Tchaikovsky’s late 19th century opera, based on Pushkin’s classic Russian novel-length poem, remains the composer’s most popular and enduring opera. The story of an ill-fated love triangle is brought to life by Opera Australia and Covent Garden. Tatyana (Nicole Car) youthfully confesses her love for Eugene Onegin (Dalibor Jenis) who initially dismisses her advances. After shooting his best friend Lensky (James Egglestone) in a duel, Onegin comes to regret rejecting Tatyana’s affection.
Vocally Nicole Car dominates, with more than enough presence to hold the stage during the lengthy solo love letter scene. Egglestone’s performance as Lensky is also a highlight. He convincingly portrays a young man in love and betrayed by his best friend. Guillaume Tourniaire leads a spectacular orchestra, audibly conveying the inner turmoil of the characters.
Sets are overindulgent, with the dead Lensky left onstage for the final scenes only to be never referred to, while a tree branch in later scenes proved to be nothing more than an underutilised distraction. (LD)
Until Mar 28, Sydney Opera House, Bennelong Point, $44-315, (02) 9250 7777, sydneyoperahouse.com