EUGENE ONEGIN 2022

Bath Opera’s main production of Eugene Onegin has been rescheduled to February 2022.

Tchaikovsky: Eugene Onegin

Bath Opera’s next main production will be Eugene Onegin. Musical Director Rupert Drury will work alongside Stage Director Neil Kirkman in this production of Tchaikovsky’s opera.

Performances

February 2022
at the Roper Theatre, Hayesfield School, Bath

Rehearsals 

Dates to be confirmed.

Auditions

Dates to be confirmed.

Click on the links below to download the audition pieces for the relevant characters…

Yevgeny Onegin by Repin

Director’s guidance notes for auditions

Tchaikovsky’s music demands a great deal of rubato which is obviously difficult to do when singing with an accompanist for the first time. Please prepare your audition pieces with phrasing and rubato as you think fit and the accompanist will go with you.

The audition panel will be looking for portrayal of character as well as vocal ability so please read these notes which will give enough background for the auditions.

Where a character clearly shows two different sides to his/her character the audition pieces will reflect this to allow you to show us what you can do to project the fully rounded character. We have selected chunky audition pieces ( see scans if necessary) to get your teeth into but numbers and timing on the day may mean that we have to truncate these .

There is a lot of dancing in this opera and we intend to work with a dance company to provide choreographer and dancers but be aware that most principal roles will also involve some dancing.

The production will be fully staged with orchestra and will be in period circa 1810.

I have put down the age which the characters are supposed to be. This is opera and vocal ability will be judged before age.

I see the main plot of Eugene Onegin driven by overreaction born of boredom. Tatiana is stuck in some god forsaken estate in the middle of nowhere, and although she hasn’t known anything else she is desperate to enjoy the life outside and is bored and trapped.

Onegin who has only known life in St Petersburg and therefore feels very superior ,is absolutely bored to tears in the country and is only too willing to let everyone know this.

They each overreact to this and set in train a chain of events which will dominate their lives. I think the overriding dramatic arc of the opera is a role reversal with at the start Tatiana being ruled by her heart and Onegin by his head and at the end of the opera it’s the other way round with Onegin ruled by his heart and Tatiana cooly using her head.

Characters

(in order of singing)

TATIANA Soprano

Audition pieces andante on page 100 to 106 and 257 to 261.

Playing age in acts 1,2,3 a rather gauche impetuous girl of about 17 or 18. And Act 4 a very collected sophisticated appearing 24/25 year old.

Role includes the massive letter scene where Tatiana has the stage almost to herself for an impassioned scene lasting nearly 30 minutes…..a real tour de force requiring stamina and a good memory!

Tatiana goes through a journey in this opera. She starts out being headstrong,impetuous, emotional, romantic, and doesn’t consider the consequences of her actions. At the end of the opera she has learned that life isn’t always so simple and that actions always have consequences which need careful consideration.

Click to download audition piece 1
Click to download audition piece 2

OLGA Alto or low mezzo

Audition piece pages 40 to 45 plus end of duet on page 71

Playing age perhaps a year or two younger than Tatiana

Olga as a character is much more ‘meat and two veg’. She’s perfectly happy where she is and looks forward to husband, children and domestic bliss and simply can’t imagine anything else. This is an anathema to Onegin who thinks her dull and without depth.

Click to download audition piece 1
Click to download audition piece 2: duet with Lensky

LARINA Mezzo

Audition piece duet pages 13-18

Playing age upwards of 40

Life has been a comedown for Larina. Obviously at the bottom end of an aristocratic family she got married off to minor landowner had two daughters and is now widowed and stuck on the estate. With two daughters to marry off and the estate to run she spends her life in a state of resigned anxiety and in nostalgia for her former life. * see note under Gremin

Click to download audition piece 1

FILIPEVNA Mezzo

Audition piece duet page 13-18 and duet 80-83

Playing age: upwards of 40

Family retainer/nanny

Filipevna is an important mirror character and a great acting role. She has two big and important duets which indicate the landowner/servant relationship. Her role is just to do and not to see, or think. Her stolid and placid responses in the duets indicates that she has heard all these stories from her bosses over and over again but it isn’t her place to say so . These duets give the opportunity for the operas only gently funny bits. I see her a bit like “nursey ” in Blackadder

Click to download audition piece 1
Click to download audition piece 2

LENSKY Tenor

Audition pieces page 67-71 and from piu mosso on page 205 x 209

Playing age: around 25

As well as lots of ensemble he has two stunning arias .

