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Your reaction: Eugene Onegin in cinemas

Tweets about the live relay of Kasper Holten's directorial debut with The Royal Opera.

By Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media)

21 February 2013 at 11.25am | 24 Comments

Your reaction: Eugene Onegin in cinemas

Tweets about the live relay of Kasper Holten's directorial debut with The Royal Opera.

Storified by Royal Opera House· Thu, Feb 21 2013 03:22:18

A selection of your comments about the experience...
Went to cinema to see live feed of #ROHEugeneOnegin and was absolutely bowled over. Intensely moving - using young doubles made it more so.Chris Brazier
@RoyalOperaHouse it was my 1st opera experience, it was amazing, I loved it! #ROHEugeneOnegin still on a high this morning.Monique P
Struggled to empathise w/ characters in #roheugeneonegin tonight. Great performance but sets/ acting too stark, too inner focused for me.Rahul Pinto Kamath
Loved the performances and the brilliant meaningful staging decisions, like Tatyana retreating inside the bookcase #roheugeneoneginMagpie_Elle
Eugene Onegin: The main characters - The Royal Operaroyaloperahouse
#roheugeneonegin Loved in cinema - music, singing & acting, not sure about direction. Gremin on in last scene weakens Tatyana's resolve.Gil Skidmore
#ROHEugeneOnegin absorbing production tho wrong wrong wrong bring Gremin on in last scene!!! Bravo Tatyana & LenskyJules Cassidy
Well I didn't expect to be so impressed by #ROHEugeneOnegin live relay. Powerful performances which came over well on the big screen.Mary Anne Poxton
Young Tatyana writhing in orgasmic ecstacy was a little unnecessary too. Didn't enjoy the production. Left at the interval #rohEugeneOneginDolphin Diver
Eugene Onegin: The role of the The Royal Opera Chorusroyaloperahouse
Also loved how memories were invoked by more & more objects on the stage at #roheugeneonegin Very #emthings!Katy Barrett
Could do with more wide shots though. Closeups tend to spoil the illusion, particularly with young Tatyana. #ROHEugeneOneginMoray Macdonald
#ROHEugeneOnegin The big screen adds extraordinary extra dimension with the close ups. Pictures/Sound outstanding.Paddy Briggs
As a ridiculously bookish person, I found the scene where the young Tatyana tore a book to pieces rather tragic and brutal #ROHeugeneoneginIl Dolce Suono
#ROHEugeneOnegin was magnificently sung and played and the production really worked for me. Aching with lost opportunity. Very movingMichael Llewellyn
Thom Rackett as Young Eugene Onegin and Vigdis Hentze Olsen as Young Tatyana in Eugene Onegin © ROH / Bill Cooper 2013Royal Opera House Covent Garden
Your comments on the cast...
Going to bed now - may dream of Simon Keenlyside, this is the best performance of his I've seen! #ROHeugeneoneginJane Ennis
Fab 2nd viewing of HD #ROHEugeneOnegin Krassimira Stoyanova took my breath away.What a voice! Love Pavol too!! Amazing cast & production Annette
The ballet dancers/younger versions of Eugene and Tatyana were good once I had worked out exactly what they represented #ROHeugeneoneginIl Dolce Suono
#ROHeugeneonegin #PavolBreslik was a wonderful Lensky - extra points for lying completely still and resisting sleep during Part II!Kate Oakley
Simon Keenlyside as Eugene Onegin and Krassimira Stoyanova as Tatyana in Eugene Onegin © ROH / Bill Cooper 2013Royal Opera House Covent Garden

What did you think of Eugene Onegin in cinemas?

By Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media)

21 February 2013 at 11.25am

This article has been categorised Opera and tagged by Kasper Holten, cinema, Eugene Onegin, Production, Social Media, twitter, your reaction

This article has 24 comments

  1. Eleanor Dent responded on 21 February 2013 at 11:47am Reply

    Loved everything about it! Only spoiled by the fact that the heating wasn't working in Cardiff Cineworld on a bitterly cold night. Apparently this is the fourth time recently an opera has been relayed there with no heating in cinema. I have asked for a refund and will bring a flask of hot soup and a hot water bottle next time.

