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Return to Russian Opera and Memorable 'Onegin' at San Francisco Opera – The Vacaville Reporter

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The good news for the San Francisco Opera premiere of Robert Carsen’s critically acclaimed Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin is that Russian opera is returning to the company after a 14-year hiatus.

To the best of my knowledge, no company leader has explained why such an important part of the operatic repertoire has been missing for so long, but it was certainly overlooked.

Considered Russia’s most popular opera and inspired by Pushkin’s poetic novel of the same name, the 1879 work Onegin continues with recommended performances on October 14 at the War Memorial Opera House.

Even better news is that American tenor Evan Leroy Johnson sings brightly and earnestly as Lensky, a friend of Onegin in a duel in the second act caused by jealousy between the two. will kill

Canadian bass-baritone Gordon Bintner (left) is Onegin.
Robert Carsen’s West Coast premiere of the Tchaikovsky classic features Canadian bass-baritone Gordon Bintner as Onegin in “Eugene Onegin” and American tenor Evan Leroy Johnson as Lensky. War Memorial Opera House. (Photo contributed — San Francisco Opera/Corey Weaver)

In his aria before the deadly gentlemanly shootout, Johnson sings alone onstage, prompted by the melancholy prelude as he stands on Michael Levine’s minimalist set. His past and carefree youth. His voice is full of pityful regret for the loss of his girlfriend Olga, charming lyricism and anxiety.

He received the biggest applause of the afternoon, suspended conductor Vasilis Christopoulos (in his American debut), and is known for being psychologically penetrating, emotionally influencing, and naturally conversational. I spent nearly three hours trying to get the most out of Tchaikovsky’s score. , in sequence, but often simultaneously. In other words, it has been entertaining people for about 140 years.

Johnson also performed an aria of life and youthful passion for Olga in the first act, but his developed artistry didn’t leave a clear mark until the pre-duel scene.

Equally noteworthy is the Russian soprano singer Evgenia Muraveva who played Tatiana, an almost emotionless and heartless metropolis surrounded by the bourgeois countryside of Tatiana outside St. Petersburg. fell in love with Onegin, a man from

Alone on stage in Act 1, surrounded by artificial leaves on a bed on the mammoth stage, in the aria of the “Letter Scene”, she writes Onegin a long love letter, which she does not dare to read back. Muraveva’s voice makes the music lyrical and introspective, underpinned by a taste for flute, clarinet, horn and harp. At one point, utterly devastated and dressed in her nightgown, she gleefully dances in the moonlight, throwing leaves and imagining her true, long-lasting love with Onegin.

Of course, Canadian bass-baritone Gordon Bintner, whose vocal range fits perfectly with his character’s cool, aloof demeanor, wears stylish clothing and the occasional top hat. In a little bit of music, he shatters the dreams of the bookish and immature Tatiana, survives the duel, and reunites with her years later on the St. Petersburg ball scene, where she marries Prince Gremin. Ferruccio Furlanetto on bass.

His singing in the aria, which tells Onegin how much beauty and love Tatiana has brought into his life, drew the second loudest applause of the afternoon. , Furlanet had a noble presence on stage while skillfully conveying his love for his wife.

Canadian bass-baritone Gordon Bintner (left) is Onegin.
Canadian bass-baritone Gordon Bintner (left) kills his friend Lensky, Onegin in “Eugene Onegin,” played by American tenor Evan Leroy Johnson. The San Francisco Opera’s Tchaikovsky Classic, which runs until his October 14th at the War Memorial Opera House. (Photo contributed — San Francisco Opera/Corey Weaver)

Shortly after, Bintner’s Onegin declares his love for Tatiana, but, still lingering on her attraction to Onegin, tells him that she will not betray her husband.

And so the curtain falls on the lonely Onegin, distraught at first for rejecting her love, deeply regretting it and paying a heavy price for his actions.

As Tatiana’s nurse Filippievna, I wouldn’t have been put off if I didn’t acknowledge the finely spun but heavy vocals of American mezzo-soprano Lonita Miller. And a similarly stylized dramatic thrust is evidenced in the singing of the Russian mezzo-soprano Aigul Akmetina, who played Olga, Tatiana’s sister.

“Eugene Onegin” will perform at the War Memorial Opera House at 301 Van Ness Avenue on Saturday and October 6 at 7:30 PM, October 9 at 2 PM, and October 11 and 14 at 7:30 PM will be Tickets range from $10 (standing room) to $408, call (415) 864-3330 or visit sfopera.com. Tickets for the Opera for the Bay are $10 each and are also available during his centenary season at the San Francisco Opera Company.

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