Themes of fate, broken hearts drive Eugene Onegin opera

April 3, 2013
Media Contact Jelena Bojic, Director of Community Relations

Those who haven’t had their heart broken need not apply.

Each character in the opera Eugene Onegin has the love of something, so understanding love is key to Edmonton Opera’s production, starting in mid-April at the Northern Alberta Jubilee.

“It’s really about, in many ways, living your life with a broken heart,” said director Tom Diamond. “On the first day, when I spoke to the cast, I talked about, at my middle age, I’m kind of glad that at some point in my life, I have had my heart broken, because it equips me to direct this kind of opera.”

Emotional components aside, the majority of this international cast are native Russian speakers, with Russian-American Aleksey Bogdanov in the title role and Russian-American Dina Kuznetsova singing the role of Tatiana, the girl who loves the worldly Onegin. Young Canadian artists are also part of this strong, 10-person cast; local singers play the roles of Russian peasants, rural gentry and wealthy dinner guests as members of the chorus.

Even though Tchaikovsky considered himself an opera composer, he is most well-known now for his ballet compositions. Dance is an integral part of this opera, and the progression of the story is marked by the five dance numbers Tchaikovsky wrote into the score. In the Edmonton Opera production, the dances feature the Shumka Ukrainian Dancers.

Eugene Onegin will be performed at the Jubilee April 19, 21, 23 and 25. The media dress rehearsal is April 17, 2013, at 11 a.m. Please RSVP to Jelena Bojic, director of community relations, at or 780-392-7837.

Technology for a living art form
Understanding the context of the opera and listening to directors, conductors, artists and staff members at Edmonton Opera talk about their work and productions is even easier, with Edmonton Opera’s new app for iPhone and Android users.

“With this app, people will have all the relevant information literally at their fingertips,” said Sandra Gajic, Edmonton Opera CEO. “A preview of what the score sounds like, a list of the artists, videos and blogs about the opera process, and the ability to purchase tickets in-app or to connect to the box office. We’re very excited that we’re one of the first opera companies in Canada to offer this.”

Recent Onegin videos, found in the app, include chorusmaster and artistic administrator Michael Spassov, director Tom Diamond and conductor James Meena, each talking about a different aspect of the opera. The app is available for Apple products (including iPhones, iPads and iTouch) and Android, as well as a mobile website for BlackBerry users.

The app was launched in late March, in advance of the Edmonton Opera’s 50th anniversary season in 2013/14.

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