Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Eugene Onegin (opera)

The classic Russian verse novel Eugene Onegin was written by Alexander Pushkin and published in the 1820s. Tchaikovsky's celebrated opera first appeared in 1879. The libretto by Tchaikovsky and Konstantin Shilovsky uses some of Pushkin's poetry. Apparently the idea to create an opera from the novel was that of singer Yelizaveta Lavrovskaya and, after originally rejecting her suggestion, the idea grew on Tchaikovsky and he soon set to work.

A tale of doomed young love, Eugene Onegin is far more intimate than most of the grand Russian operas. The Royal Opera House will be broadcasting their current production live 'for one night only' on the 20th of February and Cineworld at Sovereign Harbour is one of the venues. I saw the ROH La Boheme at Cineworld earlier this month and very much enjoyed it. Hopefully the subtitling issue will now be fixed though! Eugene Onegin will feature the Royal Opera Chorus and the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House with their conductor Robin Ticciat. Kasper Holten directs in his first production for the ROH and the (no doubt gorgeous) sets are the work of Danish designer Mia Stensgaar.

The young Tatyana (Krassimira Stoyanova) is overwhelmed with love when she first meets Onegin (Simon Keenlyside) and writes him a passionate letter telling him of her feelings. He dismisses her however, explaining that he cannot love easily and is not suited marriage. Onegin's friend, Lensky (Pavol Breslik), persuades him to come to a ball given to celebrate Tatyana's name day and they dance together. But gossip angers Onegin who then dances with Lensky's fiancee Olga (Elena Maximova) instead. Lensky becomes jealous, renounces their friendship and challenges Onegin to a duel. Neither man has the courage to stop the duel and it ends with Onegin having shot Lensky dead. After several years travelling alone, Onegin is at another ball, feeling sorry for himself, and spots the now married Tatyana. He realises that he does love her after all but Tatyana will not be unfaithful to her husband, Prince Gremin (Peter Rose). She admits that she does still love Onegin but tells him he is too late.

Cineworld, Wed 20th Feb, 19:15.
Tickets £17.00 (£13.50 concessions), available online, by calling 0871 200 2000 or in the Cineworld foyer.