NI Opera’s production of Eugene Onégin coming to the Grand Opera House

Tchaikovsky’s classic brings an internationally renowned cast to Belfast

Tracey Brothers is expected to begin the restoration of the Grand Opera House at the end of January 2020
NI Opera’s production of Eugene Onégin opens at the Grand Opera House in September

NORTHERN Ireland Opera has announced its principal cast and creatives for its staging of Tchaikovsky’s operatic masterpiece Eugene Onégin, which will be performed in Belfast this September.

Based on Russian poet and playwright Alexander Pushkin’s classic novel in verse and composed by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Eugene Onégin is considered a Russian classic.

It sees the bored, superfluous Onégin live to regret his rejection of the young, shy Tatyana and remorse for his fatal duel with his best friend Lensky.

The production will be directed in the Grand Opera House by NI Opera’s critically acclaimed artistic director and chief executive Cameron Menzies. This will be the company’s fourth full-scale operatic production during his tenure.

Eugene Onégin Show artwork

Menzies’ vision for this production will draw on influences from the fallen imperial opulence of the Tzars to the communist era aesthetic and futuristic utilitarian worlds.

“It’s such a thrill to be staging this moving and potent masterpiece which looks deeply into the soul of human nature in all its varied ways,” he says.

“I am very proud to be working with a highly talented and sophisticated cast of singers and immense creative forces, all masters in their own disciplines.”

It will also feature a range of Northern Ireland talent as well as renowned international names.

Principal Female Cast - Group headshots (L-R Mary McCabe, Carolyn Dobbin, Sarah Richmond and Jenny Bourke
Eugene Onégin principal female cast, from left, Mary McCabe, Carolyn Dobbin, Sarah Richmond and Jenny Bourke

Performing in the principal female roles of Tatyana, Madame Larina, Olga and Filipevna are Mary McCabe, Carolyn Dobbin, Sarah Richmond and Jenny Bourke. Notably, this production will be Bourke and Richmond’s main stage debuts with Northern Ireland Opera while McCabe makes her operatic principal mainstage debut in the role of Tatyana.

Internationally renowned conductor Dominic Limburg will also be making his Belfast debut as he leads the orchestra – a new ensemble of local instrumentalists brought together for the first time in an exciting fresh development for the company.

Ukrainian baritone Yuriy Yurchuk who performed in Northern Ireland Opera’s productions of La Boheme (2021) and La Traviata (2022) - which was the Grand Opera House’s fastest selling opera ever - returns in this titular role. Yurchuk is no stranger to this opera, having performed it on several occasions, most recently at the New National Theatre in Tokyo earlier this year.

American tenor Norman Reinhardt is cast as Onegin’s friend turned rival Vladimir Lensky and Aaron O’Hara will play Monsieur Triquet with Niall Anderson as Prince Gremin.

Principal Male leads (L-R Yuriy Yurchuck, Norman Reinhardt)
Eugene Onégin principal male leads Yuriy Yurchuck, pictured ledt, and Norman Reinhardt

NI Opera’s 35-strong locally based chorus will join this production to present some of the most rousing and well-loved chorus pieces in the operatic canon.

“At NI Opera we take great care nurturing and promoting local artists into main stage debuts, developing our chorus by performing these great compositions and to be able to attract international talent to come and work with the company. Onégin is set to be a production that you won’t want to miss” adds Menzies.

Eugene Onégin will open at the Grand Opera House from September 14–21. goh.co.uk