Eugene Onegin--October 5, 2013
Based on Puskin's verse novel, Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin begins the Metropolitan Opera's Live in HD season triumphantly.
The principals, the chorus and the orchestra soared to great heights under the direction of highly acclaimed Russian maestro Valery Gergiev.
The opera begins at the Larin's country residence, where a young, impetuous Tatiana falls in love with a shallow Onegin.
Tatiana, though shy on the outside, smolders on the inside.
Anna Netrebko was convincing in the feverish anguish of Tatiana's "Letter" aria, capturing the under-lying fire and conveys it fiercely during her encounters with Onegin. In the final scene especially Netrebko conveys the intense emotional pain of Tatiana.
Marius Kwiecien, in the title role, was a convincing Onegin all the way through his drastic metamorphosis from the idle, bored aristocrat of Acts I and II to the heartbroken wretch of Act III. His changes were subtle and gradual. As early as Act II, before his duel with Lenski, we see his callousness falter, but not his pride. Kwiecien sang with heartbraking passion, particularly in the final Act III duet.
Piotr Beczala, in the role of the hotblooded poet Lenksi, pushed his voice to daring heights of passion. Beczala's rendition of his principal aria was the crowning moment of the afternoon. The suffocating darkness that shrouded the stage as Beczala poured forth unadulterated passion engulfed the audience in the sadness of his fate.
Oksana Volkova was a perfectly delightful Olga.
Led by Valery Gergiev, the Met Opera Orchestra performed with their usual attentiveness to style. Even those in minor roles brought exemplary lyricism and cohesion.
I have seen Tchaikovsky's operatic masterpiece twice before performed by the Boston Lyric Opera and the Opéra National de Paris, and I have seen the ballet Onegin, danced to excerpts of the Tchaikovsky score, 3 times: Boson Ballet, Vienna State Opera Ballet, Paris Opéra Ballet. I am enthralled by both the dramatic story and the music.
For a review in the NY Daily News click here:
NY Times Anthony Tommasini's review of the opening night gala performance was less than laudatory. Click here: