OperaUpClose's Eugene Onegin at Arcola
This Eugene Onegin was my second opera from OperaUpClose and I clearly saw the trend on their productions: getting the theatrical part working for a contemporary audience. But here they didn’t “update” the music as they did with the Magic Flute to more modern instrumentation patterns, they just made a reduction for piano, violin, cello and clarinet. The libretto was not a translation of the original but a new one, reworking the original.
The staging was nice, kind of mix between Mad Men and Desperate Housewives, not only for the aesthetics but also for the intimate setting that matched a tv-like viewing experience. Although the drama worked well I missed somehow the wonderful life vs. fiction confrontation from the original. Anyway acting was superb. The singing was from ok (Onegin) to very good (Tatyana). I’m using the character names but not the singer ones because the cast sheet did not specified which one was singing that performance (I suspect that being a 15:00 matinee probably the second name on each character).
The music reduction was probably were we missed more from the original, but that is the price to pay for this kind of small scale setup.