  2. John Galpin responded on 21 February 2013 at 1:13pm Reply

    The idea of using doubles for the novel "flashback approach" worked well in one respect. It allowed outstanding vocal work from singers who are in other respects too old for the parts they portray. But I don't remember Onyegin being a jocular flirt in Pushkin, which he was here. He is more a boorish and bored minor aristocrat than was portrayed. It may also be a problem of filming but his clothes looked dirty or even a bit threadbare some of the time. Was this intentional? In other respects the flashback approach had mixed results. Sometimes it did add something to the "persistence of memory" but in others, notably the letter writing scene it seemed more to confuse than add emotional impact. Whilst at times Tatyanas double was pleasantly expressive but occasionally her excessive writhing and pawing by others seemed excessive, even unnecessary. Sometimes less is more. And that particularly applies to Peter Rose (who was his usual excellent self) It was clear from his earlier interaction with Onyegin that he knew exactly what the situation was and was very unhappy about it. His presence during the farewell scene was actually a major distraction, his stage presence is hardly one you can ignore, and rather diminished the emotional focus and impact of the final duet.

    I should add the chorus were really excellent and the lighting generally worked well although at times some of the dresses were a bit "black blobs" which didn't make the most of the textures which were at other times clearly part of the desired effect.

    Overall all four of us were glad we went but found it a bit of a curates egg. The La Boheme transmission last month was much more coherent and effective.

  3. jose responded on 21 February 2013 at 2:50pm Reply

    i like the voices, but i do not like the dualism in scene , in a first level , maybe on the horizont better . Also I do not like the Lensky dead body present during the last scene .

  4. Richard Regan responded on 21 February 2013 at 2:53pm Reply

    I saw Eugene Onegin at ROH last night, 20 Feb. The production including scenery was frightful, the costumes mostly also very bad. I have seen many productions of Onegin and this is the unique one in making me hope I never have to see it again ie that it will not be revived. The monstrous, overbearing all purpose set did not suit any of the scenes well and got in the way nearly all the time. Black costumes for the chorus were inappropriate and moreso for the landowners. Red for Tatiana was worse. The doubles, I agree with most commentators, RUINED all the scenes in which they appeared, especially the Letter Scene where the double distracted from and neutered the highly charged and sympathetic feelings we feel for Tatiana. The duel scene was ludicrous with extraneous movement and Lensky not firing. Madam Larina’s party for Tatiana looked like a wake from the start. Prince Gremin’s reception and the Polonaise were thrown away. Having the body of Lensky onstage throughout was unnecessary and cruel to the excellent Pavol Breslik – why did he agree to it – nothing was added thereby (likewise for all the detritus of snow, twigs and books and other rubbish). A concert performance would have been much better. Both Stoyanova and Keenlyside were superb and both acted so well that they were only reduced by the awkward doubles. Ticciati and the Orchestra were wonderful. I really think that Holten failed abysmally in directing Onegin. Has ROH made a big mistake here or can his ego be controlled?

  5. Francine responded on 21 February 2013 at 3:52pm Reply

    This was a sensational production in all respects. The young Vigdis Hentze's performance was sooo moving. The scenery was spectacular. The director did an extremely clever and sensitive job, and of course the main protagonists were fabulous. Loved it!

  6. john hammond responded on 21 February 2013 at 4:43pm Reply

    A disappointing evening. The use of doubles took away any chance of sympathising with Tatiana and Lensky. The emotion expressed by both excellent singers was lost be the distraction of the young doubles. The cameras threw us from one to the other. We normally grumble about the producers but with the current cinema showings from both Covent Garden and the Met the cameras dictate and so
    much is lost when the multitudinous close-ups instantly kill the overall atmosphere of the story.
    Maybe it is a good thing, to drive us all back into the theatre where we should be!

