Onegin - May 2011
Eugene Onegin - Stag Theatre Sevenoaks - 18th to 21st May 2011
Pyotr Tchaikovsky's semi-tragic opera written in 1879 and performed
last week by Kentish Opera at the Stag Theatre in Sevenoaks was
certainly up to the high standard that we have learnt to expect
from this vibrant and imaginative company.
I was especially
struck by the chorus, their singing and diction was of a very
good quality, both men and women. They were polished, acted well,
produced a great sound and what's more, they clearly enjoyed
it enormously! The addition of the two puppets was a innovative
idea and although handling them must have been tricky, they really
managed to make them 'come alive' in the their well-executed
It would be unfair
to single out any of the soloists, although I was impressed with
Tatyana's (Ruth Kerr) stamina and skill as she kept up her long
aria while writing her letter to Onegin with apparent ease. I
found Onegin (Peter Grevatt) a little stilted in this part. Olga
(Maria Jones) slipped easily into the part of the pretty, frivolous
coquette that she was and Lensky (Stephen Brown) had all the
qualities of the dreamy young poet. They made a most attractive
pair as they danced together, before Olga's apparent betrayal
leading to the fatal duel.
Much praise to
Carol Stevenson for producing such wonderful costumes, in particular
of course for the subtle blend the colours of the dresses for
the ball scene, it really was a feast!
A special mention
for the ubiquitous Monsieur Triquet, played by Christopher Ovenden
who stepped into the Ball scene and, dare I say it, almost stole
the show, with his slick wit, exaggerated French accent and flowery
From my position
at the back of the theatre, the orchestra, skilfully handled
by Mark Fitzgerald, appeared to keep a steady balance of sound,
which did not overpower the singers. A lovely bit of oboe playing
Final mention of
course is due to the director, Sally Langford, for the hardest
work of all. Her magic touch definitely shone through in this
It is always a
pleasure to visit a new group in my area and Kentish Opera certainly
were welcoming on my arrival. Their production of 'Eugene Onegin'
at the Stag Theatre in Sevenoaks this week is certainly an excellent
evening's entertainment. From the moment the tabs opened to the
last curtain call it was a joy to watch in many ways.
The Set designed by Enid Stutt was very open with the colour
scheme teamed in autumn hues. The superb costumes by Carol Stevenson
showed a great deal of thought and talent had gone into getting
the opening to conjure up the feel of the autumn. Internal scenes
were cleverly positioned, one didn't need huge bricks and mortar
look-a- likes, this was simple and very effective. There were
seven scenes and all were executed in the same way, just perfect.
had a huge task to costume this 'Eugene Onegin' with a cast of
about 65 there wasn't a costume that looked as if it had been
duplicated, they were superb in every way, style, period and
Four excellent leading ladies in the hands of Ruth Kerr (Tatyana)
Maria Jones (Olga) Maria Brown (Madame Larina) as the elegant
Mother and Katy Bingham Best in the role of Filippyevna, the
family's old nurse. As were Peter Grevatt ( Eugene Onegin) and
Stephen Brown (Vladimir Lensky) all these were faultless in their
portrayals both in singing and acting. Smaller roles were all
in very capable hands, an excellent cameo from Christopher Overton
(Monsieur Triquet) and Paul Hodges a good stage presence for
(Prince Germin) very regal indeed. They were ably supported by
Richard Broadly, Ian Alexander, Patrick Reynolds and Edmund Henderson.
The chorus supported the leads well, sounding great and well
rehearsed. They looked stunning throughout, but especially in
the ballroom scene in act three, due to the wonderful costumes.
I particularly liked the chorography (Terry John Bates) the movement
in act one was superb with the well devised puppetry. Added to
this was the mood lighting by Colin Martin, he lit the whole
production magnificently, this is very rare these days.
The orchestra under the baton of Mark Fitz-Gerald could not be
more professional in its presentation.
Sally Langford your production of this 'Eugene Onegin' was very
professional and you took your huge cast and worked them to a
very high standard. This production was directed with a great
attention to detail in all areas. Your cast have done you proud.
Thank you Kentish Opera for your invitation. I totally enjoyed
my first evening with you.
District 5 NODA SE
19th May 2011
Dear Sally and
evening for our little group - we did so enjoy it last night
- several said to me "The best yet!"
The choruses are
always such fun to watch as well as listen to, there is always
something happening in every direction, not to be missed, accompanied
by the wonderful singing of your faithful chorus,
We loved the staging
and the simplicity of the sets that gradually became more detailed
as the story unfolded - and then the grandeur of the ballroom
scene and those wonderful costumes filled the stage.
We all marvel at
how you can continue to produce such splendid entertainment for
us year upon year - with always fresh ideas and sights and sounds
for our enjoyment.
to you and all who back you in your efforts, Enid Strutt, Carol
Stevenson and Colin Martin and your faithful chorus, not forgetting
Good luck for the
rest of the week and we look forward to our next visit.
Very best wishes
to you all,
20th May 2011