Bristol Theatre News

Eugene Onegin Welsh National Opera at The Bristol Hippodrome Review

Eugene Onegin at The Bristol Hippodrome – an accidental review
Wednesday 15 November 2017 at 7pm

The first thing to say about Eugene Onegin at The Bristol Hippodrome last night, was that I was not there to review it. I was there because I really wanted to see it, and see it so much I bought a ticket. I even went alone because none of my friends like me enough to sit through opera, which is quite sad really. The not-sitting-through-opera bit is sad, not the friends issue. And it’s sad because opera is brilliant. Even when you’ve been irritated beyond belief during the incoming at being unable to buy a programme in a timely manner, the music, the drama and the orchestra is a magical mix. Better still is seeing it performed by the Welsh National Opera who we love to have in Bristol.

Eugene Onegin was something I was really excited to watch and it was exciting that it felt exciting. When you watch quite a lot of theatre, it can occasionally become a bit mundane. But that I was transfixed by last night’s performance felt important enough to write about.

In the spirit of disclosure, I really wanted to go and watch Nicholas Lester who was cast as Onegin. After watching him in The Barber of Seville, I’ve decided he’s just the best opera singer and performer ever.

Though I’m only an occasional opera goer, I didn’t know anything about The Tchaikovsky One, the music or the general background.

This opera probably has the simplest story of any I’ve watched. In fact, You barely need to do more than occasionally cast an eye at the surtitles, especially with Natalya Romaniw’s wonderful performance of Tatyana. Her character sings the language of love and unrequited love at that. That language is universal. We’ve all spoken it at one point. Perhaps even sang it ourselves whilst drunk.

Onegin himself is a bit of an arse. He doesn’t do much to redeem himself at any point. By the end, it was great to see a ye olde love story end with the woman telling the man about himself and giving him the boot. Go Tatyana!

Nicholas Lester as Onegin was of course sublime. But it was Joe Roche as Monsieur Triquet who actually stole the show.

The double interval and several scene changes throughout made it a little too stop start at times which dispersed the tension in an unwelcome way. Having said that, I was riveted throughout and it passed the Yawn Test – not one from me until about 10.10pm which was down to a long tiring day rather than boredom.

It’s too late to see Eugene Onegin again in Bristol, but the Welsh National Opera are in Bristol Until Saturday with From the House of the Dead and Die Fledermaus.