Eugene Onegin at Princeton University

It's on.

Opera Cabal was hired this past fall by Princeton University to develop the staging for the premiere of the 1936 Krzhizhanovsky-Prokofiev Eugene Onegin collaboration. What? You didn't know Prokofiev had a Eugene Onegin? That's because it never happened. Krzhizhanovsky's playscript was censored out of music history. (For a fascinating scholarly account of its disappearance, which was no accident, see Caryl Emerson, "The Krzhizhanovsky-Prokofiev Collaboration on Eugene Onegin, 1936 (A Lesser-Known Casualty of the Pushkin Death Jubliee)" in Sergey Prokofiev and His World, ed. Simon Morrison [Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press], 2008). Prokofiev recycled most of the music he composed for the work (which is, generically speaking, an odd duck: spoken drama with incidental music, like a melodrama, or Singspiel without song) into War and Peace. Princeton scholars Caryl Emerson and Simon Morrison, the turbo engine behind this reconstruction project, already rocked Princeton campus with a reconstructed Boris Gudonov (also Prokofiev) back in 2007. This is their next enterprise, and we're very lucky to be along for the ride.

In the meantime, like all large-scale projects, we begin at the beginning. Exactly one year from now, the show will go up on the Princeton University campus in Richardson Auditorium, a space almost as strange and wonderful as EO itself, with white pillars, green velvet seats, and a Godzilla-sized Grecian tableau at the back. The first trick, however, is simply to create enough space on stage for the show to happen. Next to the set and the actors, we have to fit the entire Princeton Symphony Orchestra onto a relatively small platform, and this will require some expert fiddling. With the help of expert fiddler Chris Gorzelnik, we've begun working on a stage plan. A or B?


or B?

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