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Subject: Re: Onegin at the Met 4/15/17
From: Peggy Houdek <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Peggy Houdek <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Mon, 17 Apr 2017 13:34:32 -0400

text/plain (116 lines)

I’ve seen Joel Revzen several times over the years.  He was music director for Berkshire Opera before it’s demise a few years ago and he conducted some fine performances.  Then he went to Arizona as head of Arizona Opera (not sure of his title) and was there for a few years.  Good to see his name again.  He’s a good conductor and a nice guy,


(,,,) ^..^(,,,)

> On Apr 17, 2017, at 6:03 AM, Kirsten Lee <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> In between two Sondheim performances of Sweeney Todd and Sunday in the park
> with George, I attended Onegin at the Met Saturday 4/15 evening to recharge
> myself with that high only operas give us.
> The conductor Robin Ticciani was indisposed so Joel Revzen (who ?)
> substituted. I had never heard of him and was wondering who he was since no
> bio was provided in the insert other than his name. Although one wouldn't
> mistake his style for the swooping passion of Gergiev or Noseda, except one
> moment in Act I where the orchestra was going way faster than the chorus
> (the end of peasants celebrating the harvest) overall he was  finely in
> tune with the principal singers and got a respectful and enthusiastic
> applauds from the orchestra.
> Some time around 2002 or 2003, Peter Mattei sang Onegin at Aix en Provence
> and a fellow lister sent me a recording of that performance to watch soon
> after I first joined this group and since then I had hope for a chance to
> hear Mattei's Onegin live. Although the circumstances that made this chance
> is unfortunate but I am glad that Mattei's Onegin will get a chance for HD.
> I think what becomes pretty obvious earlier on is how smoothe and
> effortless Mattei's sound is. One almost gets the impression as if he's
> singing Schubert. Tall and dashing, he is a formidable actor, especially in
> his portrayal of characters in suffering rather than comedies as you may
> recall from his Amfortas and Shishkov in From the house of the Dead.
> Perhaps his swaggering is more subdued than that of Mariusz and I think
> Mariusz is a slightly more natural dancer, but Mattei matched Kwiecien in
> all the acting chops.
> I saw this production when it premiered with Kwiecien/Netrebko and I think
> Netrebko really grew into the role comfortably. Her acting was subtle and
> believable without exaggerating even when she had her back to the audience
> or just in the background such a in during Prince Gremin's aria.
> Netrebko's middle range voice and her breath control were more secure and
> even than the last time I recall and she delivered a truly spectacular
> letter scene at the end of which she collapsed on the floor savoring the
> thunderous applauds.
> Alexey Dolgov 's Lensky sang capably and acted well but I found his voice
> thin and his singing monotonous - often I forgot about his existence. I
> have to admit I am certainly spoiled by Beczala's ardent and impetuous
> Lensky.
> Kocan sang Prince Gremin well milking the long held low note at the end but
> a bit of brass like quality in his timbre isn't something I really cared
> for. He also looked too young for this role (when is Domingo going to avail
> himself to sing Gremin??:) joining the club of not so old people acting old
> (Marschallin, King Phillip II...)
> I may have mentioned this the first time this production premiered a couple
> of years ago but I get nostalgic in the first scene with Elena Zaremba
> (madame Larin) and Larissa Diadkova both of whose voices I've admired for a
> long time singing with two Larin girls. Netrebko made her U.S.debut in San
> Francisco in Ruslan and Lyudmila in 22 years ago(!) when Zaremba sang the
> role prince Ratmir, one of her suiters. Then in '98 Netrebko sang Luisa in
> Prokofiev's Betrothal in a Monastery where Larissa Diadkova sang her
> duenna. So it's sweet to witness this reunion of young girl and her nanny
> 19 years afterwards in the same relationship.
> I find this production and staging overall dull and unattractive but if I
> am forced to say something nice about this production the duel scene seen
> from upstairs is evocative with frozen ground and dead trees. Having
> peasants dance what looks like a gang rape of a village girl (similar to
> that Guillaume Tell last year) when they should be giving thanks to the
> harvest, Onegin showing up at his dawn duel eating a sandwich, then
> offering Lensky his half-eaten sandwich or Monsieur Triquet offering a bon
> bon to Tatiana during his serenade makes you think "first do no harm"
> should be applied to stage direction as well.
> For the singing of the two leads though, it is a very satisfying
> performance and I am looking forward to the HD.
> Kirsten
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