Eugene Onegin

Under the Direction of Nicholas Cannon, who also sings the role of Onegin, and the Musical Direction of Brian Chatterton, this is a marvellous evening of opera. Make this a unique Christmas treat for yourself and the whole family.

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Presented by Co-Opera: opera on the move
Reviewed Friday 25th November 2011

http://www.co-opera.com.au/2011_taste_of_opera.htm

Venue: Thomas Edmonds Opera Studio (Adelaide Showground), Goodwood
Season: 7:30pm Sat 26th and Tues 29th November 2011 (doors open 6:30pm, BYO drinks and supper)
Duration: 2hrs 30min plus interval
Tickets: adult $30/conc and Friends of Co-Opera $25
Bookings: Friends of Co-Opera 8233 6261

Venue: Buonasera Restaurant, Glen Osmond Road, Glenunga
Season: 7:30pm Mon 28th November 2011 (doors open 6:00pm)
Duration: 2hrs 30min plus interval
Tickets: adult $60/conc and Friends of Co-Opera $55, includes 2 course meal)
Bookings: Friends of Co-Opera 8233 6261

Co-Opera have turned to Pyotr IllyichTchaikovsky for their latest production, an opera filled with beautiful music, much of which even those not familiar with opera will recognise, particularly the waltz and the polonaise, as they are often played in orchestral concerts. This choice of opera was clearly appreciated by the first night audience as it rarely performed in Adelaide and, consequently, drew a large crowd.

The Romantic lyric opera, Eugene Onegin Op. 24 (1879), is adapted from Alexander Pushkin's novel, with a libretto by Konstantin Shilovsky, the composer and his brother, Modest Tchaikovsky. Pushkin wrote the novel in verse, published in serial form between 1825 and 1832, with 389 stanzas in iambic tetrameter. Much of this poetry is maintained in the libretto, which is very close to the original story.

Under the Direction of Nicholas Cannon, who also sings the role of Onegin, and the Musical Direction of Brian Chatterton, this is a marvellous evening of opera, and pianist, Julie Sargeant, does a terrific job with the complex score.

Nicholas Cannon gives his Onegin a fine air of boredom and disinterest, remaining aloof and detached and showing little emotion, until circumstances force him to become involved. Onegin's final acknowledgement that he is in love with Tatyana, after she is married to the Prince and no longer available, and his desperate and unsuccessful appeal to her to leave her husband and run off with him, gives Cannon a chance to engage in some strongly dramatic material. His well-balanced performance in this section leaves the audience torn between sorrow for both Onegin and Tatyana, and feeling that he has got what he deserved for treating her so badly when she offered her love to him.

As Tatyana, Sara Lambert give an impassioned performance as she goes from the serious and quiet young lady, through the throes of love at first sight, to devastation when rejected out of hand, through to the mixed emotions of loyalty to her husband and residual love for Onegin. Lambert brings this wide range of emotions into her voice in a wonderfully moving performance that leaves the audience feeling for her.

Kate Bright plays her sister, Olga, who has a very different personality. While Tatyana is happy to sit reading romantic novels, Olga is the party girl. Bright's Olga is lively, energetic and filled with youthful exuberance. Olga's naivety and flirtatiousness, however, contribute to the tragedy that is to come and Bright conveys that sudden realisation of the consequences of her flirting with Onegin. She convincingly shows us her acceptance of her part in the ensuing tragedy, that leaves her distraught and alone, with a few well-timed facial expressions and body language.

Lensky, affianced to Olga, is sung by Ernst Ens in another superb characterisation, portraying a happy man who is clearly doting on the object of his affections. It is he that brings Onegin into this family circle, wanting to share his happiness with his friend. From a man in love, whose world is perfect, Ens changes his demeanour enoprmously as he is made jealous and then furious by Onegin and Olga dancing and smiling at one another.

Guila Tiver plays their mother, Lárina, with Deborah Johnson as their nanny, Fillipevna, and Jeremy Tatchell as Prince Gremin, who marries Tatyana. These three give equally fine performances in these smaller roles and the chorus, too, all create individual characters, some a little comical, all of which adds a lot to the performance.

This is another excellent production from Co-Opera, with all of their usual attention to such details as appropriate casting, tight direction and musical direction, and making sure that the acting and choreography is as good as the singing. Make this a unique Christmas treat for yourself and the whole family.

Reviewed by Barry Lenny, Arts Editor, Glam Adelaide.

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