El Cimarron

Posted by on 7 Jan 2014 in Reviews | 0 comments

[…]Special mention must be paid to Eugenia Arsenis, the stage director who breathes life into this story as a shot of helium fills a balloon. She exudes confidence and passion as she explains her attraction and her clarity of vision for “El Cimarron.” She has a special bond with this play. I can imagine dozens of directors being offered an opportunity to direct this piece, only to turn away and look for “Our Town.”

Directing this play takes courage, grace and a deep desire to set free the flights of fancy that best tell this story. It is certain that this piece requires exquisite discipline, but that discipline without freedom would fall flat. This is about the story of a slave, but it is also about being free from convention when you tell a story.

The astounding thing about her gentle guidance of this production is how remarkably calm the evening is. She has taken the most uncomfortable and turned it into a warm blanket to snuggle in before a raging fire. The marriage of this music and this story needs to have a steady, soft and fearless hand at the tiller, and she brings all of that.

Dave Begel

Arsenis responded with an imaginative, fitting response and guided McKeever to a powerful realization of its main and only character.

Tom Strini

The whole package bespeaks the agonies of injustice but also the strength of the human spirit that finds ways to survive. “El Cimarron” resonates long after the final bows are taken. Director Eugenia Arsenis has created a searing production that will be long remembered. Don’t miss this unusual offering.

Julie McHale
Waukesha Freeman

Night of the Living Dead

Posted by on 28 Aug 2013 in Reviews | 0 comments

Centre Of Contemporary Opera | Opera Week


When creating a work as monumental in size as an opera, a composer can only pray that the people who take our notes and transform them onto the stage bring as much passion and excitement to the piece as we did in creating it–that process for any composer is a scary one. Working with Eugenia Arsenis was the complete opposite experience for me. From the very beginning of our discussions about my work, I could immediately tell that she had an deep passion for not only my work but the theater in general. Her professionalism and expertise were apparent from the very beginning and her ability to work quickly and efficiently in the rehearsal process allowed for that time to be extremely productive. The end result was fantastic and she brought to my opera something that was far beyond what I expected. She also was able to create a product that was beautiful and precise while yet remaining on very tight budget. I would, without a doubt, work with Eugenia again and I very much look forward to that time.

Todd Goodman

In addition to her obvious talent and professionalism, Eugenia Arsenis brought two other qualities to our collaboration that I truly value: a creative vision informed by a passion for opera and the possibilities it offers, and a caring, generous soul. Working with her was as enjoyable an artistic adventure as I’ve been blessed to experience.

Stephen Catanzarite

In July this year I attended a reading performance of an opera presented by the Center for Contemporary Opera (CCO) in Manhattan’s Cell Theater. The opera presented was Night of the Living Dead with music by Todd Goodman and libretto by Stephen Catanzarite. Of particular interest was the stage direction by Eugenia Arsenis who produced a miracle with her work in this small venue that made every use of the available space. This included an area above the stage brilliantly utilised during the reading session. Considering the amount of space available and the number of performers in the production it is clear that Ms. Arsenis has a flair and an imagination for turning small spaces into large ones. One forgets about the space limitations and feels completely comfortable with the stage production, surprisingly the production did not give the sense that it was cramped for space. The gift Ms. Arsenis has of transforming seemingly impossibly small spaces into workable and seemingly larger ones was made clear while watching her stage direction last year. She was Dramaturg last year for two staged reading sessions also presented by CCO. In addition to the ability to transform small to large she has a gift for making her brilliant ideas relevant both with the creative use of props and the movement she directs for the performers. How she manages to do her magic is a mystery… however her magical transformations are both a joy and a wonder to behold.

