In an Onegin Revival, an Outstanding Cast


Tchaikovsky, Eugene Onegin: Soloists, Lyric Opera of Chicago / Alejo Perez (conductor), Civic Opera House, Chicago, 4.3.2017. (JLZ)

Mariusz Kwiecień (front) in 'Eugene Onegin' (c) Todd Rosenberg

Mariusz Kwiecień (front) in Eugene Onegin (c) Todd Rosenberg

Onegin – Mariusz Kwiecień
Tatiana – Ana María Martínez
Lensky – Charles Castronovo
Olga – Alisa Kolosova
Larina – Katharine Goeldner
Filipyevna – Jill Grove
Gremin – Dmitry Belosselskiy
Triquet – Keith Jameson
Captain – Takaoki Onishi
Zaretsky – Patrick Guetti

Conductor – Alejo Perez
Original Director – Robert Carsen
Revival Director – Paula Suozzi
Designer – Michael Levine
Lighting Designer – Christine Binder
Chorus Master – Michael Black
Choreographer – Serge Bennathan

For its final opera of the 2016–2017 season, Lyric Opera of Chicago revived a Robert Carsen production mounted in the 2007–2008 season, and with its outstanding cast, this Eugene Onegin is even more powerful than the previous one.

In the title role, Mariusz Kwiecień embodied the character, and even though it was announced that he was ill, Kwiecień’s rich baritone was focused and precise. In the first-act Finale with Tatiana, Kwiecień gave a note-perfect reading, and in the second-act argument with Lensky was realistic in Tchaikovsky’s short melodic fragments, with a similar touch to the final scene. His Onegin was truly a tragic figure, full of musical intensity.

As Tatiana, Ana María Martínez brought elegance, lyricism, and passion, including an outstanding first-act “letter aria.” The impetuous and hesitant adolescent manners she used in her acting were evident vocally, in her increasingly stronger emphases, revealing her character’s resolve. Martínez made the metamorphosis implicit in the libretto palpable in sound and gesture – a masterful performance. In the third act Martínez exuded polish and grace as Princess Gremin, with nuanced vocal asides that showed her apprehension in dealing with Onegin. The final scene with Kwiecień was a tour-de-force.

Charles Castronovo was similarly convincing as Lensky, and made the second act his own. A polished exchange with Kwiecień (arguing over Olga) was followed later by the soliloquy before the tragic duel, the latter with consummate energy. Castronovo built the scene phrase by phrase, an extraordinary interpretation that produced spontaneous and sustained applause.

Lyric had strong performers for each of the other roles. In her American debut, Alisa Kolosova was a strong Olga. Likewise, Katharine Goeldner was engaging as Madame Larina, and Jill Grove made Filipyevna a robust presence in all her scenes. As Prince Gremin, Dmitry Belosselskiy was commanding in his aria in praise of his wife Tatiana. (Chicago audiences may recall Belosselskiy as Zaccaria in Verdi’s Nabucco during the 2015–2016 season.)

Beyond the principals, the Lyric Opera Chorus was a hearty part of this production, with the first-act harvest scene resonantly articulated. The second-act polonaise was equally memorable, with the choral timbre shifting to reflect the more elegant ball scene. Michael Black’s leadership is evident in the polished singing that made these scenes linger in memory.

Supporting all of this, Lyric’s Orchestra gave a polished reading of the score, with acclaimed Argentine conductor Alejo Perez in his first appearance in the United States. Perez allowed dynamic interplay between the instrumental passages and the vocal ones, with seamless transitions. Potent brass and rich string sonorities were just some of the highlights in one of the finest productions Lyric has offered in recent years.

James L. Zychowicz

Print Friendly


Leave a Reply

Recent Reviews


Season Previews

  • NEW! The 2017 Oxford Lieder Festival – The Last of the Romantics __________________________________
  • NEW! Roman River Music’s Festival ’17 in Essex __________________________________
  • NEW! Saffron Opera Completes its Ring with Götterdämmerung __________________________________
  • NEW! Anna Netrebko and Yusif Eyvazov’s Return to London in May 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! St John’s Smith Square announces its 2017/18 Season __________________________________
  • NEW! Bayreuther Festspiele 2017 – Operas, Symposium, Concerts, Cinema and More __________________________________
  • NEW! Summer Music in Cincinnati 2017 __________________________________
  • NEW! The Pierre Boulez Saal’s 2017/18 Season in Berlin __________________________________
  • NEW! Birmingham and Beyond: Ex Cathedra in 2017/18 __________________________________
  • NEW! The Glyndebourne Opera Cup and Glyndebourne in 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra’s 2017/18 Season __________________________________
  • UPDATED! English National Opera’s 2017/18 Season __________________________________
  • NEW! 2017 BBC Proms from Friday 14 July – Saturday 9 September __________________________________
  • NEW! The Royal Opera House Announces its 2017/18 Season __________________________________
  • Subscribe to Review Summary Newsletter

    Reviews by Reviewer

    News and Featured Articles

  • NEW! ITINÉRAIRE BAROQUE 2017: TON KOOPMAN TALKS TO COLIN CLARKE __________________________________
  • NEW! The Royal Opera House in Mumbai is Restored to its Former Glory __________________________________
  • NEW! iSING! – International Young Artists Festival in Suzhou, China __________________________________
  • NEW! A Riveting Kokoschka’s Doll from Sir John Tomlinson and Counterpoise __________________________________
  • NEW! The National Theatre Dares You to Engage with This Show __________________________________
  • NEW! HOW TO CONTACT SEEN AND HEARD INTERNATIONAL __________________________________
  • NEW! IN MEMORIAM LOUIS FRÉMAUX (1921-2017) __________________________________
  • UPDATED IN MEMORIAM NICOLAI GEDDA (1925-2017) __________________________________
  • Archives by Week

    Archives by Month

    Search S&H