An Unusual Love Story of Eugene Onegin and Tatyana Larina Was Presented at the Astana Opera

An Unusual Love Story of Eugene Onegin and Tatyana Larina Was Presented at the Astana Opera

12.02.2019 Off 36

OQSYZ.The production of Eugene Onegin caused a stir at the Astana Opera on February 8 and 9 thanks to the Italian Director Davide Livermore’s unique concept, Music Director Alan Buribayev’s flawless conducting work, as well as magnificent performance of opera soloists, symphony orchestra, choir, ballet dancers and young artists of the children’s studio. This is truly an event. The premiere of one of the most famous operas in the world was awaited in the capital with great impatience and for a good reason…

“Which was the best of his ideas.”
It is not by chance that famous Italian director Davide Livermore’s name appeared on the billboard. World’s best opera houses invite him to stage their productions. For example, the famous Teatro alla Scala’s last season was opened with his staging of the opera Attila. With his new work, the opera Eugene Onegin, he made a big impression on the Astana Opera’s audience.
The opera began very traditionally – from the scene of Tatyana’s letter. Nonetheless, to everyone’s surprise, the aged Tatyana appeared in the performance. According to the director’s intention, she is once again reliving these memories in order to free her life from the tragedy of unresolved feelings: she sees herself again in her youth at the moments when she was only just discovering love and suffering. In Davide Livermore’s view, a story that has not been lived through all the way to the end can become an obstacle for the soul on its last path to the light – the path, which must be travelled with a light heart, leaving everything earthly on earth. Thus, the entire opera was presented through the prism of Tatyana’s memories.
The opera house’s technical capacities allowed the set designers to create stunning effects: the elderly Tatyana disappeared under the stage in an instant, and a bench with Larina (Gulzhanat Sapakova, Margarita Dvoretskaya) and the Nurse (Saltanat Muratbekova, Bayan Zhussupova) miraculously appeared. Their reflections about life were interrupted by peasants who appeared from the depths of the stage on an automatic platform. The crowd scene was impressively spectacular: 3D projections showed floating clouds, treetops swaying with a light blowing wind, and thick wheat from a virtual image turned into a real one. Choir singers handled their task perfectly, their voices were flowing and melodious.
“Is that the same Tatyana?”
Young Tatyana (Aigul Niyazova, Galina Cheplakova), the character created by Pushkin and Tchaikovsky, returned the audience to her youth, met her Eugene again (Alexey Isaev, Talgat Mussabayev) and again decided to remain faithful to her husband Gremin (Barseg Tumanyan, Mikhail Guzhov). The singers demonstrated soaring, clear vocals, each of them approached their parts expertly both in terms of vocals and acting. Dina Khamzina and Tatyana Vitsinskaya presented a wonderful portrayal of the high-spirited, lively, flirtatious and playful younger sister Olga.
It is well-known that frequent use of symbolism characterizes Davide Livermore’s productions, including this one. Thus, for example, the main symbol was the tree of life, which stored all the memories of the main character, and gave an opportunity to revisit them again.
The production also featured animals: a black horse-drawn phaeton with Onegin and Lensky, still friends, appeared onstage. The performance of Onegin’s (Alexey Isaev, Talgat Mussabayev) and Lensky’s roles (Zhan Tapin, Medet Chotabayev) was exquisite and refined. The vocalists brilliantly conveyed the drama in the duel scene. Incidentally, the revolver shot with a bang and bright sparks, the scene looked very natural, and Lensky’s dead body left in the snow evoked a feeling of compassion from the audience.
One of the most striking in the production was the scene of Gremin’s ball. Costume Designers Sofya Tasmagambetova and Pavel Dragunov’s work is particularly noteworthy. They managed to perfectly convey the style of the era. Ballet dancers appeared as waltzing couples, and graceful ladies in blue gowns were in perfect harmony with men in tail coats. Incredibly large, stunningly beautiful crystal chandelier illuminated the space, complementing the whole picture. We can say with full confidence that this is a unique set design, you cannot find such grace in any opera house in the world.
Nurlybek Kosparmakov, Shyngys Rasylkhan (Company Commander), Yerzhan Saipov, Zhanat Shybykbayev (Zaretsky), Beimbet Tanarykov, Ramzat Balakishiyev (Triquet) presented their parts strikingly.
Like in any opera, music reigns supreme. Music Director and Conductor Alan Buribayev successfully conveyed all the subtle nuances of Tchaikovsky’s complex score. The Maestro warmed up the orchestra in the moments where Lensky appeared, because he has a very hot temper, and made it ice cold in the scenes with cynical, bone-dry Onegin. Sadness, fond memories, and the characters’ musings could be heard in the musicians’ performance. The orchestra’s rendition of the melody of Lensky’s last aria before death sounded especially tragic.
The premiere took place with the support of the Ministry of Culture and Sports of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Overall, the performance turned out to be visually rich, grand in its scale, convincing and interesting. The shouts of ‘Bravo!’ did not cease in the auditorium for a long time. Among the guests were – the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev, the Minister of Culture Arystanbek Mukhamediuly, music critics and well-known art figures. Vladimir Urin, General Director of the Bolshoi Theatre of Russia, flew in especially for the premiere.