Lensky is a very Russian character and a poet to boot. He’s intense, impetuous and sees things as black or white. Of all the characters, the Russian tendency to being morose is most apparent in him. He’s local and and he and Olga have been an item since childhood. He’s a bit of a celebrity as a poet, so is probably a bit touchy about his friend Onegin, who he is introducing to local society, being seen as more sophisticated and taking the limelight.

He too overreacts to provocation and pays for doing so in the duel scene.

Click to download audition piece 1
Click to download audition piece 2

ONEGIN  Lyric baritone

The vocal range isn’t huge so this role could be considered by a dark sounding tenor or indeed a bass with a solid top register with an F#

Audition pieces pages 73-74, 133-138 and 246-250

Playing age: in the last act he sings that he has been away for six years and is now 25 and not yet married so that fixes his age at 19 at the start and 25 at the end.

He’s something of an enigma and therefore presents a fantastic acting as well as vocal challenge to make the audience understand the ferocity of emotions he generates in others. He is more of a catalyst for action rather than the active driver of it.

I don’t see Onegin as a baddy. He is certainly haughty, snobbish and arrogant but he responds to Tatiana’s letter with more honour than many an aristocrat at the time would have done. There is a very telling line in his main aria saying how he knows only too well how much pain Cupids darts can inflict. This implies that he has been hurt in a previous affair and is protecting either himself or Tatiana from a repeat?  He is also clearly devastated by killing Lensky.

If we remember that’s he’s only supposed to be 19 at the start of the opera then it’s no surprise that he hasn’t yet found a way of presenting himself in a society different to that to which he is accustomed. There is no mention of immediate family who might have given him some ‘ballast’ . I see him as privileged, callow, inexperienced and probably selfish but not without redeeming features.

His journey is in the opposite direction to Tatiana starting the opera aloof and finishing impassioned.

Click to download audition piece 1
Click to download audition piece 2
Click to download audition piece 3

MONSIEUR TRIQUET Tenor

Audition piece 163-165 recit plus one verse

Playing age: flexible

Monsieur Triquet is the local French coach ( remember that French was the court language in Russia).and therefore he is seen as the epitome of high culture to the country landowners which he plays up to usually in a very ‘camp’ way.

Not critical to the plot so can be played many ways but I see it as a buffo role providing some light relief before the drama kicks off.

Has a charming archaic aria.

Click to download audition piece

GREMIN Bass

Audition piece 237-243

Tatiana’s husband playing age 50+

Only appears at the end of the opera but has the star stand alone aria.

He is a Prince, a General and immensely rich so is very powerful. We find he is also a cousin of Onegin. The aria can be seen as a sweet affirmation of the joys of marriage to an older man but given his position and the fact that he must have heard of the scandal surrounding Tatiana and Onegin , I think it more interesting if this character oozes menace and the aria delivered clearly warning Onegin off. Think of a Mafia Godfather  – all smiles and family on the surface but ruthless currents underneath. 

Pushkin’s original novella makes clear that after the scandal of Lensky’s death and Tatiana’s perceived involvement , Larina had to borrow money to take Tatiana to Moscow to tout her round to find a husband. Finding no takers from younger more eligible suitors, Gremin was the only option left. This is important for the last scene where Tatiana knows she cannot risk a second scandal.

Click to download audition piece

Various other smaller roles will be filled by chorus members

For further information and application details, please email Bath Opera’s secretary at secretary.bathopera@hotmail.co.uk

Joining Bath Opera

New members are always welcome to join this friendly company. Bath Opera was delighted to win the Wilfred Roe Trophy for the best opera chorus singing in the South West. We already have a large number of dedicated choral singers, many of whom take solo parts as well. 

Basic membership is just £15 for the year. A show fee is payable if in the main show (£75) and/or the summer tour (£35). Students benefit from a 50% reduction in all fees. Please apply for membership or further details to our secretary Pat Harper at secretary.bathopera@hotmail.co.uk