Set in late 19th century Russia, innocence and passion collide as a country girl, Tatyana, becomes smitten by the aristocratic Eugene Onegin (Andrei Bondarenko). She naively confesses her love in a letter, but is swiftly rejected by the arrogant nobleman.
Starring Andrei Bondarenko • Svetlana Aksenova • Stephen Costello • Kai Rüütel • Mikhail Kazakov
Conductor Emmanuel Villaume • Director Jean-Claude Auvray • Revival Director Regina Alexandrovskaya • Costume Design Chiara Donato • Lighting Design Laurent Castaingt
A classic, period production originally created for the Israeli Opera Tel Aviv-Jaffa
Opera in Brief
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Madame Larina’s Garden, Late Summer
Madame Larina and the nurse Filipyevna are sitting in the garden, while Larina’s daughters, Olga and Tatyana, sing a love song that reminds the older women of days gone by. Peasants arrive from the fields and celebrate the completion of the harvest with songs and dances. Olga taunts Tatyana for failing to enjoy the festivities. Tatyana remains pensive and apart, wrapped in the fantasy of her beloved novels. The poet Lensky, Olga’s fiancé, and his friend Yevgeny Onegin arrive. The four young people mingle, awkwardly at first. Onegin focuses all of his attention on Tatyana. Tatyana, whose only source of life experience has been reading sentimental novels, falls in love with him.
Tatyana persuades Filipyevna to speak of her first love and marriage. Filipyevna notices that Tatyana’s mind is wandering and asks if she is ill. Tatyana summons up courage to write a letter to Onegin, openly confessing that she loves him. The nurse is commissioned to deliver the letter.
Tatyana rushes into the garden where Onegin is looking for her. He appears and asks her to hear him out. Onegin admits he was touched by her letter, but adds that he isn’t the type of person to get into marriage. Though Tatyana has all the virtues Onegin might wish for in a woman, the most he can offer is brotherly love. He advises more emotional control and leaves her in despair.
Madame Larina’s house, several months later
A party celebrates Tatyana’s name day. As young couples glide merrily across the floor, the older guests sit watching and gossiping. Onegin dances with Tatyana but is clearly bored with the country people and their provincial attitudes, then he dances with Olga, who is very welcoming to him. Triquet, an elderly French tutor, serenades Tatyana with a song he has written in her honor. Lensky jealously confronts Onegin. The merrymaking stops. Madame Larina implores them not to quarrel in her house; Lensky cannot contain his rage at Onegin, who accepts his challenge to a duel.
By the frozen lake, at dawn
Lensky and his second, Zaretsky, await Onegin. Reflecting on the folly of his brief life, and saddened by its now unalterable course, the young poet imagines his beloved Olga visiting his grave. Onegin arrives with his second. The two men sing a duet, in which each admits that they have acted rashly and would rather laugh together than fight, but pride and impulsiveness prevail. The duel is fought and Lensky is killed.
A palace hall in St. Petersburg
Several years later, after Onegin has traveled extensively, seeking to alleviate his boredom, he returns to Russia. Suddenly he recognizes Tatyana across the room, walking with poise and dignity. After interrogating Prince Gremin, Onegin learns that Tatyana is now Gremin’s wife. The older man tells of his marriage two years earlier and describes Tatyana as his life’s salvation. When Gremin introduces Onegin, Tatyana maintains her composure, excusing herself after a few words of polite conversation, and asks her husband Gremin to retire. Captivated, and for a moment speechless, Onegin dashes from the palace.
A few days later
Tatyana has agreed to meet Onegin in answer to an impassioned letter he has written her. When he falls at her feet, she remains controlled. Now that she has a rich and noble husband, she asks, does he desire her position or her shame? She recalls the days when they might have been happy; now he can bring her only grief. As Onegin’s pleas grow more ardent, Tatyana prays for courage. Suddenly finding strength, she rushes out, leaving the distraught Onegin behind.
Andrei Bondarenko (Eugene Onegin) The 2011 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition Song Prize winner is one of the most exciting young baritones of today and is equally in demand on the stage, recital, concert and recording platforms. In the not too distant future he will sing at Deutsche Oper Berlin, Bayerische Staatsoper, Scottish Opera and Opernhaus Zurich. In recital he will sing at Wigmore Hall, Carnegie Hall and Konzerthaus Vienna. Recent highlights include leading roles at Opernhaus Zürich, Staatstheater Stuttgart, Glyndebourne, Salzburg Festival, Teatro Real Madrid, Bayerische Staatsoper, Sydney Opera House, Teatro Colon, Cologne Opera and Mariinsky Theatre. Andrei has recorded for Sony Classics, BIS and Oehms.
