Eugene Onegin - De Nederlandse Opera, Het Muziektheater Amsterdam, 18 June 2011
By telling the story largely in interactive flashback, Stefan Herheim's new production ingeniously restores elements of Pushkin's verse novel absent from Tchaikovsky's adaptation. Flitting between Pushkin's time and today, Onegin and Tatiana take turns to contemplate their past. At the same time, modern Russia's identity crisis is explored via a procession of national stereotypes from peasant to patriarchs, communists to cosmonauts. This feels over-ambitious, though to be fair it is truthful to the novel, which is drawn on a larger scale than the opera. The production as a whole though is still an extraordinary theatrical experience, enhanced by the brilliant playing of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.