Opera review: Eugene Onegin, Festival Theatre, Edinburgh

Despite the title of Tchaikovsky’s opera, Tatyana is the star of this story and Asmik Grigorian’s sensational voice and interpretation revealed the character’s many complexities.

Asmik Grigorian as Tatyana with Gnter Papendell as the eponymous Eugene Onegin. Picture: Iko Freese.

Eugene Onegin, Festival Theatre, Edinburgh * * * *

Vocally robust across the registers she brilliantly captured the shy, love-struck young girl who loses her heart to the village rogue then using her inner strength rises to the top of society. Next to Grigorian, Günter Papendell’s rough-voiced Onegin didn’t quite master the transformation from heartbreaker to the broken-hearted and he was outshone by Oleksiy Palchykov’s passionate Lensky. Margarita Nekrasova and Liliana Nikiteanu as Tatyana’s nurse and Madame Larina were a delight as they reminisced in rich mezzo voices while making jam.

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It’s not often that the set becomes a talking point but designer Rebecca Ringst’s sea of grass, with a revolving platform used to circulate hillocks and people, dominated the stage. While it worked well for most of the scenes, especially those set in the country with Komische Oper Berlin’s glorious sounding chorus, a temporary structure for the ball scene didn’t quite cut it.

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In the pit, Ainārs Rubiķis and the orchestra matched the emotional journey of the characters with their sumptuous account of Tchaikovsky’s lyrical score and its catchy folk song melodies.

Until 17 August