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Dynamic team behind lavish new opera production

Media Release
Issued by The NBR New Zealand Opera

13 July 2009

Dynamic team behind lavish new opera production

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Three dynamic artists – director Patrick Nolan, designer Genevieve Blanchett and conductor Alexander Polianichko – play pivotal roles in The NBR New Zealand Opera’s Genesis Energy season of Tchaikovsky’s great opera, Eugene Onegin, opening on 17 September.

Set in 19th-century Russia and based on Alexander Pushkin’s novel, Eugene Onegin is opera on a magnificent scale with all the opulence and grandeur of the era. The NBR New Zealand Opera’s General Director Aidan Lang says, “While this production is set in period, it’s a newly created version and will be modern in that we’ll be seeing the opera through decidedly 21st-century eyes. And I fully expect our highly talented creative team to bring to our stages work that is fresh, intelligent, musical, exciting, thought-provoking and theatrical.”

Director Patrick Nolan added a refreshing vitality to the overwhelmingly successful La Bohème the opera company staged last year, so for Lang he was an obvious choice for directing Eugene Onegin. “I love the detail and the passion of this story,” Patrick Nolan says, “the vulnerability and fragility of the characters and the way in which Tchaikovsky so beautifully encapsulates that in his music. And I’m really interested in capturing that sense of the everyday. These are real lives: we’re watching complex characters and I think the emotions of the story are very relevant to who we are today. I’m interested in exploring the singers’ approach to the characters from a modern place, even though they might be in period costumes.”

Designer Genevieve Blanchett reiterates that: “With Eugene Onegin, the challenge is to find a way to support the necessary landscapes and lushness of text and make it deeply rooted in reality. It’s a contrast between life in the country and the richness of St Petersburg: how to make it achingly beautiful but not fusty or musty!”

Russian opera wouldn’t be complete without a Russian on the podium. “We’re honoured that acclaimed conductor Alexander Polianichko is joining us from his base at Kirov’s Mariinsky Theatre,” Lang says. “On the podium, Alexander is a force to be reckoned with. He will bring out the very best in both the Auckland Philharmonia and Vector Wellington Orchestras – the music will convey all the power and beauty that Tchaikovsky intended.”

Packing a dramatic and visual punch, The NBR New Zealand Opera’s Genesis Energy season of Eugene Onegin is sung in Russian with English surtitles and opens in Auckland on 17 September and Wellington on 10 October.

The NBR New Zealand Opera’s Genesis Energy season of Eugene Onegin

Opera in Three Acts by Pyotr Il’yich Tchaikovsky

Libretto by the composer, after Pushkin

Sung in Russian with English surtitles

Conductor Alexander Polianichko

Director Patrick Nolan

Designer Genevieve Blanchett

Lighting Designer Bernie Tan

Eugene Onegin William Dazeley

Tatyana Anna Leese

Lensky Roman Shulackoff

Olga Kristen Darragh

Madame Larina Patricia Wright

Prince Gremin Martin Snell

Filipyevna Rosemary Gunn

Zaretsky (Wellington) Roger Wilson

Zaretsky (Auckland) Richard Green

Monsieur Triquet Andrew Glover

A Captain Daniel O’Connor*

With members of the Chapman Tripp Opera Chorus

Accompanied by the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra and the Vector Wellington Orchestra

*PwC Dame Malvina Major Emerging Artist

Genesis Energy season of Eugene Onegin

Auckland – Aotea Centre, THE EDGE®

Thu 17, Sat 19, Thu 24 and Sat 26 September (7:30pm), Tue 22 September (6:30pm)

Wellington – St James Theatre

Sat 10, Thu 15 and Sat 17 October (7:30pm), Tue 13 October (6:00pm)

Single Tickets: $49.50 to $187.50. Concessions available. Service fees apply.

Bookings: The NBR NZ Opera Box Office, Tel (09) 379 4068 or (04) 499 8343, or:

Wellington: Ticketek outlets nationwide, Tel 0800 TICKETEK (0800 842 538) or

Auckland: The Edge Box office, Tel (09) 357 3355 or visit

Further information at

The NBR New Zealand Opera receives core funding from Creative New Zealand

Eugene Onegin is made possible with major sponsorship from Genesis Energy

The Opening Night performances of Eugene Onegin in Auckland and Wellington are gala charity nights in support of the Genesis Oncology Trust. Tickets to these two performances are subject to a voluntary $10 donation with all proceeds going directly to the Trust.


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