Eugene W. McBride
Composer / Music copyist-engraver / Former critic for the New Music Connoisseur

I first met Eugenia while working as Director of Design and Technology at the Opera Company of Philadelphia, a position that I held for eighteen years prior to retirement in 2011. I was immediately impressed by her knowledge of opera and stage direction, and the unusual way in which she approached the field. As I designer, I quickly realised this was a director I’d really like to work with myself. Just this past month I had the pleasure of creating video projections for her production of Night of the Living Dead, a new work by Todd Goodman and Stephen Catazarite, presented by the Center for Contemporary Opera in New York. She puts an incredible amount of time and energy into her work and can juggle multiple projects/responsibilities very skilfully. Her broad background in opera, music, dance and theatre provides great depth to her work. Her directorial ideas are very innovative and she’s an eager participant in the collaborative process.

Boyd Ostroff
Former Director of Design and Technology of the Opera Company of Philadelphia


Eugenia Arsenis has uncanny theatrical instincts. When she directed scenes from my opera The Human Zoo, I barely wrote her any notes because I quickly realised she understood far better than I how to make my libretto and music come alive on stage. Directing the opera Night of the Living Dead at the tiny Cell Theater in New York, she discovered expressive resources of space that no other director I’d ever seen had found in that theater. Eugenia imaginatively directs not only the music and the libretto but the subtext, the intentions between the lines. Her blocking is bold and adventurous without being mannered; she animates the movements of multiple performers on stage like a modern Rouben Mamoulian. On whatever production she undertakes Eugenia is a vivacious, energizing presence for all who collaborate with her. Working with her is a pleasure and a privilege.

Mark N. Grant
Composer – Librettist

Le Nozze Di Figaro

Posted by on 18 Mar 2009 in Reviews | 0 comments

The American Novelist, Tracy Grant, wrote among others about Eugenia Arsenis’ performance:

I once heard a master coach comment that in a successful production of Figaro, the audience doesn’t laugh when the Count says “Contessa, perdono,” because, though one has little faith in the future, in the moment he truly believes it. In this production, no one laughed. […] I emerged from this Figaro production inspired to write and actually found that I had a solved a plot problem.

Triple Bill (Weill, Vassiladonakis, Goyos)

Posted by on 17 Mar 2008 in Reviews | 0 comments

Greek National Opera, April 2008

We were particularly satisfied to see all three one-act operas with Eugenia Arsenis’ innovative, thoughtful and rhythmical direction.

Odos Panos
August 2008

Merola Grand Finale

Posted by on 17 Mar 2007 in Reviews | 0 comments

San Francisco Opera, August 2007

Precocious show by stage director: It wasn’t just the singers who bathed themselves in glory, either. This summer’s crop included one budding stage director, Eugenia Arsenis, who staged the Finale with more subtlety and flair than I can recall ever witnessing for this event. In one excerpt after another, she created little theatrical microcosms that rescued the moment from stand-and-sing monotony without ever overshadowing the performer or distracting unduly from the music. It isn’t only on the vocal front that the future looks bright

Joshua Kosman
San Francisco Chronicle

Hartmann’ Waxworks

Posted by on 17 Mar 2006 in Reviews | 0 comments

Greek National Opera, May 2006

We were absorbed by Eugenia Arsenis’ rapid directing pace.

Y. Leotsakos
27 May 2006

The directing approach, noted for its variability, actively engaged with the text by Eugenia Arsenis […], elevated the work.

A. Vavlidas
Odos Panos
October-December 2006


Henze’s El Cimarrón

Posted by on 17 Mar 2005 in Reviews | 0 comments

Greek National Opera, May 2005

El Cimarrón, which was directed with sensibility and knowledge by Eugenia Arsenis, […] was warmly received with applause.

Y. Sarigiannis
Ta Nea
23 May 2005

[El Cimarrón] was directed in an austere manner, with the proper aesthetic approach, supplemented with emotion, by the young, promising director Eugenia Arsenis.

A. Ellinoudi
06 January 2005

The dramaturgical approach and the directing that Eugenia Arsenis produced for us […] focused our attention on the gist of the work.

