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EUGENE ONEGIN

PUBLISHED: 16:05 25 August 2010 | UPDATED: 11:09 14 October 2010

AFTER the Bolshoi Ballet's mesmerising performance of Spartacus earlier this summer, the Bolshoi Opera have a lot of live up to.

EUGENE ONEGIN

Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, WC2

AFTER the Bolshoi Ballet's mesmerising performance of Spartacus earlier this summer, the Bolshoi Opera have a lot of live up to with Eugene Onegin.

Tchaikovsky's opera, based on the plot of Pushkin's poem of the same name, boasts some of the finest music and most beautiful arias ever composed.

Timid Tatyana, sung by Tatiana Monogarova, falls in love with the charismatic Onegin, confidently performed by Polish baritone and Royal Opera House regular Mariusz Kwiecien. Her letter scene wows the audience but fails to win over the cocksure Onegin who spurns her advances and mocks her impulsiveness.

Onegin then flirts with Olga, Tatyana's sister and fiancé of Lenksy, his best friend. Lenksy, excellently sung by Alexey Dolgov, challenges Onegin to a dual that has predictably fatal consequences, but not before Dolgov delivers Lensky's wonderfully tragic final aria. Several years later it's Onegin's turn to be jilted, both by society and Tatyana, who is now married to another.

This production was deemed controversial when it was first performed in Moscow in 2006 but does not disappoint on its first visit to the London stage. In fact, the capital's opera-going audiences should consider it a tragedy befitting of Pushkin's tale of unrequited passion that this magical production was only in town for four performances.

- DAVID LADDS


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