Tchaikovsky’s opera, Eugene Onegin, based on Puskin’s novel, and sung in English, follows the story of Tatyana, played Lee Bisset, and her sister Olga, (Stephanie Lewis) and their search for love. Olga is engaged to poet Lensky (Michael Bracegirdle), who introduce Tatyana to his worldly neighbour – Eugene Onegin, played by Grant Doyle. Tatyana falls desperately in love with Eugene and, throwing caution to the wind, declares her love to him in a letter. Onegin rejects her, telling her that love cannot be for him and the idea of marriage is impossible. Tatyana is left heartbroken.
At a party thrown for Tatyana’s birthday by Madame Larina (Gaynor Keeble), the girls’ mother, Onegin causes resentment by flirting with Olga. Lensky challenges him to a duel, during the course of which Lensky is killed. To escape his remorse, Onegin quits his country estate and travels abroad.
Years later Eugene learns of Tatyana’s marriage to Prince Gremin (Julian Close and, lamenting his past rejection of her and realizing his love, tries to win her back.
The story is a moving and passionate one, and add to it the incredibly beautiful music of Tchaikovsky you can’t fail to have a winner on your hands. The orchestra, conducted by Jonathan Lyness, brilliantly plays with incredible feeling and passion. And to see grand ppera in the intimate setting of the Tobacco Factory makes for an unforgettable experience.
All the singers are outstanding. It seems churlish to single out one or two over the others but Stuart Haycock as Monsieur Triquet and Julian Close as Prince Gremin are most memorable in their minor, but stand out roles.
A necessarily simple set, for such a small space), designed by director Richard Studer works incredibly well, and Studer should be rightly proud of himself for producing such and excellent evening’s entertainment.
Playing to capacity audiences you may struggle getting tickets, but if you get the chance to go and see this production, then don’t miss it!