Northern Ireland Opera today announces Principal Cast and Creatives in Tchaikovsky’s operatic masterpiece Eugene Onégin this September in Belfast. Based on Alexander Pushkin’s classic novel in verse, one of the most lyrical and beautiful pieces of literature adapted for opera, this stunning production will be directed by the renowned national opera company’s Artistic Director Cameron Menzies (Nominated Best Director for Into The Woods Irish Times’ Irish Theatre Awards 2022 and Winner of three Paris Short Film Awards for film Old Friends and Other Days).

Marking Northern Ireland Opera’s fourth full scale operatic production during Menzies’ tenure, Eugene Onégin will be performed in the magnificent setting of Belfast’s Grand Opera House from 14 – 21 September 2024. The company welcomes internationally renowned conductor Dominic Limburg on his first engagement in Belfast (DEUTSCHE OPER BERLIN; BEETHOVEN ORCHESTRA, BONN; STAATSTOPER, HANNOVER). He will lead the Orchestra of Northern Ireland Opera, a new ensemble of local instrumentalists brought together for the first time in an exciting fresh development for the company.

Performing in the Principal female roles of Tatyana, Madame Larina, Olga and Filipevna are Mary McCabe (Soprano), Carolyn Dobbin (Mezzo Soprano), Sarah Richmond (Mezzo Soprano) and Jenny Bourke (Mezzo Soprano) respectively. Notably, this production will be Bourke’s and Richmond’s main stage debuts with Northern Ireland Opera while McCabe makes her operatic Principal mainstage debut in the role of Tatyana following a long relationship with the company covering Violetta in La Traviata 2022 and her acclaimed performance in the one-woman opera La Voix Humaine, Poulenc.

Baritone Yuriy Yurchuk, who performed in the company’s production of La Boheme in 2021 and in 2022 with La Traviata - the Grand Opera House’s fastest selling-opera ever - returns in this titular role. Yurchuk is fast becoming widely associated with this opera having performed it on several occasions including most recently at the New National Theatre in Tokyo earlier this year and at the Royal Danish Opera Denmark and La Monnaie, Brussels in 2023.

Tenor Norman Reinhardt (Magic Flute, ENO) is cast as Onégin’s friend turned rival Vladimir Lensky and Aaron O’Hare (Tenor) is cast as Monsieur Triquet and Niall Anderson (Baritone) as Prince Gremin. Northern Ireland Opera’s 35-strong locally based chorus will join this production to present some of the most rousing and well-loved chorus pieces in the operatic canon.

The creative talents reuniting once more to work with the company include Northern Irish Set Designer Niall McKeever (TOSCA, LA TRAVIATA, INTO THE WOODS,TRANSLATIONS) in this fourth collaboration, rounding this exceptional creative team is Costume Designer Gillian Lennox (TOSCA, PINOCCHIO, DR SCROGGY’S WAR, GOOD VIBRATIONS, ALICE: THE MUSICAL, DOUBLE CROSS, ROUGH GIRLS, DARK OF THE MOON, SHIRLEY VALENTINE, Lyric, Belfast); Lighting Designer Kevin Treacy (INTO THE WOODS, LA BOHÈME, LA TRAVIATA); Movement Director Jennifer Rooney (INTO THE WOODS,, OLD FRIENDS AND OTHER DAYS, HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD, THE JUNIPER TREE) and Wigs and Make-up Designer Nuala Campbell (LA BOHÈME, INTO THE WOODS, LA TRAVIATA, OLD FRIENDS AND OTHER DAYS, THE SALON SERIES).

Menzies’ timeless vision for this production will draw on influences from the fallen imperial opulence of the Tzars to the communist era aesthetic and futuristic utilitarian worlds. He says: “It’s such a thrill to be staging this moving and potent masterpiece which looks deeply into the soul of human nature in all its varied ways. I am very proud to be working with a highly talented and sophisticated cast of singers and immense creative forces, all masters in their own disciplines. At NI Opera we take great care nurturing and promoting local artists into main stage debuts, developing our Chorus by performing these great compositions and to be able to attract international talent to come and work with the company. Onégin is set to be a production that you won’t want to miss.”

Ian Wilson, Grand Opera House Chief Executive adds: “We’re delighted to welcome Northern Ireland Opera back to the Grand Opera House for the company’s third season under the inspired direction of Cameron Menzies. The company delivered ambitious and spectacular productions of La Traviata and Tosca at the theatre and will no doubt so the same for Tchaikovsky’s timeless work Eugene Onégin.”

“Beyond the company’s outstanding work on stage, we are also pleased to partner with Northern Ireland Opera on a programme of education and outreach activities as, together, we broaden the appeal of opera, one of the oldest artforms, particularly to young people and those who do not have the opportunity to engage with the arts.”

Ciaran Scullion, Head of Music and Opera, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, said: “The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is proud to be principal funder of Northern Ireland Opera who make their return to the Grand Opera House stage this September for operatic masterpiece Eugene Onégin. We’re delighted to once again see the cast feature a wealth of local artists, offering amazing professional development opportunities for them to work alongside world-class talent.”

Principal Cast
Yuriy Yurchuk Eugene Onégin
Mary McCabe Tatyana
Norman Reinhardt Vladimir Lensky
Sarah Richmond Olga
Carolyn Dobbin Madame Larina
Jenny Bourke Filipevna
Aaron O’Hare Monsieur Triquet
Niall Anderson Prince Gremin

Cameron Menzies Director
Dominic Limburg Conductor
Niall McKeever Set Designer
Gillian Lennox Costume Designer
Kevin Treacy Lighting Designer
Jennifer Rooney Movement Director
Nuala Campbell Wigs and Make-Up Designer