Seven lyrical scenes
Musical version by: Evgeny Kolobov
Stage Director: Sergey Artsibashev
Set Designer: Sergey Barkhin
Costume Designer: Eleonora Maklakova
Lighting Designer: Sergey Makryashin
Chief and stage choirmaster: Natalya Popovich
Choirmaster: Maria Chekrkchieva
Running time: 2 hours 10 minutes with no intermission
Premiered on 5 October 1996
The Epiphany Festival at the Novaya Opera
January 19 – 30, 2021
Staged in 1996, Tchaikovsky’s opera Eugene Onegin in Evgeny Kolobov’s interpretation is a classical manifestation of and the ultimate in the author’s theatre, which the Novaya Opera was in the lifetime of its founding father. Kolobov engaged a remarkable creative team to work on the project. It was the conductor that became the chief invisible director of the production, defining its focal points and drama orientation.
Evgeny Kolobov:“Eugene Onegin is virtually a tragedy. Anyway, that’s how I hear this opera, how I feel it. This is why, for me, this opera is a Duel, with the capital “D”, between Onegin and Lensky, Lensky and Olga, Onegin and Tatyana, Tatyana and Gremin. It is no coincidence that in the first version of the Tchaikovsky opera, the last words of the protagonist were: “O death, I’m looking forward to you!”, and with these words I finish my production.” In addition, in Kolobov’s version the final words are followed by the music of the fifth, “duel” scene (excerpts from the introduction and the theme of Lensky’s last aria).
Evgeny Kolobov about the production.
“I can’t understand how it could be possible to make a Russian tall tale from this opera, to make jam, when Life is being murdered…”
“…When Gremin sings his aria, he is not alone; all the chorus is there and all the generals sing one of the stanzas instead of him and as if together with him. Because this is a tragic aria, and not what is usually sung: “All men surrender to Love's power” (meaning that I’m quite a man, I can love - such a self-conceited, youthy man’s man). But this is a tragic aria - why have I fallen in love with this girl? He is a man who has gone through the war and has lived a long life; he understands that she doesn’t love him! She is faithful to him, but she doesn’t love him! This is the tragedy that “all men surrender to” — that’s the point! This is a heart cry, not boasting!“
‘”No one understands me” — this is what the production is about …’
The production was awarded the Golden Mask national theatrical prize as the best musical performance of the 1996/97 season
I have pondered over Kolobov’s version one more time. True, he made some reductions. He changed something. And he even added a small epilogue. But he did it all to underline the sense of Tchaikovsky’s opera.
22 August 2015
In this production the orchestra is slightly elevated, whichmakes it possible to watch with one’s own eyes the birth of overlapping motifs and cross-talk of instruments which abound in this opera. The fact that the orchestra is not in the pit gives soft sounding with large piano. In general, making the orchestra part of the stage design is the unique merit of the production which I appreciate every time.
21 August 2014
Kolobov’s Onegin is a revelation. It is a breakthrough towards the main point, towards the core of the composition which hasfor so long deceived the world with its lyrical simplicity.
24-30 October 1996
The most remarkable thing is that it is not an ordinary opera with its bulky routine pomp, but exactly what Tchaikovsky wanted: lyrical scenes, only with very deep tragic undertones and a large-scale music background.
16 November 1996
It would seem that there is nothing new to be heard in all too familiar Eugene Onegin. And then you suddenly realize that you hear for the first time this well-known and so unrecognizable music, which shrills you through, making you feel pinching sadness, delight, pleasure and purification.
22-28 November 1996
One should observe and listen to this productionvery carefully, looking not for any particulars, but for the artist’s state of mind.
Muzykalnaya Zhizn Magazine,
Number 2, 1997