In the story of Tchaikovsky’s great opera Eugene Onegin, which Mid Wales Opera are touring this Spring to venues across Wales, the course of true love really does not run smooth! However for Stephanie Windsor-Lewis, singing the role of Larina in Mid Wales Opera’s production, the opera has a very special romantic connection.
Stephanie, who previously sang the role of Olga (sister to the opera’s heroine Tatyana) in Mid Wales Opera Artistic Directors’ Jonathan and Richard Studer’s production of the show for their own company Opera Project, has now switched roles and is playing Olga’s mother Larina – she is hoping with a bit of wrinkle effect make-up and a greying wig!
“My husband and I met once, a month before the show, and as an excuse to come and see me again he wanted to watch a show I was involved in. He was a complete opera novice so did lots of research before coming so that he didn’t come across like he didn’t know anything! We went for dinner afterwards and it was pretty much love at first sight”
Stephanie, who lives near Machynlleth, is no stranger to Mid Wales Opera’s touring venues and teaches singing to several of the members of AberOpera who will be joining the company in the chorus for the performance at Aberystwyth Arts Centre on Wednesday February 28th.
Mezzo Stephanie’s star-studded career begin with training in Florence and Bologna and has taken her across the world including a gala concert in Singapore with renowned tenor Josè Carreras as well as performances with English National Opera, at the Venice Biennale and the New York Met.
She won first prizes in the Benvenuto Franci competition and the Premio Crescendo Competition in Florence, and was a finalist in the Ernst Haefligger Competition in Switzerland.
She’s looking forward to getting started in the role of Larina and told us: “Onegin is a fascinating piece. Firstly, I love the rich orchestration and harmony; the sweeping Romantic lines alongside Russian folk elements are intriguing.”
We first meet Larina at home with her daughters, the bookish Tatyana whose story Eugene Onegin tells, and her sister Olga – more at home with music and dancing, as well as their maid Filipyevna. Their quiet rural life is interrupted by the arrival of Olga’s fiancée Lensky and his jaded friend Onegin – with whom Tatyana falls immediately in love.
She writes him a long and deeply moving letter declaring her love, filled with the drama and pathos of a young girl’s passion and dreams. Tatyana’s love letter is rejected by Onegin, who feels he is not a man cut out for marriage. At a party for Tatyana’s birthday, he becomes annoyed with neighbours gossiping about their relationship and deliberately flirts and dances with her sister Olga, who is engaged to his friend Lensky. In a jealous rage Lensky and Onegin argue – and agree to a duel, ending in Lensky’s untimely death.
Mid Wales Opera’s 2018 Spring tour marks a key moment in the company’s 30 year history – their first ever production of Tchaikovsky’s lyrical masterpiece Eugene Onegin.
With a cast which mixes rising stars with more established talent, and an orchestra supplied by Wales based chamber music specialists Ensemble Cymru, the nine venue tour promises to be a real treat for Welsh audiences.
Eugene Onegin opens at Hafren in Newtown on February 24th and tickets are already on sale – dates and details are below.
Eugene Onegin 2018
24/2/18 Hafren, Newtown
28/2/18 Aberystwyth Arts Centre
8/3/18 Pontio Bangor
16/3/18 The Riverfront, Newport
18/3/18 Theatr Clwyd, Mold
21/3/18 Theatr Brycheiniog, Brecon
29/3/18 Ffwrnes, Llanelli
4/4/18 Torch Theatre, Milford Haven
10/4/18 The Courtyard, Hereford
For more information please visit: www.midwalesopera.co.uk