  7. robina responded on 21 February 2013 at 5:18pm Reply

    I agree with Richard Reagan. A cluttered, fussy and altogether messy production. Singing excellent, but I am fed up with 'watching' opera with closed eyes. WHY assume that all audiences are too dim to follow the story as told by the composer and librettist, without being benefit of 'interpretation'? Stoyanova is too old to be even the later Tatyana, so why the close ups?? Olga looked like an apple dumpling.

  8. D. Eaton responded on 21 February 2013 at 5:19pm Reply

    Love the music, the voices and the set. although why the dead tree, was this symbolic? But the device of the older selves telling the story was clumsy and unnecessary. What was the point?

  9. john hammond responded on 21 February 2013 at 5:31pm Reply

    The orchestra, as always, was superb, with passionate conducting. The singers gave fine performances in spite of the distractions.

  10. jane combes responded on 21 February 2013 at 6:12pm Reply

    It took our breath away, all we wrinklies loved it, though the excitement, sensuousness set our pulses racing!
    The cinema was full, which is a well deserved reward for your wonderful productions.

  11. Steve Brown responded on 21 February 2013 at 6:24pm Reply

    I found it hard to understand why the production had attracted so many negative reviews. The device of the doubles worked brilliantly for me: the compassion that the older Tatiana had for her younger self was very moving, and the moment when the younger Onegin brought his older self back to a sense of responsibility for his actions by handing him the pistol with which he had just killed his friend, was chilling. The sense of young illusions shattered and regrets of the middle-aged was powerfully conveyed. Astonishing performances from Stoyanova and Breslik in particular. I loved Holten's Ring Cycle and I'm delighted we'll see more of his productions in the UK.

    • exiledai responded on 22 February 2013 at 4:45pm

      Couldn't agree more. Stuffed shirts versus enlightened innovators! Need more like this to widen opera's audience. A truly marvellous production expressing the dramatic sensuality and emotion that Pushkin would have recognised and appreciated.

  12. Very enjoyable evening. Very impressed of this E.Onjegin. Dreaming and impressive staging. Love all of it. Have seeing many E. Onjegin and this of K. Holten made a very deep impression. Thank you very much to all singer dancer orkestra and the great corus.
    I hope we will have a DVD soon!

  13. Two Tatianas and Oneguins couldn`t change the course of events and bring more happiness to these characters: not even Gremin escape! Demolishing.

  14. louise smethurst responded on 22 February 2013 at 11:28am Reply

    What wonderful value - £10 to see Eugene Onegin from the ROH - and what a performance. Gripped from the first to last moment by the outstanding set, the wonderful voices and the exquisite acting. I saw Les Miserables last week (great mistake) and I think the cast of Eugene Onegin deserve all the Oscars going!!! It knocks it into a cocked hat!!!!

  15. Geoff Thompson responded on 22 February 2013 at 5:38pm Reply

    Oh the close ups! Just because you can doesn't mean you should! I want to see the opera as though I was there. Trios and quartets were ruined by not being able to see all singers involved, and it seems from a close up of the bookshelves that a country house in 1820s Russia had a copy of Parliamentary Proceedures; Commons! Of course, we were never meant to see the titles of the books as they were meant to been seen from a distance.

  16. Bob Duffield responded on 23 February 2013 at 9:36am Reply

    I viewed at the Brewery, Kendal, and it was my first occasion to see opera at a cinema. I loved the experience and look forward to more occasions. I would have welcomed surtitles to know what was going on. Knowing the plot was not enough. I have not seen Eugene Onegin before and so it was a wonderful musical revelation. The singers were first rate. Bravo for doing this broadcast.

    • Ellen West (Head of Creative Studios and Digital Products) responded on 23 February 2013 at 6:51pm

      Dear Bob

      Subtitles are in fact part of the broadcast - this must have been an issue with the cinema you were watching at. Sorry to hear that the experience was not all it should have been: I'll mention to the ROH Cinema team.

