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It Is So Onegin 

Russian opera chills

When Aleksandr Pushkin was exiled to Mikhalovskoye from 1823-30, he set himself to the task of writing Eugene Onegin, the lyrical poem considered to be the first great work of Russia's literary golden age. The real magic of the work lies not in the simple story, but in Pushkin's poetic Russian, the fluidity and precision of which stand as an ideal example of the complexities and splendor of the language. When no less than Piotr Tchaikovsky finished an opera composed directly from the text of Pushkin's masterpiece in 1878, Eugene Onegin became permanently sewn into the fibers of Russian national pride.

Friday, August 15, and Saturday, August 16, at 8 p.m., the Union Avenue Opera Theatre will perform Tchaikovsky's opus in the original Russian with projected English titles (and audio description for the visually impaired). Gustavo Ahualli and Sylvia Stoner will sing the roles of Onegin and Tatyana, respectively. The UAOT's founder and artistic director, Maestro Scott Schoonover, will conduct both performances of the opera at the Union Avenue Christian Church, 733 North Union Boulevard. Tickets are $25 for center front, $20 for general admission and $18 for students and seniors. For more information, call 314-361-2881 or e-mail -- John Goddard

Worst Band Name Ever
But they rock!

Ostensibly, New Orleans swamp-metal mafiosos Soilent Green are the headliners of tonight's bill at the Creepy Crawl (412 North Tucker Boulevard, 314-851-0919, $12-$14), but keep an eye on openers Lickgoldensky. Their metal-core assault is caustic and bracing, like a snort of wood grain alcohol, but with extra anger crystals. Additionally, they're one of the few metal-core bands still together after an album and a couple of tours, so who knows if you'll get the chance to see them again. Barricade yourself behind the Creepy's chain-link for protection or man-up, strip to the waist and wade into the roiling mass of angry, screaming short-hairs who will erupt when Lickgoldensky takes the stage around 7 p.m. Life's too short to go through it unscathed. -- Paul Friswold

Uh Oh, Its Tragic
Flux Art/Theatre provokes again

When we last checked in with Flux Art/Theatre, they were staging the one-act play "The Rothko Room," which involved audience participation and a sneaky, subtle beginning to the performance. The young company returns with another funky concept, courtesy of local playwright Douglas Hettich, called juxtOppose.

juxtOppose offers two one-acts in one night. Both are reworkings of Greek myths. "Media Hype" is Narcissus by way of David Cronenberg's Videodrome, and the melodramatically titled "Orpheum: A Fugue in C Minor" tells the tale of a contemporary Orpheus, obsessed with his dead bride. The gimmick is that the audience is split in half -- one half sees one play, while the other half sees the other, and then the audiences switch places. At the full-group discussion following both dramas, Flux Art/Theatre intends to explore the effects of the order in which the plays are viewed and to compare themes.

At its best, the evening could make you relive your intense philosophical debates with that crazy hippie teaching assistant in college. Start theorizin' at 8 p.m. Thursday, August 14, through Saturday, August 16 ($10, 314-960-3315, Art Coop, 1620 Delmar Boulevard). -- Byron Kerman

Surprise, Surprise, Surprise

Deathtrap is a thriller that's plotted like a chess game, in which you're continually stunned to see the moves that the playwright, Ira Levin, has arranged to trick the audience. The cleverness is highlighted by a play within the play, which is within the play, ad infinitum, all of which are called Deathtrap. The Limelight Players perform the suspenseful drama at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 2 p.m. Sundays, through August 24 ($7-$8, Southwestern Illinois College-Belleville, 2500 Carlyle Avenue, 618-628-9998, -- Byron Kerman

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