Peter Mattei, Marina Poplavskaya and More to Star in Deborah Warner's EUGENE ONEGIN, Beg. 11/23
On November 23, Deborah Warner's new production of Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin, which opened the current Met season, will return with a new cast in the central roles. Peter Mattei, recently seen at the Met as Amfortas in Wagner's Parsifal and in the title role of Mozart's Don Giovanni, will sing his first Met performances of the brooding title character. Marina Poplavskaya, star of recent Met productions of Verdi's La Traviata and Don Carlo and Gounod's Faust, sings Tatiana, the lovesick girl who evolves into a sophisticated woman over the course of the opera. Rolando Villazón, whose past starring roles at the Met include Rodolfo in Puccini's La Bohème and the Duke in Verdi's Rigoletto, returns for his first company performances since 2009 as Lenski, the poet whose friendship with Onegin is destroyed by jealousy. Russian conductor Alexander Vedernikov makes his Met debut leading the opera, which will also star Russian mezzo-soprano Elena Maximova in her Met debut as Tatiana's sister Olga and Štefan Kocán as the wealthy Prince Gremin.
A well known director of theater and opera, Deborah Warner made her Met debut with this co-production, which premiered at English National Opera in 2011, although the staging in New York was handled by the noted actress and director, Fiona Shaw. A longtime collaborator of Warner's, Shaw stepped in when Warner had an unanticipated surgical procedure, from which she is making a successful recovery. Shaw has returned to the Met to rehearse the new cast.
Amongst the operas that Deborah Warner has directed are Britten's Death in Venice and Handel's Messiah for ENO; Verdi's La Traviata for the Vienna Festival; and Purcell's Dido and Aeneas for Paris's Opéra Comique. Her staging of Death in Venice has also been seen at La Monnaie in Brussels, La Scala in Milan, and De Nederlandse Opera in Amsterdam.
Fiona Shaw's previous directorial credits include Henze's Elegy for Young Lovers, Vaughan Williams's Riders to the Sea, and Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro at English National Opera, and a very recent production of Britten's The Rape of Lucretia for the Glyndebourne Festival. Her 25-year working partnership with Deborah Warner started with a landmark production of Electra in 1988. Their many collaborations since then have included Medea, The Waste Land, Happy Days, and The Testament of Mary (all of which were seen in New York).
Peter Mattei has sung Onegin at the Salzburg Festival, the Vienna State Opera, and in concert at Tanglewood. Last season, he made an acclaimed role debut as Amfortas in the Met's new production of Wagner's Parsifal. His roles with the company have included Count Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro and the title role in Don Giovanni; Figaro in the new production premiere of Rossini's Il Barbiere di Siviglia; Marcello in La Bohème; Shishkov in the Met premiere of Janá?ek's From the House of the Dead; and Yeletsky in The Queen of Spades. On December 22, he will join the MET Orchestra at Carnegie Hall under the direction of James Levine for a concert featuring Mahler's song cycle "Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen" ("Songs of a Wayfarer.")
Marina Poplavskaya makes her Met role debut as Tatiana, a part she sang in 2008 at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden. Her previous Met performances have included her debut as Natasha in War and Peace, Liù in Puccini's Turandot, and three roles in new production premieres: Elisabeth de Valois in Verdi's Don Carlo, Violetta in La Traviata, and Marguerite in Faust, which she reprised at the Met last season. Elsewhere this season, she sings Elisabeth in Don Carlo (Zurich Opera), Elisabeth in Wagner's Tannhäuser (Berlin State Opera) and Mathilde in Rossini's Guillaume Tell (Munich Festival).
Rolando Villazón, making his company role debut as Lenski, returns to the Met for the first time since 2009. He made his Met debut in 2003 as Alfredo in La Traviata and returned as the Duke of Mantua in Rigoletto, Rodolfo in La Bohème, and Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor, a role he reprised on the Met's tour to Japan in 2011. He has sung Lenski with the Berlin State Opera and will reprise it at the Vienna State Opera this spring opposite Kwiecien as Onegin. Also this season, he sings Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni at the Berlin and Vienna State Operas, Alfredo at Munich State Opera, and Ferrando in Mozart's Così fan tutte at La Scala.
Russian conductor Alexander Vedernikov makes his Met debut with this season's performances. He has conducted Eugene Onegin at La Scala, Paris Opera, and the Bolshoi in recent seasons, as well as Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana and Leoncavallo's Pagliacci at Zurich Opera; Salome, The Queen of Spades, Smetana's The Bartered Bride, and Janá?ek's The Cunning Little Vixen at Komische Oper Berlin; and Puccini's Madama Butterfly and Turandot, Verdi's Macbeth, and Rimsky-Korsakov's The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh at the Bolshoi.
The design team for Eugene Onegin consists of scenic designer Tom Pye, whose numerous opera productions include Warner's stagings of Death in Venice and the Messiah; costume designer Chloe Obolensky, whose credits include the1999 English-language film Onegin, a staging of Tchaikovsky's opera by Andrei Serban, and numerous collaborations with Peter Brook; lighting designer Jean Kalman, whose previous Met credits include Robert Carsen's staging of Eugene Onegin, Marthe Keller's staging of Don Giovanni, and the recent new productions of Verdi's Attila and Macbeth; video designers Ian William Galloway and Finn Ross, whose previous opera designs include Strauss's Ariadne auf Naxos at Glyndebourne and Faust at the Mariinsky; and choreographer Kim Brandstrup, who made his Met debut with the 1994 new production of Death in Venice. Pye, Obolensky, Galloway, and Ross make their Met debuts with Eugene Onegin.
Eugene Onegin Radio Broadcast
The December 2 performance of Eugene Onegin will be broadcast live on Metropolitan Opera Radio on SIRIUS XM Channel 74.
For more information on this season's performances of Eugene Onegin, visit the Met's website at www.metopera.org.