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NameTitle/Function
Robin Norton-Hale**Artistic Director
Amy NovadnieksProducer
Olivia ClarkAdministrator
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 FEATURES
Breaking with TraditionNov 2017
OperaUpClose's latest reimagining sets Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin in the 1960s


Eugene Onegin is based on the verse novel by Pushkin, using text adapted from the original.  It had an unconventional structure for the time with ‘lyrical scenes’ that focus on the emotional development of the protagonists such as Tatyana in love and Onegin’s eventual realisation of what he has lost.  Tchaikovsky was concerned that the simplicity of the work would be overpowered by the conventional opera house treatment and determined that the first performance should be performed by conservatory students.

Given this context the opera lends itself well to a chamber production – which is where OperaUpclose come in, with their focus on reinventing well-known works in smaller, more intimate versions.  In this new English adaptation by Robin Norton-Hale the story has been transposed to the early 1960s, a world on the cusp of the women’s liberation movement when new thinking fought against old ways.  It’s a coming-of-age story, a requiem for lost innocence and a triumphant celebration of hard-won independence.  The central character is the fiercely intelligent but naïve Tatyana, whose sexual awakening and entanglement with Onegin results in a wiser, sadder but ultimately self-reliant heroine.  Infatuation and self-control do battle in a well-tailored world of sleek suits, with seasonal allusions to the snow-swept Russian landscape of the original.

OperaUpClose’s new version of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin premieres at the Arcola Theatre, London on November 22 where it remains for a month.