Bold. Brave. Brilliant.

Desert Island Opera

Ryan Taylor – February 6, 2015

Ever since jumping headlong into the opera industry – first as a performer and then on the administrative side of the table – I’ve noticed that lots of people are curious whether I’m willing or able to name my very favorite opera. I’ve never been particularly good at choosing favorites. That said, should I ever find myself banished to a desert island, with the mysterious rule that I can only take along a few opera recordings with me, Eugene Onegin would easily make it into that first handful I would grab as I was pulled from my home!

Initially skeptical that Pushkin’s incredible novel in verse would translate well to the stage, Tchaikovsky was ultimately convinced by the potential of the story’s social commentary, as well as the rich character development that might be revealed by his musical treatment. The final product is unique in its simplicity, beauty of vocal line, and forthright honesty. The opera doesn't rely on over-the-top operatic, fairy-tale conceits, mistaken identities, or legendary warfare. Rather, it focuses on the constant, realistic struggles of the mind and the heart.

Eugene Onegin: Opera and the Human Experience

We all share the human traits of romantic longing, intellectual competitiveness, and societal structure. We all want success in life and love, and experience teaches us that while the journey is worth pursuing to the best of our ability, none of us can ever really have it all. This opera is visually and musically rich, while the performances are nuanced and intimate. We’ve assembled a brilliant group of artists to bring this piece to our stages in Tucson and Phoenix, all of whom share unbelievable artistic curiosity and unfailing commitment to their role.

We’ve just entered a new year and emerged from another joyous but frenetic holiday season, which alternately brings out the best and worst in our shared humanity. It feels like the perfect time to connect with these characters, whose joy and hope give way to regret and despair -- without letting us forget that the wheel of fortune is bound to turn upward again soon. I hope this experience leaves us feeling more human, more connected, and more confident in our own strength and perseverance as we navigate the greater journey together. And I hope that if you ever have the misfortune to be stranded on a desert island, you’re lucky enough to have Onegin and Tatiana along to keep you company!