Two of Russia's most revered minds combine to create an intense opera that keeps audiences on the edge of their seat. Featuring baritone Andrei Bondarenko as Eugene Onegin and soprano Svetlana Aksenova as Tatyana, Pushkin's verse and Tchaikovsky's melodies are brought to life. Both Russian, Bondarenko and Aksenova's performances exemplified the tragic characters masterfully, illuminating their tragic fate.
As a native Moscovite and a passionate fan of both Pushkin and Tchaikovsky, the Dallas Opera's production of Eugene Onegin beautifully reflects Russian Romanticism. Originally written as a verse novel, Onegin's transformation to an opera performance is both refreshing and impressive. Although the English translation wasn't as detailed as I would have hoped, the opera in its entirety is a pleasure to see. The superb cast gives life to characters, both major and minor. The epic choral singing was strong, adding yet another success to an already - dynamic production.
One of the highlights included Lensky's soliloquy prior to the deathly duel, performed by tenor Stephen Costello. As a native Russian speaker, the only drawback from his performance was a slight yet expected accent. Still, his performance and voice more than made up for it, a small imperfection most viewers won't notice. Tchaikovsky's haunting melodies were expertly conducted by Emmanuel Villaume. Price Gremin was well-portrayed by bass Mikhail Kazakov, a booming voice full of love and affection. Tatyana's happy - go - lucky sister Olga was also well-cast in Dutch mezzo-soprano Kai Rüütel.
The Winspear Opera House stage is transformed into a romantic forest of birch trees and wildflowers. Designed by Alexander Lisiyansky, the surrealistic set included a grand piano and exquisite chandelier, balanced by the quasi-realistic ballroom set near the finale. Each setting reflected the acts masterfully, with dynamic lighting by Laurent Castaingt.
Overall, I highly suggest attending one of the two upcoming showings on Wednesday, November 2nd, or Saturday, November 5th. With tickets starting at $19, it would be a shame to miss it! It's been 24 years since Eugene Onegin was in Dallas last, and Russian Romanticism of this scale is hard to come by. Ticket information here.
View a short clip from the opera below!
All photos courtesy of Karen Almond and The Dallas Opera.