Eugene Onegin (Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, 1879)
Lucía and Jun-Dai at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, London at 19:30 on 11 February 2013.
Probably the only thing more difficult than staying away for the first 90 minutes of an unfamiliar Russian opera on only 4 hours of sleep is doing so when the supertitle machine is broken and you’ve got no fucking clue what’s going on. That said, it was a very nice opera to doze off to, and the uncomfortable seats with no armrests did prevent me from sleeping much. I did not take the opportunity to read up on the opera or read the synopsis while waiting for it to start, so Lucía had to fill me in during the intermissions. It was something of a relief to have supertitles in the second act.
This is the first time I’ve seen a Russian opera, and somehow I was expecting something more drastically different from Italian opera. It was definitely different, but I think my problem was that I was sort of assuming it would sound like Prokofiev or Shostakovich, which it most definitely did not.
I’d like to see it again, anyhow. This particular production was pretty unimaginative. The very tall doors were quite cool, and the use of dancers was nice, but the set seemed like it was thrown together on the cheap, and the projected backdrops were kind of sad.