Arts and Entertainment

Vashon opera aims to bring a bit of Russia to the island

Island opera lovers are advised to get their tickets now for the sure-to-be-sold-out presentation of “Eugene Onegin,” to be staged by Vashon Opera May 16, 18 and 20 at Bethel Church.

The opera combines lush music by Tchaikovsky with a compelling story by the great Russian poet Alexander Pushkin and has a star-studded cast of professional singers.

The opera will be sung in Russian, with English supertitles projected above the stage.

Baritone Andrew Krikawa will perform the title role, and his wife, soprano Jennifer Krikawa, will sing the role of Tatyana.

Jennifer, who is also the artistic director of the opera company, enthused about the rest of the cast, giving credit to the production’s musical director Jim Brown for pulling together an extraordinary ensemble for the production.

“He has connections in the singing world that enable us to bring in these spectacular artists, find replacements in a day for any part in any language,” she said. “He is how we can make this happen.”

She said she was thrilled to have recruited young tenor Anthony Kalil — who has been invited to be a part of the ultra-prestigious Lindemann Young Artist Development Program at the Metropolitan Opera next year — to play the role of Lensky in the opera.

“He is going to be a huge star,” she said.

Mezzo-sopranos Cynthia Cook, Beth Madsen Bradford and Nerys Jones also have principal roles.

Baritone Charles Robert Stephens, Pacific Lutheran faculty member Glenn Guhr and Islander Kevin Joyce are also in the cast.

Joyce, a well-known Island performer, is making his opera debut in the production.

“He has a beautiful voice, and it’s perfect for the role he’s in —a foppish kind of fellow,” she said.

“Eugene Onegin” — a challenging and tragic opera — is one that Krikawa has long dreamed of bringing to Vashon.

“This is the one I have really wanted to do,” she said.


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