Svetlana Aksenova (Tatyana) Svetlana Aksenova has quickly established herself as one of the most exciting young sopranos performing today. Since making her debut in the title role of Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta at the Rimsky-Korsokov Conservatory in her native St. Petersburg, she has gone on to perform at many of the world’s most important theaters. In recent seasons, Ms. Aksenova has performed the title role in Rusalka at the Paris Opera, Cio-Cio San in Madame Butterfly with the Rome Opera, Royal Swedish Opera, and the Norwegian National Opera, Lisa in Pique Dame and Emma in Khovanshchina at the Dutch National Opera, Tatyana in Eugene Onegin at the Theatro Municipal de Sao Paulo, and Mimi in La bohème at the Deutsche Oper Berlin. This season, Ms. Aksenova will make her North American debut performing the role of Tatyana in the Dallas Opera’s production of Eugene Onegin, in addition to appearances as Cio-Cio San at the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich and Tosca at the Norwegian National Opera.
Stephen Costello (Lensky) Stephen Costello is “a prodigiously gifted singer whose voice makes an immediate impact” (Associated Press). The Philadelphia-born tenor quickly established a reputation as a “first-class talent” (Opera News) after coming to national attention making his Metropolitan Opera debut on the company’s 2007-2008 season-opening night. Stephen later won the prestigious Richard Tucker Award, and has since appeared at the world’s most important opera houses and festivals. Recent engagements include Duca Rigoletto and Lord Percy Anna Bolena (Metropolitan Opera); Duca Rigoletto (Teatro Real Madrid); Des Grieux Manon (Dallas Opera); Edgardo Lucia di Lammermoor (Covent Garden); Nemorino L’elisir (Wiener Staatsoper); title role Roméo et Juliette (Santa Fe) and Alfredo Traviata (Bayerische Staatsoper). Costello returns to the Met as Duca Rigoletto and Roméo and will make his Paris Opera début as Camille Merry Widow.
Kai Rüütel (Olga) Kai Rüütel, mezzo-soprano, studied at the Koninklijk Conservatorium in The Hague and the Dutch National Opera Academy, graduating with Special Honours. Rüütel won First Prize in the National Competition for Young Classical Singers in Estonia three years in a row. In 2009 Rüütel became a member of the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme at the Royal Opera House. She has since returned to Covent Garden as Meg Page Falstaff and Wellgunde Der Ring des Nibelungen. She made her debut with Vlaamse Opera as Sonyetka in a production by Calixto Bieito of Lady Macbeth from the Mtsensk District. In 2016/17 she will sing Mary Fliegende Hollander Teatro Real, Emilia Otello, at the Royal Opera House and will sing in Opera Vlaanderen’s world premiere of Infinite Now.
Mikhail Kazakov (Prince Gremin) Mikhail Kazakov, bass, is the winner of several international competitions including the Maria Callas Competition (Athens) and the Peter Tchaikovsky Competition (Moscow). He has been an ensemble member of the Bolshoi Theater since 2001, where he has sung Boris (Boris Godunov), Gremin (Eugene Onegin), Zaccaria (Nabucco), and other major roles. Other noteable debuts have included Vienna State Opera as Commendatore (Don Giovanni), the Semperoper Dresden as Grand Inquisitor (Don Carlo) and Washington National Opera as Ferrando (Il trovatore). He has performed the title role of Boris Godunov with Dallas, Covent Garden, the Barbican Hall in London, and the Vienna State Opera. Kazakov recently sang Shostakovich’s 13th Symphony (Babi-Yar) with The Dallas Opera Orchestra and Chorus conducted by Emmanuel Villaume.
Emmanuel Villaume (Conductor) Entering his fourth season as Music Director of The Dallas Opera, Mo. Emmanuel Villaume returns for three productions in the 2016/17 season. He opens TDO’s season leading performances of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, followed by the highly anticipated return of Jake Heggie’s Moby Dick, which debuted at The Dallas Opera in 2010. In March, Villaume revisits his acclaimed interpretation of Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette at The Metropolitan Opera. The Chicago Classical Review praised Villaume’s conducting of Roméo et Juliette at the Lyric Opera of Chicago last season, proclaiming, “Villaume is almost without peer in this repertory, and his conducting provides a virtual seminar in how French opera should be performed.” Villaume returns to TDO to conduct Norma in April, followed by his return to the Santa Fe Opera.
Jean-Claude Auvray (Director) was born in France. He has directed operas for close to 50 years in all the leading opera houses around the world including Paris, Barcelona, Marseille, Orange, London, Avignon and many others. Most recently he directed Cavalleria rusticana (Mascagni),Pagliacci (Leoncavallo), Un ballo in maschera, La forza del destino (Verdi), Le nozze di Figaro, Die Zauberflöte (Mozart), Peter Grimes (Britten), Fidelio (Beethoven), L’Africaine (Meyerbeer) and many others.