A. Vavlidas
Odos Panos
Issue 130, October-December 2005

Mendelssohn’s Antigone

Posted by on 17 Mar 2003 in Reviews | 0 comments

BBC Proms, July 2003

Potent Antigone, in a staging by Eugenia Arsenis, with Richard Hickox conducting the City of London Sinfonia and the BBC Singers. […] Zoe Waites was a dignified Antigone, calmly confronting Brian Protheroe’s psychologically imploding Creon. Conducting and choral singing were both electric, and the play itself – dealing with silencing of dissent in times of war – has rarely seemed more relevant than now.

The Guardian
25 July 2003

The performance was full of telling and carefully crafted detail, and made a convincing case for this long-buried piece.

The Daily Telegraph
23 July 2003

The well-known Classicist, Professor Hellmut Flashar, specialist on Mendelssohn’s Antigone, who honoured us with his presence, as he came from Germany especially for the performance, wrote:

I must confess that I never saw and heard a performance of Mendelssohn’s Antigone music which was more convincing than yours. I have heard this music in concert halls from 1979 until now about a dozen times, but nearly always in pure concert form. And there is a lack in the reception of the whole. Your tasteful staging made clear the combination of music and drama in the sense of a Gesamtkunstwerk.

16 August 2003

On June 25th, 2004, Professor Flashar invited Eugenia Arsenis to the Antikenfestpiele in Trier, Germany, where he honored her by speaking about her production.

If the hopes of the future are being drawn from the youth of the present, Eugenia Arsenis can fulfill such promise. Theater-historian, director, musician, doctoral researcher in Philosophical Aesthetics, she conceived the idea of a music-centered performance of ancient Greek drama and staged it under ideal conditions. She staged Sophocles’ Antigone with the forgotten music by Mendelssohn […] at the imposing Royal Albert Hall in London, on the 23rd July 2003. The proposal of the young Arsenis was to stage a tragedy based in music – where the music and the aesthetics of romanticism meet the spirit of the classical text – with eight actors, the City of London Sinfonia-orchestra of 48 musicians, conducted by Richard Hickox and a male chorus of 40 singers. The performance was not only noticed by the British press but was also praised with warm reviews at the Guardian, the Daily Telegraph, and it was broadcast live by the BBC Radio 3. A very big production with high standards in a very central theater of the British capital is already an impressive piece of news. Even more, when behind these, there is serious study and thought, which supports the production. “The music gave me the inspiration for this staging. I translated the text into English in a style that would be consistent with the aesthetics of the 19th century music. For the dramaturgy, I kept the six main characters and all the choral parts, which were set to music, the heroine’s lamentation and Creon’s monologue”. Eugenia Arsenis’ dynamic beginning at the British stage emerged when one of the producers attended one of her conference-talks in London, on the subject of her doctorate in Philosophical Aesthetics and Opera, appreciated her idea and asked her to fulfill it. All these have a very strong ground in her academic studies: theater studies and directing at the Royal Holloway University of London. Postgraduate studies in Philosophy at UCL, advanced research at the Department of Music at Boston University, music studies -piano and composition- at the Attiko Conservatory and at the Royal Holloway University of London. So, we can conclude that nothing is accidental…

E. Chatziioannou
Ta Nea | With Antigoni in the heart of London
11 August 2003

The most essential precondition for someone to have a career abroad, the general consencous is, the hard-work and the existence of talent. Eugenia Arsenis seems to have tried a lot for the first and not at all for the second. A distinguished graduate of Arsakio school […]. The impressive reviews for Eugenia’s work prove that her talent has already started being accepted and recognized […] and it will surely engage us in the future.

Adesmeutos Typos
Her talent showed brightly…
20 August 2003

When a young Greek woman excels abroad, one could not but feel proud of that. This is what happens with the 26 year-old theater-historian-director Eugenia Arseenis, an artist who –even if she is very young – managed to win applause and recognition of London’s audience. […]. Potent Antigone, was the performance characterised for the very thoughtful details that unveil the central idea of the play. The Director of the BBC Proms Mr. Nicholas Kenyon sent a letter of congratulations to the director of Antigone and expressed his great satisfaction for the result.

Applause for Eugenia Arsenis’ Antigone
13 August 2003