Eugene Onegin

Commissioned by Theater Basel, Switzerland

Music by Tchaikovsky

Director: Tim Hopkins
Design Realiser: Pippa Nissen
Costume Designer: Tania Spooner
Choreographer: Kate Brown
Lighting Designer: Hermann Münzer

The location of the story is changed to an abstracted 1950’s Russia. The set is a road, winding to infinity. The walls are made up of an over-scaled wooden texture, with mechanical slots – like a machine. Cartoon drawings onto translucent screens are back-drops that fit into these for every scene, gradually revealing the road as the opera progresses. These backdrops are dioramas, so that when they are lit from the front they reveal another image that appears to glow from behind. The beginning of the opera starts within the revealed road as a whole – at the same point at which the opera ends. The whole opera is viewed as if Eugene Onegin is re-looking at various points of his life, at the follies of his youth.

The reality and the theatricality of the set is translated through film. At the beginning of the second act a film illustrates an orchestral passage in the music showing his adventures. Film is projected on a small lecture screen on the stage, operated by children dressed up as the main characters who introduce the world of the film. The set appears on film, at various scales of model. For example a 1:10 model which Eugene Onegin crawls around. This becomes re-presented through drawings and model.