Regina Alexandrovskaya (Revival Director) Russian director Regina Alexandrovskaya graduated from GITIS Russian Academy of Theatre Arts. Her operatic directorial credits include Antony and Cleopatra by Samuel Barber, The Beggar’s Opera by John Gay, and Moon Wolves by Andrey Semenov at the MTYA Theatre. Regina has worked at the Israeli Opera house in Tel Aviv on various productions since 1999, amongst them: Don Pasquale, Pique Dame, La Juive, Rigoletto, Carmen, Elektra, Alpha & Omega, Billy Budd, Otello, La Traviata, Yevgeni Onegin, Die Fledermause, Andrea Chenier, L’incoronazione di Poppea, Aïda , Madama Butterfly, Nabucco, Tosca, La bohème, Falstaff, Cosi fan tutte, Boris Godunov, Salome, Roméo et Juliette, Cunning Little Vixen, Velasco’s Venus and Adonis and many others. She has worked with opera directors Jean Claude Auvray, David Pountney, David Alden and Mariusz Trelinski.
Alexander Lisiyansky(Set Designer) was born in Russia and immigrated to Israel in 1990. He has designed for many theatre companies in Russia and was the house designer of the Sovremenik Theatre in Moscow. He has won numerous awards for his work both in Israel and abroad. Among his recent designs are Hamlet (Shakespeare) and The Trial (Kafka) in Moscow, Our Town (Wilder) in St. Petersburg, A Servant of Two Masters (Goldoni) in Sofia, The Alligator (Dostoyevski) in Talinn and the operas The Nose (Shostakovich) and Maria Padilla (Donizetti) in Boston, Eugene Onegin (Tchaikovsky) in Norfolk and the musical The Sound of Music (Rogers and Hammerstein) in Israel. At the Israeli Opera he has designed Otello (Verdi) and Eugene Onegin (Tchaikovsky).
Maria Chiara Donato (Costume designer) Chiara Donato, costume designer, has designed costumes for many European theaters including Die Zauberflöte with the Theater Basel, La traviata in Toulouse, Montpellier, Avignon, Nice, Lyon and Marseille; La bohème and Madama Butterfly with the Luzerner Theater and La Scala di seta with the Schwetzingen Festival (DVD); Les Dialogues des Carmelites with the Opèra d’Avignon, the Opéra Royal de Wallonie and the Opéra de Marseille; Manon Lescaut and Eugene Onegin with the New Israeli Opera of Tel-Aviv, Maometto II with the Rossini Opera Festival and the Theater Bremen; La forza del destino with the Opéra Bastille in Paris and the Gran Teater del Liceu in Barcelona. Since 2003 she has been a professor of History of Costume at the Accademia Teatro alla Scala.
Laurent Castaingt (Lighting Designer) For over 30 years, French designer Laurent Castaingt has worked in theatre and opera, continually diversifying his professional experiences in both lighting and set design. He has designed lighting for many different directors, primarily Jean-Claude Auvray, Alfredo Arias, Bernard Murat, Richard Brunel, and Jean-Louis Grinda. Other notable projects include collaborations with Hideyuki Yano, Karel Reisz, Harold Pinter, Roman Polanski, Alain Delon, Gérard Desarthe, François Marthouret, Sylvie Testud, and Laure Duthilleul. His research of the texture of light, space and nature led him to work for Geneva Trees and Lights Festival in 2005 (Live Barks), and with designer François Schuitten for Planet of Visiond at the Hannover Universal Exhibition in 2000. Castaingt has been nominated three times for Best Lighting by the Molière Academy.
Alexander Rom (Chorus Master) is a native of Kharkov, Ukraine, and holds a Master’s Degree in Choral Conducting from Leningrad Conservatory of Music. Since immigrating to the U.S., he has worked as a performer, conductor, educator, voice teacher, opera coach, and composer. He has been the chorus master for The Dallas Opera since 1990 and an opera coach with the Metropolitan Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Savonlinna Opera Festival, Cincinnati Festival, and Ravinia Festival. He has worked with world renowned singers including Paul Plishka, Mirella Freni, Nicolai Ghiaurov, Jorma Hynninen, Helga Dernesch, Martti Talvela, Joyce DiDonato, and Jerry Hadley. Maestro Rom is an honorary Visiting Professor at Sibelius Academy Helsinki Conservatory and was a Visiting Professor at Savonlinna Opera Festival Music Institute.
Cooky Chiapalone(Choreographer) Cooky Chiapalone learned ballet in Nice (France) where she was born, then in Paris (France), primarily with Alexandre Kalioujny (Paris Opera Teacher). Her first role was in The Sleeping Beauty (Nureyev, London Festival Ballet). Choosing contemporary dance, she joined the company “Théatre du Silence”, repertoire: Merce Cunningham, Maurice Béjart, Andy DeGroat, Brigitte Lefèvre, Jacques Garnier, in Paris (event with Merce Cunningham Company), Taiwan, South America, Japan. She performed in: Le nozze di Figaro, Idomeneo, Pikovaia Dama, La traviata, La vera storia (Paris Opera), Orfeo ed Euridice (Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, Paris). She has choreographed Le nozze di Figaro (Théâtre des Champs-Elysées), Véronique (Lausanne, Switzerland), Carmen, Un ballo in maschera, La traviata, L’Africaine, and Eugene Onegin (eleven productions in France, Geneva Switzerland, New Israeli Opera Tel-Aviv).