Eugene Onegin set to music

Due to the difficulties in translating Pushkin’s novel into English has rendered the story of Eugene Onegin rarely known in those countries that are predominantly English speaking, but to Russians it plays an integral part in the rich and turbulent history of their mighty country. The story first appeared in serial form during the 1820’s and was later adapted by Tchaikovsky into an opera which premiered in 1879 in Moscow.

This new adaptation of this great story is by Deborah Warner, and she uses spaces that ae both expansive and effective. These include a huge barn in Act I, a large hall and a lake in Act II and a particularly elaborate ballroom in Act III, within which are extravagant feats of singing and choreography taking place.

One of the main highlights of this performance is that of Toby Spence in his charismatic and energetic portrayal of Lensky, whose presence dominates Act I. Other notable cast members are Brindley Sherratt who shines as Prince Gremin, and brings both dignity and gravitas to the role. Adrian Thompson also makes an impressive monsieur Triquet, stealing the scene at the beginning of Act II by singing to Tatyana.

The choreography by Kim Brandstrup is also noteable, and the dancing in the penultimate scene is particularly captivating in the way the guests move at the ball around the main characters, creating the perfect backdrop. The sets by Tom ~Pye are exceptional, ranging from the iciness of the frozen lake to the ballroom’s soaring pillars.

Overall this is an excellent production and gives the masses the opportunity to tap into the genius of Pushkin and embrace the story of Eugene Onegin.