Opera Scotland

Eugene Onegin 1991Bolshoi Opera, Moscow

Read more about the opera Eugene Onegin

The Edinburgh Festival opera programme in 1991 was dominated by visits by the two great Soviet companies. The Bolshoi from Moscow had enjoyed a ground-breaking success in the 1990 visit to Glasgow's year of culture with unusual pieces by Tchaikovsky and Rimsky-Korsakov, followed by a stop at Edinburgh with a Prokofiev piece. They now returned to Edinburgh with more Tchaikovsky and Rimsky-Korsakov. Meantime, Valery Gergiev and his Kirov forces from Leningrad also put in an appearance bringing a survey of all Musorgsky's operatic output.

The news that the Bolshoi would return to Scotland so soon after the success of the 1990 trip was greeted with surprised enthusiasm, as was their programme - another rarity by Rimsky-Korsakov, Christmas Eve, and an authentically Russian staging of one of the most popular works in the repertoire.

In the event, all this was overshadowed by events back home in Moscow. As the coaches full of company members drove out to the airport in the cold light of dawn, they saw convoys of military vehicles, including tanks, heading the other way. By the time they reached Edinburgh news was breaking of a coup attempt. Preparations continued, and as the audience arrived the sense of extra excitement was palpable. The reception given to the company before during and after the performance was quite special, even if the extra tension meant the company was perhaps slightly below its best. By the end of the visit we knew the coup had failed and they could return home safely.

The new production was fine, without adding to our knowledge of the work. Alexander Lazarev conducted a beautifully dramatic performance. The first cast included several singers who had done the second nights the previous year, most notably Vladimir Redkin, who soon returned to sing with Scottish Opera. Arkady Mishenkin had a very attractive tenor, with a plangent tone which, fifty years ago could have been described as typically Russian, though sadly nowadays it is no longer typical. Elena Zaremba, Ludmila Nam and Gleb Nikolsky all returned after notable appearances in 1990. The Tatyana, Nina Rautio, was entirely new, and excellent, as she would be in the Rimsky.

Performance Cast

Madame Larina a widowed landowner

Ludmilla Sergienko (Aug 21)

Nina Fomina (Aug 22)

Tatyana Larina's elder daughter

Nina Rautio (Aug 21)

Maria Gavrilova (Aug 22)

Olga Larina's younger daughter

Elena Zaremba

Filipyevna nurse to the sisters

Ludmila Nam (Aug 21)

Tatiana Pegura (Aug 22)

Peasant

Andrei Salnikov (Aug 21)

Oleg Biktimirov (Aug 22)

Vladimir Lensky a neighbour, engaged to Olga

Arkady Mishenkin (Aug 21)

Oleg Kulko (Aug 22)

Eugene Onegin Lensky's friend

Vladimir Redkin (Aug 21)

Pavel Chernykh (Aug 22)

Zaretsky a retired officer

Nikolai Nizienko (Aug 21)

Anatoly Babykin (Aug 22)

Monsieur Triquet a Frenchman, tutor to the sisters

Oleg Biktimirov (Aug 21)

Andrei Salnikov (Aug 22)

Trifon Petrovich a captain

Vladimir Bukin (Aug 21)

Maxim Mikhailov (Aug 22)

Prince Gremin a retired general

Gleb Nikolsky

Performance DatesEugene Onegin 1991

Map List

Playhouse Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

21 Aug, 19.30 22 Aug, 19.00

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