Who is the main character in the opera “Eugene Onegin” by Tchaikovsky? In the traditional director’s interpretations, it is Tatyana – beautiful as vision, effective with the famous letter and ardently passionate in the final duet, when she admits to Onegin that she loves him, but she asks him to leave her. An absolutely different and very convincing reading of the great Russian work of art made Vera Petrova – stage director at the Sofia Opera. By her the main character is Onegin – he is on the stage all the time, he reacts to the action, even when he is not directly engaged in it. He is the bored alert young man, a little bit haughty and in love with himself, who rejects edifyingly Tatyana’s love, and at the finale he is burning with anguish for her and curses himself: “Oh, my pitiable fate!” Obviously Vera Petrova was guided by Pushkin, by the wonderful verses of the prime source, and this starting point has turned the production into an emotional and spectacular outburst of feelings. Endlessly effective is also the scene with the letter – Tatyana is on the boat, then she unleashes her love words lying down, and at the final of the beautiful aria she just finishes writing the letter on scattered sheets and ties up her writing with a blue ribbon. Ominous and strong is the scene with the duel, in which the stage director skilfully has put on the foreground the horror and the despair of Onegin himself, disgusted from what he has just done – the murder of his best friend.
In this magnificent and original director’s conception glares a splendid ensemble of voices, with which each theatre should be proud. The amazingly beautiful and loud-voiced Natalia Pavlova, a guest-performer from the Mariinsky theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia, for whom the singing has no secrets, the rich baritone of Atanas Mladenov, mature and wise in the difficult part of Onegin, the flowing tenor Rosen Nenchev, to whom the chance will yet smile with roles like Don Ottavio (“Don Giovanni”) and Nemorino (“L’elisir d’amore”), the stable and full of much colour bass Angel Hristov. Best words for Aleksandrina Stoyanova-Andreeva, Gloria Kaneva, Vesela Yaneva, Stefan Dimitrov, Dimitar Stanchev and the colourful Triquet of Krasimir Dinev. The conductor Zhorzh Dimitrov breathes with the singers. The chorus, conducted by Violeta Dimitrova is on a world level. Behind the ensemble sounding of the soloists and generally behind the unproblematic singing stays not whoever, but Larissa Gergieva. With “Eugene Onegin” in the production of Vera Petrova, the Sofia Opera reminded the great ensemble spectacles of the Sofia Opera from the ‘70s and the ‘80s. Let us remember that the Sofia Opera has traditions regarding “Eugene Onegin”. People still talk about the baritone Mihail Lyutskanov in the title role and about his successor – Asen Selimski, about Julia Wiener and Blagovesta Karnobatska as Tatyana, about Ghiuselev as Prince Gremin, even about Mr. Triquet of Kiril Dyulgerov. But let us now talk about “Eugene Onegin” of Vera Petrova! There is nothing to wonder in her success – she is daughter of the great Bulgarian bass Petar Petrov, whose participation in “Eugene Onegin” with the role of Prince Gremin was applauded not only in our country, but also on the world opera stages.