The Dallas Opera Presents Tchaikovsky's ONEGIN
Celebrating its 60th Year, the grand passions and lush melodies of Pyotr I. Tchaikovsky's EUGENE ONEGIN open The Dallas Opera's exciting 2016-2017 Season.
The Linda and Mitch Hart Season Opening Night Performance features an international all-star cast in this bittersweet story about love, pride and, ultimately, regrets.
The festivities begin on Friday, October 28, 2016 with The Dallas Opera's FIRST NIGHT, centered on the performance of Tchaikovsky's 1879 masterpiece (curtain time, 8:00 p.m.).
Opening weekend is generously sponsored this year by The Eugene McDermott Foundation.
Additional performances of ONEGIN are scheduled for October 30 (Sunday, 2:00 p.m. matinee), November 2 and 5, at 7:30 p.m. in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center.
Tchaikovsky is known throughout the world for his popular compositions which include the ballets The Nutcracker Suite, The Sleeping Beauty, and Swan Lake; his rousing 1812 Overture (featured at many Independence Day celebrations); and Romeo and Juliet (an orchestral piece). Each of these works reflects his deeply felt Russian Romanticism; a natural and elegant gift for melody; and rich, sweeping orchestrations.
This much-loved opera is closely based on Russian poet Alexander Pushkin's early nineteenth-century novel in verse, published in installments between 1825 and 1832. Born into Russian nobility, the man credited with writing the first works in Modern Russian Literature lived a life not unlike his fictional creations, even dying at the age of 37 in a duel with a French officer.
EUGENE ONEGIN will showcase the Dallas Opera Orchestra conducted by internationally renowned Emmanuel Villaume, the Mrs. Eugene McDermott Music Director, with magnificent Ukranian baritone Andrei Bondarenko in the title role. Jean-Claude Auvray's original production will receive revival staging by Regina Alexandrovskaya in this production from Israeli Opera Tel Aviv-Jaffa.
"As we program each season, we strive to offer a variety of operas - reflecting a range of time periods, sung languages and compositional styles - including well-known operas such as Eugene Onegin. The depth of talent in our cast, orchestra, chorus, and production team are certain to create a spectacular experience for our patrons. We hope audience members will join us for this beautiful and moving production from Tel Aviv," said Keith Cerny, the Kern Wildenthal General Director and CEO.Set in 19th century Russia, a naïve young country girl, Tatyana (soprano Svetlana Aksenova in her American debut), becomes smitten with an aristocrat, Eugene Onegin. She confesses her love in a letter to the arrogant Onegin (sung by baritone Andrei Bondarenko) who rejects her affections. Pride and jealousy lead to a confrontation between Onegin and his friend Lensky (Stephen Costello), who is in love with Tatyana's sister Olga (Kai Rüütel). Heated words escalate to a fatal duel. Years later, Onegin, attending a prominent ball alone, reflects on the emptiness of his life and his many regrets. He is captivated when a regal beauty enters the ball-it is Tatyana! Now it is Onegin who appears obsessed with the woman whose love he had scorned.
"Eugene Onegin is one of the great Tchaikovsky masterpieces from a compositional viewpoint and he is said to have written the work with 'sincere passion.' To interpret and conduct this poignant and romantic piece will be very exciting. I hope patrons will also find it inspiring!" said Conductor Emmanuel Villaume.The FIRST NIGHT festivities on Opening Night, chaired by Ellen and Don Winspear, begin with a red carpet entrance outside the Winspear Opera House, beginning at 5:30 p.m. Sammons Park is the setting for the elegant Pre-Performance Dinner, starting at 6:00 p.m. Culinary genius Wolfgang Puck will cater the event chaired by Matrice Ellis-Kirk and Ambassador Ron Kirk.
The celebrations continue after the opera with the FIRST NIGHT After Party with the cast from 11:00 p.m. until 1:30 a.m. Tickets for FIRST NIGHT are sold separately from opera tickets and more information is available at www.dallasopera.org/firstnight.Andrei Bondarenko, who made his exciting American debut as Robert in Dallas Opera's eye-opening 2015 production of Iolanta, returns in the title role.
"Andrei Bondarenko, is perfect for the role of Onegin...with such allure as to make clear why such a ripe and ready girl as Tatyana would fall so helplessly in love," wrote Melanie Eskenazi, of musicOMH. He is the winner of the prestigious 2011 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition Song Prize. Upcoming performances include roles with Deutsche Oper Berlin, Bayerische Staatsoper, Scottish Opera, and Opernhaus Zurich.
