EUGENE ONEGIN THE GREATEST RUSSIAN OPERA CARRIED BY THE LYRIC TORQUE OF THE HOUR

Presented at the

Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier – Place des Arts

September 14, 17 & 19, 2019 at 7 :30pm
and September 22, 2019 at 14pm

The 40th season of the Opéra de Montréal promises to be the most memorable, bringing together several great stars of the opera world. The kickoff promises to be masterful, with the highly anticipated return of the internationally renowned Quebec baritone Étienne Dupuis and the first Montreal premiere of his wife, the Australian star soprano Nicole Car, in a very recent version of the ultimate Russian opera: Eugene Onegin. Missed connections, disillusioned love, jealousy and broken friendship… so many timeless subjects carried by the sublime music of the great Tchaikovsky, composer of the famous ballet The Nutcracker, which transports us through the romantic Russia of Pushkin.

Eugene Onegin is the ultimate romantic work, and we are proud to welcome Nicole Car and Étienne Dupuis, two of today’s most prominent artists, who will carry this opera brilliantly.” Says Patrick Corrigan, General Director of the Opéra de Montréal.

Note that the Opéra de Montréal will take advantage of this first production of the season to pay homage to the great Joseph Rouleau, a well-known Quebec bass, who passed away last July.

A LOVE STORY: FROM STAGE TO REAL LIFE

For a few years, Etienne Dupuis and his wife Nicole Car have been one of the most prominent opera couples on the international scene. Their love story began in 2015, in the rehearsal halls of aEugene Onegin production at the Deutsche Opera in Berlin. Parents of little Noah (2 years old), this family unit is inseparable; the couple almost only accepts contracts that allow them to work together. Last season, they made their debut at the Metropolitan Opera in La Bohème and performed in Don Giovanni at the Opéra de Paris, before embarking on an Australian tour of duet recitals. On August 24, these sweethearts arrived in Montreal (much to our delight) to dive into the rehearsals of Eugene Onegin.

THE CAST

The title role is played by Montreal’s Étienne Dupuis, who charms with “his seductive baritone voice and his amazing sense of phrasing” (Concertonet). Giving him the rebuttal, in the role of Tatiana, none other than his wife soprano Nicole Car, recognized for her “fine-grained tone and nuanced acting” (The New York Times). By their side, in the role of Olga, Montreal’s Carolyn Sproule is hailed for “her rich and imposing sound and her remarkable presence”, the Canadians Christianne Bélanger and Owen McCausland sing the roles of Larina and Lenski, respectively, Russian bassDenis Sedov slips into the skin of Grémine, and Simon Chaussé interprets Mr. Guillot.

Three singers from the Atelier lyrique of the Opéra de MontréalSpencer Britten (Triquet), Brenden Friesen (Zaretski) and Jean-Philippe McClish (Captain) complete the cast.

French conductor Guillaume Tourniaire, making his first appearance at the Opéra de Montréal, will conduct the Orchestre Métropolitain and the Choeur de l’Opéra de Montréal (prepared by Claude Webster).

THE STORY: DISILLUSIONED LOVE AND BLOODY SORROW

The story takes place at a country estate near St Petersburg at the end of the 18thcentury. Madame Larina has two daughters, Olga and Tatyana. The first is light-hearted and in love with a young poet, Lensky. The second is dreamy and melancholic. Lensky introduces his friend, Onegin, to Tatyana who immediately falls for the blasé young man. However, rejects her love. Apparently insensitive, Onegin goes as far as flirting with Olga at a country ball. This only makes Tatyana more miserable and Lensky, mad with jealousy, challenges Onegin to a duel in which he dies. Several years pass. Eugene Onegin finally understands his feelings for Tatyana, but it is too late – she is married to Prince Gremin. Onegin confesses his love to Tatyana and his regrets about the past, but she rejects him and remains faithful to her husband. Onegin is left alone with his despair.

THE COMPOSER

The first Russian composer to make a lasting impression internationally, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (May 7, 1840 – November 6, 1893) wrote some of the most popular theatrical music in the repertoire. Although musically precocious, he was trained to be a civil servant before entering the Saint Petersburg Conservatory, graduating in 1865. He went on to forge a personal but unmistakably Russian style—which did not prove easy, as the principles that governed melody, harmony, and other fundamentals of Russian music ran counter to those of Western European music. Though his work was popular with audiences, critical opinions were mixed. Some Russians did not feel it was sufficiently representative of native values, while Europeans lauded his music for transcending Russian stereotypes. Despite his successes, Tchaikovsky’s life was punctuated by personal crises. His death at age 53 is attributed to cholera but there is some debate as to whether it was accidental or self-inflicted.

Opera : Eugene Onegin by Piotr Ilitch Tchaikovsky

Structure : 3 acts

Language : in Russian with French and English surtitles

Libretto : Constantin Chilovski (according to the poem of Alexandre Pouchkine)

Creation : Théâtre Maly, 1879

Production : A coproduction of Opera of Kansas City, Hawaii Opera Theatre, Michigan Opera Theatre, The Atlanta Opera and Seattle Opera

FREE ACTIVITIES

LET’S TALK OPERA ! – Opéra de Montréal is reaching out to opera lovers or newcomers outside the hall: Let’s talk opera! A stimulating exploration of each opera featuring singers and guests. Plot, music, voices, cultural context, composer… everything you ever wanted to know! Hosted by musicologist Pierre Vachon (Ph.D.). Duration: 90 minutes with coffee break.

DATES

Maison des arts de Laval – BILINGUAL – Friday, September 6, 5pm

Grande Bibliothèque – FRENCH – Sunday, September 8, 2pm

Cégep de Saint-Laurent – FRENCH – Thursday, September 12, 7pm

Victoria Hall – ENGLISH – Sunday, September, 15, 2pm

Maison de la culture Frontenac – FRENCH – Monday, September 16, 7 :30pm

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