A young Tatyana sees Eugene Onegin for the first time and falls in love. She declares her feelings in a letter to him and he rejects her. Onegin is visiting with his best friend Lensky who is engaged to Tatyana's sister Olga. A birthday party follows where a jealous Lensky gets into a fight with Onegin who's dancing with Olga.
It escalates into a deadly duel that neither man can see his way out of despite second thoughts all round. And so it goes in the thrwarted love, dramatic opera Eugene Onegin which Houston Grand Opera is presenting for its second opera of this season. American Norman Reinhardt sings the Lensky role and describes his character as: “Fun. He's not the smartest; he's not the cleverest which is pretty normal for a tenor. They usually aren't.” The plot itself doesn't make a lot of sense from time to time, he says, but the music by Tchaikovsky makes it wonderful.
“I think it's a great piece and I think the story is at least somewhat accessible,” Reinhardt says. “Again it doesn't always make sense because Lensky's jealousy is not in any way logical. Because Onegin hasn't really done anything. Neither of them has really done anything so terrible in reality to produce a duel.”
Reinhardt, who grew up in North Carolina and spent five years using Germany as a home base, has just settled in Houston. As Lensky, Reinhardt doesn't get to make it to the final part of the opera (but he does especially like the music in his death scene), by which time Tatyana has transformed herself and is married to Prince Gremin who is very happy with her. But then Onegin pops up again, realizes he does love Tatyana and she still loves him. But being honorable, she rejects him.
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Bring out the hankies. If the story doesn't get you, the music will. 7:30 p.m. Fridays, Saturday and Tuesday and 2 p.m. Sunday. 501 Texas. Through November 13. For information call 1-800-626-7372 or visit houstongrandopera.org. Sung in Russian with English projections. $15 - $357.50.