Saturday, March 24, 2007

TCHAIKOVSKY : EUGENE ONEGIN

Radio New Zealand Concert network
Sunday 16th of  February 2014 at 6.03 - 9.35 pm
Sunday 11th of August 2013 at 3.03 - 6.20 pm 
Sunday 22nd of March 2009 at 3 - 6.30 pm
Sunday 25th of March 2007 at 3 pm

TCHAIKOVSKY: Eugene Onegin, an opera in three acts
Based on the novel by Alexander Pushkin, a self-centred 'hero' rejects the love of a young woman. He later comes to rue this decision and the death of his friend in a duel
2016
Eugene Onegin............ Dmitri Hvorostovsky
Tatyana........................ Nicole Car
Lensky......................... Michael Fabiano
Olga............................. Oksana Volkova
Prince Gremin.............. Ferruccio Furlanetto
Madame Larina............ Diana Montague
Filipyevna.................... Catherine Wyn-Rogers
Monsieur Triquet......... Jean-Paul Fouchécourt
Captain........................ David Shipley
Zaretsky....................... James Platt
Royal Opera House, Covent Garden Chorus & Orch/Semyon Bychko2014 
Larina............................... Elena Zaremba
Tatiana.............................. Anna Netrebko
Olga.................................. Oksana Volkova
Filippyevna....................... Larissa Diadkova
Lensky.............................. Piotr Beczala
Eugene Onegin................. Mariusz Kwiecien
Prince Gremin................... Alexei Tanovitsky
Captain............................. David Crawford
Zaretsky............................ Richard Bernstein
Triquet.............................. John Graham-Hall
Offstage tenor.................. David Lowe
Metropolitan Opera Chorus & Orch/Valery Gergiev
And how should we pronounce Eugene Onegin?! Yew-jean O-knee-ghin? Some say Yevgen Onyegin. But at one point in Act 2, in St Petersburg, French suddenly becomes the language of communication, so it is Eugène (Er-zyen). I suppose the main thing is: get the y into On(y)egin.

INTRODUCTION
BACKGROUND
INFORMATION
SYNOPSIS
Russian Libretto
English Libretto
 If you want an English translation beside the Russian text, get a recording with a book in the box. Remember, there are no subtitles on the wireless.

TCHAIKOVSKY: Eugene Onegin, an opera in three acts
Based on the poem-novel by Alexander Pushkin: self-centred Onegin rejects the love of a young woman named Tatiana; he kills his friend Lensky in a duel; years later he realizes he loves Tatiana, but she has married Gremin.

This is the opera where the old bass-singer gets the girl (it almost happened in The Mastersingers), not the tenor, not the baritone, not the mezzo-soprano.

The central female character is Tatyana, and she is fifteen when we first see her ( in Act 2) though she turns sixteen at her birthday party (unless I am mistaken; it is a celebration of her 'name day').

My wife Helen and I have had two good experiences with this opera. When Joan Sutherland brought an opera company to Australia in 1965, Onegin was in the repertoire. We were able to afford it because Sutherland was not in it (10 guineas for her gala performances): Margreta Elkins, Richard Cross, and Alberto Remedios (tenor, before he became a famous Siegfried).

In New Zealand, when the Perkel Opera stopped coming to Palmerston North (even though I had pleaded with 'Kel' behind the scenes during a performance of Nikolai's Merry Wives to keep coming, and he assured me he would; I was in the chorus, by the way) Helen and I paid our first trip to New Plymouth to see it. No orchestra (piano accompaniment), no big chorus (the principals did the ballroom scenes), but it was nice to experience it again.

I used to own a vinyl recording of Tatyana's wonderful letter scene, a whole night condensed into a quarter of an hour. It was sung by Australasian soprano Joan Hammond, among a number of items from a last night at the proms. Helen's sister Laurel coveted it for the Land of Hope and Glory bit, so I swapped it for Schubert's Trout Quintet! She later bequeathed me a copy of this opera on video (Georg Solti's fine Covent Garden version with actors mouthing the words), and I played it right through while I wrote this essay.