      Best wishes


  17. HILARY MELLOWS responded on 24 February 2013 at 5:35pm Reply

    Just home after a deeply moving viewing of Onegin. I have seen many productions of this opera and really know it well. This version was wonderful. The inner feelings of Tatiana and Onegin were cleverly portrayed,giving much depth and for the first time I had sympathy for him. There was so much sublime singing that I would love a second chance to see the film.

  18. Spiritual Quest responded on 24 February 2013 at 6:12pm Reply

    First time I've been to cinema and seen live feed of an opera, would definately go again. Production was excellent although Part I seemed very slow and rather too long for me however, Part II whizzed by. The cast were amazing, fanatstic voices, convincing performances. Well done all!!

  19. Christine Cooper responded on 25 February 2013 at 12:48pm Reply

    On the whole my husband and I enjoyed the production but at Bolton, subtitles were absent. This meant that we missed many details in the performance as neither of us speak Russian, although the gist of the plot was obvious. The cinema was packed and remained so after the interval, despite subtitle mutterings from some members of the audience. I thought Lensky was particularly fine.

  20. Graham Johnson responded on 28 February 2013 at 10:00am Reply

    Loved the sound, production was very different from the norm - but acceptable. The facial acting by Tatyana and Onegin was superb and heart wrenching. I knew exactly how they felt as we saw the young characters interact. Just one thing - the volume was too much. Is it at ROH or the cinema where the adjustment could be made?
    Otherwise a wonderful evening, thank-you.

  21. Hello from Prague. Probably, the non - heated cinemas for opera transmissions are some sort of epidemy - the one I went to wasn´t overwarmed either... :-) Considering it was heavily snowing outside and I was sitting in my winter coat, sipping a hot tea with rhum, I had a particulary "Russian" feeling... :-) Anyway, warned by previous critical feedbacks, I was keen to see if the "dance doublers" idea is working or not. Well - after my oppinion, the idea is not bad in general, but would need a different choreography - particulary the crawly creepy young Tatiana (nothing against the dancer herself! Very professional!) in the letter scene was a bit "out of the shape". But I loved the whole idea of "looking back" and "gathering memories". Altogether - there were some gaga moments, but I could feel from every scene, that Holten just sooo much anylyzes and thinks about and loves the opera. Therefore I can pardon a lot, as it was oversophisticated from a sheer enthousiasm, and not because of lack of literacy or incompetency. You know, I am used to nowadays "modern" inscenations made sometimes in Czech Republic - the directors approach is sometimes "OK, I have no clue what should I do with this opera, but it must be utterly modern, so, aha, let´s put Tatiana on a motorbike". Therefore I am grateful if I see comittment - and it no doubt was there from Holten´s part. To all complaining ones, I would advice " you should have seen the Munich´s disgusting, deprived - of - any - beauty - and style - inscenation, with maybe an interesting idea (Onegin being a gay), but totally screwed visually...But back to ROH: Of course all singers were great - Lenskij (and, yes, bravo for mastering his "corpse" duty in the last part), Tatiana - a very sincere and likeable and agreeable Krassimira Stoyanova - and of course the fabulous Simon Keenlyside. His Onegin´s "carefree" and "non-committed" way of walking through the life was in a sharp contrast with his final confession to Tatiana - and I think he made everyone believe, he is really now ripping his heart to shreads absolutely sincerly. Anyway, he made Tatiana to believe... :-) Also, please notice, she says "I will remain truthfull and loyal wife" and only AFTER she says so, she sees Gremin. So, her decision was hers, and not forced by her husband´s appearance! And of course I enjoyed no end the comic moments during the Larina´s feast - Onegin so cutely sipping from his flask - veeery stylish! :-)) Altogether, it was a very nice opera evening for me.

  22. Linda Cowan responded on 16 April 2013 at 11:38pm Reply

    I was ravished by this "show" -- show me the DVD! Keenlyside and Stoyanova? Sigh...

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