Tchaikovsky wrote opera?
Yes, he did, and Livermore Valley Opera presents his most famous Russian opera, "Eugene Onegin," at the Bankhead Theater from Sept. 28 to Oct. 6. The fully staged opera is a passionate drama, filled with the some of the composer's most sweepingly romantic music.
"This is a beautiful opera about love denied, unfulfilled, and love lost set to Tchaikovsky's best music," artistic director Erie Mills said.
This extravagant production was designed to transport audiences to the courtly elegance of 19th century Russia. The story is based on Alexander Pushkin's human verse drama, the bittersweet tale of a love that could have been.
Stage direction is by Candace Evans, and the orchestra is conducted by music director Alex Katsman, who is Russian-born with degrees from St. Petersburg Rimsky-Korsakov State Conservatory and Mussorgsky College of Music in St. Petersburg.
"This opera requires a powerful cast and LVO's cast is wonderful, completely sung in Russian," Mills said. "With the projection of English supertitles, the audience will not miss a word."
The cast features American baritone Morgan Smith, known for his dramatic portrayals and the power and beauty of his voice, who will perform the title role of Eugene Onegin.
Ukrainian-born soprano Antonina Chehovska sings the role of Tatiana, who is initially rejected by Onegin. The New York Times declared that her "heartfelt 'Letter Scene' from Tchaikovsky's 'Eugene Onegin' made her an audience favorite."
Tenor Kyle van Schoonhoven, a recent graduate of the world renowned Adler Fellowship at the San Francisco Opera, will sing the role of Lensky. His most recent performance of Wagner's "Mein Lieber Schwan" at San Francisco's War Memorial Opera House was praised as a "revelation" by the San Francisco Chronicle.
On Sept. 28, an Opening Night Gala dinner will be held at 4 p.m. at Uncle Yu's at the Vineyard, across the street from the Bankhead Theater. Evans and Katsman will meet with guests and provide opera insights. The gala will include traditional Russian desserts, wine and a coffee bar at the Bankhead lobby at 6:30 p.m.
All performances will include lectures one hour prior to curtain time, as well as an artists' reception in the lobby immediately afterward.
What: Tchaikovsky's "Eugene Onegin"
Who: Livermore Valley Opera
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturdays; 2 p.m. Sundays; Sept. 28-Oct. 6
Where: Bankhead Theater, 2400 First St., Livermore
Tickets: Regular adult pricing: $42-$90
Ages 40 and under: $40
Ages 20 and under: $20
Gala tickets: an additional $95
Call 373-6800, visit lvpac.org, or go to the box office.