Look and listen for the waltz and the mazurka in Act 2, and the polonaise and écossaise in Act 3; the aforesaid letter-writing-scene (with the silly writer's game of ripping the sheets of paper out of the typewriter, and starting again) which lasts all night but fits neatly into a quarter of an hour in opera time; Lensky's love-song, and his beautiful farewell aria before the fatal duel with Onegin; Gremin's hymn of praise about Tatyana and marital bliss with her (unwittingly making Onegin insanely jealous); Onegin eventually sings of his love, stealing Tatyana's tune.

Denis Forman, in The Good Opera Guide, awards it Alpha (that is grade A). For the story of the letter A, go straight to my BONZOZ blog (not via Sesame Street).

When all is said and done, I cannot help thinking that if Lenski and Tatyana (the poet and the romantic) had made a match all the misery could have been avoided.

Sunday 11th of August 2013 at 3.03 - 6.20 pm
TCHAIKOVSKY: Eugene Onegin, an opera in three acts
Larina........................... Diana Montague
Tatyana........................ Krassimira Stoyanova
Olga............................. Elena Maximova
Filippyevna.................. Kathleen Wilkinson
Lensky......................... Pavol Breslik
Eugene Onegin............ Simon Keenlyside
Prince Gremin.............. Peter Rose
Captain........................ Michel de Souza
Zaretsky....................... Jihoon Kim
Triquet......................... Christophe Mortagne
Orch & Chorus of  Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
Robin Ticciati
Sunday 22nd of March 2009 at 3 - 6.30 pm
Tatiana.......................... Karita Mattila
Olga.............................. Ekaterina Semenchuk
Lensky.......................... Piotr Beczala
Onegin.......................... Thomas Hampson
Gremin.......................... James Morris
Metropolitan Opera Chorus & Orch/Jirí Belohlávek

http://www.radionz.co.nz/concert/home
"Radio New Zealand Concert"
If you can't work out what that means, then they will tell you on their website: as I see it, it is the name of the national radio network which broadcasts fine music; and yet apparently it is the opposite of "Radio New Zealand National", which emanates from the same company, providing a source of info-tainment to the nation (formerly known proudly as the dominion); if you mistakenly go to Radionz.com you will find a commercial organization, but there is so much self-promotion advertising on RadioNZ Concert that it will soon be difficult to distinguish them.

This opera will not be relayed "live"; so it will be a delay-relay, and therefore presumably "dead", since it is not "live". Nevertheless, the presenter in New York (Margaret Juntwait, if you have been wondering how her name is spelled) will keep telling us that it is coming to us "live" from the NYMet Opera House. If we complain about the delay, RadioNZConcert will tell us it was actually "recorded live", and so not "dead", which would be when they record something in a "dead" studio; but surely some studios must have "live" acoustics; yes indeed, they had one of the best in the world until the crazy government turned the NZ Broadcasting Corporation's building into a car-park.

The announcers on RNZ's "Concert" network just cannot abstain from overusing the word "live"; of course, I can't see why they need to use it at all. The concert is either being broadcast "live" (meaning "direct" from the concert hall) or it is a "live recording" of a concert from any number of years ago, and the word "live" is entirely superfluous.

Are you sick of me using the word "live" yet? Well, there is one more gripe about it. The unwieldy and unhelpful English spelling system does not show any difference between "live" (liv) and "live" (laiv), nor between "read" (riid) and "read" (red), and allows "give" to break two of its rules and be pronounced differently from "jive", and it is about time we introduced a consistent fonetic sistem foor wraiting internaeshenel Ingglish, if we want it to continue to be the international language and not be supplanted by Spanish, which is written foneticliy aend consistentliy.

Defunct de-links from Metropera
COMPOSER
POET PUSHKIN
BACKGROUND
CHARACTERS
SYNOPSIS
STORYLINE
UNDERGROUND
ANALYSIS

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