Eugene Onegin, Norwich

CHARLES ROBERTS Glyndebourne Touring Opera's performance was redolent with passion and fire.


Who was it who gave to opera the soubriquet of 'compleat theatre'? For that was just what we had last night at the Theatre Royal, in a performance of this superlative work, redolent with passion and fire, excitement and ever-building tension, driven on by the powerful momentum of Glyndebourne Touring Opera's orchestra.

Eugene Onegin is a work of tumultuous emotions, there for the asking in music, text and characters. Visually, director Caroline Sharman has chosen to put the colour into costumes, against sets of total simplicity – leaving the drama to speak for itself.

The result is compelling pace and utter belief, as Pushkin's heart-rending story unfolds to the ardent intensity of Tchaikovsky.

Not a moment or gesture, not a nuance is lost in the telling; every character is an individual, responding to every development – and the singing is sumptuous.

Andrea Maronn gives Tatyana wonderful sympathy both in her youth and in her incarnation as the Princess Gremina. Her voice is pure yet powerful, and rich in vocal colour.

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In the great concluding duet with Onegin, her high, floating notes are sublime, yet full of anguish.

Mark Stone's Onegin projects presence and authority, and establishes the cold despair of the inner man. To this he adds vocal control and richness of tone which are consistently commanding.

Finnur Bjarnason's Lensky is a figure in the Romantic tradition, with voice and physical presence to match, creating a touching complement to his life's love, Olga, to whom Delphine Haidan brings a suffusing vigour of zestful youth and independence.

If you wish to hear true 'Russian-ness' of singing, listen to Michael Druiett as Prince Gremin. Never have I heard his great Act 4 aria sung with such tenderness and gentleness, allied with rich texture of resonance, and deep, silken notes to make the hackles rise.

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