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Subject: Re: Eugene Onegin at the Met on April 12
From: Alain Letort <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Alain Letort <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sun, 16 Apr 2017 17:09:27 -0400

text/plain (65 lines)

Thank you very much, Idia.  How could I have forgotten about Gremin and his beautiful, 
haunting aria?  I guess I was nearing the end of my review and hunger pangs were 
starting to gnaw at me since it was getting on 2 p.m. and I hadn’t had lunch yet.

Stefan Kocan started his big aria, “Lyubvi fse vozrastï pokornï” (“All ages surrender to 
love”) rather underwhelmingly, and I thought, “oh no, please don’t botch this!,” but very 
quickly he recovered and the second and third verses were very, very good indeed, with 
all those great low notes just where they should be.  Not quite a home run but close. 

Lensky’s aria “Kuda, kuda vï udalilis” was hauntingly exquisite and I am sure you will 
enjoy it very, very much.  All the Russian women were swooning.  I am certain I heard 
feminine sighs when he finished his aria.

I hope I didn’t come across as critical of Peter Mattei’s performance.  He sang flawlessly, 
as I said before with great elegance and refinement, but Russian baritones and basses do 
have that certain special color in their voices that non-Russians usually don’t have.  
Genetics, I suppose, like those legendary Slavic high cheekbones.  That doesn't mean I 
didn’t enjoy his performance, I did so, very much indeed, but perhaps I would have liked 
Dmitri just that little bit more.

Thanks to other Listers for pointing out that Mattei was a wonderful Wolfram and 
Amfortas.  I’m sure that’s true, but not having seen him in either “Tannhäuser” or 
“Parsifal” I was not in a position to speak to that and I didn’t.  I’d like to hear Mattei in 
“Tannhäuser,” but frankly, after three live “Parsifals” in my lifetime, I find myself enjoying 
it less and less as time goes by, in fact the last time I saw it I didn’t enjoy it at all (with 
the exception of the always awesome Karfreitagsmusik).  In my lifetime I have warmed 
up to a number of operas I didn’t enjoy upon first hearing, but “Parsifal” is the only opera 
I can think of that I dislike more and more with each hearing.  Sorry, that’s just how it is.

“Eugene Onegin,” on the other hand, is an opera I loved on first hearing 47 years ago and 
my enjoyment of it is undiminished.  I’d go back and see it again next week if I could.

Cheers and all the best,


Alain Letort
Washington, D.C.
Des Ungeheuers Höhle


On Sun, 16 Apr 2017 15:04:31 -0400, Idia Legray <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

>Thank you Alain for a beautiful review of one of my favorite operas.
>I am not at all surprised that her Nebs was top notch. I suspect when I see 
>the HD next week that I will like Mattei a bit better than the Russians in the 
>audience did. I so look forward to Dolgov's "Kuda,kuda", one of my top 5 
>favorite tenor arias.
>But what of Kocan who sings that haunting Gremin's aria?  You didn't 
>mention him and I am hoping he hit a home run.

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