Svetlana Aksenova, a native of St. Petersburg, Russia, stars in the pivotal role of Tatyana, in her eagerly-anticipated American debut. Ms. Aksenova is a member of the ensemble of the Basel Theatre and performed at such theaters as the Dortmund Opera House, Dutch National Opera, and Deutsche Oper Berlin. Her roles last season included Emma in Mussorgsky's Khovanshchina, Lisa in Pique Dame at Dutch National Opera in Amsterdam, and Cio-Cio San in Madama Butterfly at the Royal Swedish Opera, Filarmonica de Jalisco, and Festival di Caracalla in Rome.
"The care with the interpretation of the text, from which you can extract contrasting and rare beauty effects, was the mark of...(Tatyana) Svetlana Aksenova." (Estadao)
Tenor Stephen Costello, the Marnie and Kern Wildenthal Principal Artist, will portray Lenksy in his seventh mainstage appearance with The Dallas Opera.
Opera News sums up his many gifts saying, "A first-class talent...an intelligent, well-trained singer whose enormous talent and natural musical instincts mark him for potential greatness." Last spring he starred in The Dallas Opera's Manon to rave reviews as the smitten des Grieux. He will also reprise the role of Greenhorn in TDO's November production of Moby-Dick.
Mezzo-soprano Kai Rüütel of Estonia makes her Dallas Opera and American debut as Olga, Tatyana's sister.
"...Kai Rüütel is evidently a highly musical and truly dramatic mature artist," observed Musical Criticism. Of her performance for the University of London Symphony Orchestra in Gustav Mahler's "Rückert-Leider," according to Seen and Heard International, the statuesque Rüütel performed with "warmth, dramatic conviction and a pleasing hint of sensuality."
This production also marks the long-awaited return of Russian bass Mikhail Kazakov, who made a stunning 2011 company debut in the title role of Boris Godunov.
Dallas Morning News Classical Music Critic Scott Cantrell enthused that Kazakov's Boris produced "thrilling sounds to paste you against the seatback, but also every nuance of expressivity." In Onegin, Mr. Kazakov will sing the role of Prince Gremin.Music Director Emmanuel Villaume received several glowing reviews while conducting Santa Fe Opera's production of La Fanciulla del West.
According to Opera Today, "Best for last: the Santa Fe Opera orchestra was in absolutely superb form. From the first hammered chords, Emmanuel Villaume was firmly, thrillingly in charge of a reading that was stunning from initial downbeat to finale cut-off. The Maestro was a cunning Pied Piper, leading his amassed forces with meticulous dramatic intent and unfaltering attention to detail, whether nurturing articulate solo statements, or guiding lush ensembles (oh, those gorgeous tutti strings!). Under Villaume, the band and cast rose to meet every atmospheric requirement that Puccini (and Puccinians) could dare to wish."
French Stage Director Jean-Claude Auvray 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 and Die Zauberflöte (Mozart), Peter Grimes (Britten), Fidelio (Beethoven), L'Africaine (Meyerbeer), and many others.
Russian Regina Alexandrovskaya is the production's revival Stage Director whose 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. She 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, Eugene Onegin, Andrea Chenier, Aïda , Madama Butterfly, Nabucco, Falstaff, Cosi fan tutte, Boris Godunov, and many others. She has worked with opera directors Jean-Claude Auvray, David Pountney, David Alden, and Mariusz Trelinski.The production is choreographed by Cooky Chiapalone and The Dallas Opera Chorus will be prepared by acclaimed Chorus Master Alexander Rom.
All performances take place in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House located in the heart of the Dallas Arts District at 2403 Flora St., Dallas TX 75201. The Joy and Ronald Mankoff Pre-Opera Talks, a free, pre-performance lecture, will be conducted one hour prior to curtain at most performances. More perspective can be gained through "Opera Insights" presented by The Dallas Opera Guild. The informative panel discussion featuring artists, directors and designers, takes place the Sunday afternoon prior to opening. For more details, visit dallasopera.org. Single tickets, starting at just $19, are on sale now, with seating subject to availability. Tickets may be purchased online, at the door, at the ticket office, or by calling 214.443.1000. Subscriptions for the five opera season start at $95, and flex subscriptions (three opera productions) start at $75 and are available now at www.dallasopera.org.
For more information, consult the friendly staff in the Ticket Office at 214-443-1000 or visit us online at www.dallasopera.org.