Virginia Opera to Stage ‘Eugene Onegin’ at Center for the Arts

Posted: February 6, 2008 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

For the first time in its 33-year history, Virginia Opera is proud to bring a Russian opera to the stage with its new production of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s heart-rending “Eugene Onegin” at Mason’s Center for the Arts on Friday, Feb. 22, at 8 p.m., and Sunday, Feb. 24, at 2 p.m.

A pre-performance discussion will be held 45 minutes prior to each performance on the Center’s Grand Tier III.

Based on the novel-in-verse by Alexander Pushkin, “Eugene Onegin” receives its name from the title character, a young aristocrat whose selfish arrogance causes him to reject the beautiful Tatiana. This, compounded by a fatal duel with his best friend, Lensky, delivers him into a state of tragic regret, desperate to reclaim a lost chance for love.

“It is always exciting to explore completely new areas of the operatic repertoire, and we are thrilled to take our first step into the world of Russian opera with this new production,” says Virginia Opera Artistic Director Peter Mark, who conducts the performance in Fairfax.

To present the most culturally authentic production possible, Mark has brought in talented artists from Russia and the Ukraine, all making company debuts:

  • Russian-Israeli stage director Julia Pevzner, well known for her traditional stagings
  • Russian soprano Veronica Mitina – who like Tchaikovsky and Pushkin hails from St. Petersburg – in her company debut as Tatiana
  • Ukrainian mezzo-soprano Oksana Sitnitska as Olga, Tatiana’s sister
  • New set by Russian-Israeli set designer Alexander Lisiyansky

Also making his company debut in the title role is baritone Jason Detwiler. Lensky is sung by returning tenor Patrick Miller, who was highly praised for his portrayal of Sam Polk in the Virginia Opera premiere of “Susannah” (2006).

The role of the nurse, Filippievna, is sung by internationally acclaimed Metropolitan Opera mezzo-soprano Barbara Dever, who appeared with Virginia Opera as Klytemnestra in “Elektra” (2002) and Azucena in “Il Trovatore” (1989).

New lighting from returning designer Mark McCullough will enhance the powerful new set.

Performances will be sung in Russian with Digitext Supertitles projected above the stage. The estimated running time, including one intermission, is two hours and 50 minutes.

Tickets are $86, $72 and $44 (Friday), and $94, $78 and $48 (Sunday). Charge by phone at 888-945-2468 or visit

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