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Subject: Re: Eugene Onegin at the Met on April 12
From: Jon Goldberg <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Jon Goldberg <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Mon, 17 Apr 2017 10:48:08 -0400
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The leaves were pretty. Sure. But I do really honestly like a fuller set, especially in a venue 
the size of the Met. (I've done plenty of shows in small venues that worked well with 
minimal scenery, but the Met is hardly small, lol.) And using chairs as a substitute for a 
real set has become rather cliche at the Met and elsewhere (even the recent Broadway 
revival of "The Color Purple" did it), and it's no stand-in for a real design. 

I remember the Met's production of Mahagonny ended with a scene that opened all the 
way to the back wall - that was impressive. But empty space for the whole evening would 
have been much less impressive. 

In these minimal design shows (I'd put the current Traviata in the same boat), I feel 
there's often a very noticeable whiff of the director's "oh-so-cleverness" being put front 
and center. I'm not saying productions shouldn't be clever - of course they should. But 
when the "clever" starts to feel a little too masturbatory ("hey audience, look how much I 
can symbolize and get all metaphorical all over you with just a bunch of chairs and some 
leaves - or a red sofa and a clock" etc) - and then it becomes, conversely, a production 
*about* the set (instead of the set being a part of the collaboration that creates a 
satisfying opera production) - and that's when I get a little discouraged. 



On Mon, 17 Apr 2017 01:40:31 -0400, Kathleen Boyce <[log in to unmask]> 
wrote:

>People seem to complain about the current Onegin, but don't you remember
>all the handwringing when the Carson Onegin first opened.  Everyone
>complained about everything, but I remember reams on the leaves.  Now
>that it has been replaced, it turned into something wonderful.  What
>does that tell you.
>
>
>I liked it from the first, and this one, although I don't like it as
>well, doesn't bother me.  If you really like a production, the new one
>will never be as good, but do you want to see the same one over and
>over?  Aren't you willing to try new ideas?  And I'm not really aiming
>this at Angelo, who is, I think, as open minded as most of us, I just
>happened to pick his post to respond to.
>
>
>On 4/16/17 11:09 PM, ANGELO MAMMANO wrote:
>> I saw Mattei as Onegin with Poplavskaya and Kocan  at the Met.  Mattei was very
>>
>> good and was a far better singer than his soprano partner.  She seems to have
>>
>> disappeared from the operatic scene since that engagement.  Villazon was rather
>>
>> small-voiced but still strong and Kuda, kuda was heartfelt and moving.  Kocan was
>>
>> given such a slow tempo for the aria and he held his third from the last note for
>>
>> such a long time that the audience applauded then and there.  Kocan broke
>>
>> character,  turned to his colleagues and smiled.  After that interruption  he finished
>>
>> the aria.
>>
>>
>> I have loved the opera for many years and love it still. I agree that the present Met
>>
>> production is poor.  The previous one which was used recently at Chicago Lyric is
>>
>> much better.  Of course Dmitri as Onegin is unsurpassable.  I hope that he is able
>>
>> to make it to Tanglewood in August for the operatic concert with Opolais.  BTW
>>
>> there has been some scuttlebutt that she will be forced to withdraw from the Tosca
>>
>> at the Met next season.  I wonder if that means that Nelsons will cancel like he did
>>
>> at Bayreuth.  We, subscribers to the BSO are experiencing a surfeit of Opolais.
>>
>> Her next appearance here is for the Mahler 4th.  Not too demanding, for sure.
>>
>>
>> Angelo from Boston
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>>      On April 16, 2017 at 5:09 PM Alain Letort <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>>
>>>      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
>>>
>>>      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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>
>--
>Kathy Boyce
>[log in to unmask]
>
>New Hampshire
>And the night shall be filled with music... Longfellow
>http://www.cafepress.com/operabayreuth
>
>
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