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Tchaikovsky, Eugene Onegin: Soloists, Chorus and Orchestra of Teatro Argentino. Conductor: Stefan Lano, Teatro Argentino, La Plata. 18.3.2011  (JSJ)


Director/Costumes: Michal Znaniecki

Sets: Luigi Scoglio

Lighting: Bogumil Palewicz

Chorus: Miguel Martínez

Choreography: Diana Theocharidis


Larina: Susanna Moncayo / Claudia Casasco

Tatiana: Magdalena Nowacka / Daniela Tabernig

Olga: Mónica Sardi / Guadalupe Barrientos

Filippyevna: Elisabeth Canis / Matilde Isnardi

Eugene Onegin: Marcin Bronikowski / Luciano Garay

Lensky: Darío Schmunck / Pedro Espinoza

Prince Gremin: Ariel Cazes / Emiliano Bulacios

Zaretski: Oreste Chlopecki / Juan Pablo Labourdette

Triquet: Carlos Bengolea

Captain: Sergio Spina / Arnaldo Quiroga

L-R  Marcin Bronikowski (Onegin), Ariel Cazes (Gremin)
and Magdalena Nowacka (Tatiana)

Like it did last year the Teatro Argentino has opened its 2011 season - and the local season as a whole - with a Russian opera, this time Tchaikovsky's under-performed (in these parts at least) masterpiece, Eugene Onegin.  The production, a co-production with the Opera Krakowska, Teatr Wielki Poznan and the Bilbao Association of Friends of the Opera, comes with a strong Eastern European pedigree with the director Michal Znaniecki, the lighting designer Bogumil Palewicz, and the two principal protagonists, Magdalena Nowacka and Marcin Bronikowski, all of Polish origin.

The striking scenery is fairly minimal - but not minimalist - and a mix of the modern and more traditional with for example, the Eastern style garden of Casa Larina contrasting with the ice strewn lake where the duel tales place. But the greatest impact is from the lighting, with whites and blues and silvers and blacks suggestive of a stark opulence and sharply contrasting the various emotions. Water too is a key element, with snow falling in one scene, an icy setting for the duel, and somewhat bizarrely - perhaps reflective of the warming of Onegin's heart to Tatiana? - a shallow floor of water in the palace settings of the last act, into which Onegin sinks on his knees in his final despair.

This scenic intensity was complemented by an equally powerful cast, with both Magdalena Nowacka as Tatiana and Marcin Bronikowski as Onegin outstanding - Nowacka with firm voice and Bronikowski, perhaps a little more staid than one may expect for a dandy but more than making up with the breadth of colour.  Dario Schmunk was a romantic Lensky and Mónica Sardi played Olga to perfection, both vocally and in her movements, and Ariel Cazes was a fine wheelchair-bound Gremin. Carlos Bengolea was a decadent Triquet and Oreste Chlopecki was good as Zarestski.

The orchestra was under Stefan Lano and apart from a shaky moment early in the opening prelude, played with precision to give a well rounded and expressive reading.

Jonathan Spencer Jones

Picture Courtesy of 
Teatro Argentino, La Plata

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