old-fashioned morality tale about the relationships between humans and animals, and between themselves, but Janáček doesn’t use a sledgehammer to make this point. It is easy for many productions to fall into parody, and many have done, and it is a tribute to The Opera Company’s staging of this work at the Arcola Theatre that they narrowly avoided this pitfall.

Handel's Israel in Egypt at the Proms: William Christie and the OAE

For all its extreme popularity with choirs, Handel’s oratorio Israel in Egypt is a somewhat problematic work; the scarcity of solos makes hiring professional soloists an extravagant expense, and the standard version of the work starts oddly with a tenor recitative. If we return to the work's history then these issues are put into context, and this is what William Christie did for the performance of Handel’s Israel in Egypt at the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall on Tuesday 1 August 2017.

Sirens and Scheherazade: Prom 18

From Monteverdi’s Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria, to Bruch’s choral-orchestral Odysseus, to Fauré’s Penelope, countless compositions have taken their inspiration from Homer’s Odyssey, perhaps not surprisingly given Homer’s emphasis on the power of music in the Greek world.

A new La clemenza di Tito at Glyndebourne

Big birds are looming large at Glyndebourne this year. After Juno’s Peacock, which scooped up the suicidal Hipermestra, Chris Guth’s La clemenza di Tito offers us a huge soaring magpie, symbolic of Tito’s release from the chains of responsibility in Imperial Rome.

Prom 9: Fidelio lives by its Florestan

The last time Beethoven’s sole opera, Fidelio, was performed at the Proms, in 2009, Daniel Barenboim was making a somewhat belated London opera debut with his West-Eastern Divan Orchestra.

The Merchant of Venice: WNO at Covent Garden

In Out of Africa, her account of her Kenyan life, Karen Blixen relates an anecdote, ‘Farah and The Merchant of Venice’. When Blixen told Farah Aden, her Somali butler, the story of Shakespeare’s play, he was disappointed and surprised by the denouement: surely, he argued, the Jew Shylock could have succeeded in his bond if he had used a red-hot knife? As an African, Farah expected a different narrative, demonstrating that our reception of art depends so much on our assumptions and preconceptions.

Leoncavallo's Zazà at Investec Opera Holland Park

The make-up is slapped on thickly in this new production of Leoncavallo’s Zazà by director Marie Lambert and designer Alyson Cummings at Investec Opera Holland Park.

McVicar’s Enchanting but Caliginous Rigoletto in Castle Olavinlinna at Savonlinna Opera Festival

David McVicar’s thrilling take on Verdi’s Rigoletto premiered as the first international production of this Summer’s Savonlinna Opera Festival. The scouts for the festival made the smart decision to let McVicar adapt his 2001 Covent Garden staging to the unique locale of Castle Olavinlinna.

Jette Parker Young Artists Summer Performance at Covent Garden

The end of the ROH’s summer season was marked as usual by the Jette Parker Young Artists Summer Performance but this year’s showcase was a little lacklustre at times.

Sallinen’s Kullervo is Brutal and Spectacular Finnish Opera at Savonlinna Opera Festival

For the centenary of Finland’s Independence, the Savonlinna Opera Festival brought back Kari Heiskanen’s spectacular 1992 production of Aulis Salinen’s Kullervo. The excellent Finnish soloists and glorious choir unflinchingly offered this opera of vocal blood and guts. Conductor Hannu Lintu fired up the Savonlinna Opera Festival Orchestra in Sallinen’s thrilling music.

Kát’a Kabanová at Investec Opera Holland Park

If there was any doubt of the insignificance of mankind in the face of the forces of Nature, then Yannis Thavoris’ design for Olivia Fuchs production of Janáček’s Kát’a Kabanová - first seen at Investec Opera Holland Park in 2009 - would puncture it in a flash, figuratively and literally.

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):