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Subject: Re: Serious Question
From: Sue Harrison <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Sue Harrison <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Tue, 25 Apr 2017 02:47:07 +0000

text/plain (50 lines)

I was in the movie theater for Onegin and felt the kiss worked despite her admission that she still loves Onegin . . . I may not explain my response to anyone's satisfaction, including my own. But here goes.
Those who saw both casts in this run of Onegin remarked on a pronounced change in the performances when Mattei joined the cast, though nothing was wrong with Kwiecen. Exactly what they're referring to, I don't know. But having seen Anna Netrebko and Mariusz Kwiecen in this production in HD 2 - 3  years back, I can tell you it isn't the same show. Traffic direction by a better stage director brought clarity. Dolgov was an expressive exuberant young man whose jealousy was vivid. Anna herself really shifted gears and *became* the quiet, shy, bookish girl, ultimately excruciatingly embarrassed by Onegin's rejection and then being the center of attention in celebration of her name day. It was a stunning performance moment to moment by a gifted actress. And she was up against Mattei's remarkable ability to assume the complexity of this role, blunt, plain-spoken but somewhat diplomatic of tone as he delivered his rejection, mindful of, though not overtly sympathetic with, the impact on this young girl in that scene. 

At the end of the rejection scene, Mattei bends down and gently kisses the girl Tatiana on the lips as she stands there, seeming not to respond, as if in shock already from his words. It appeared to have the force of a platonic goodbye kiss, as if regretting he could give her no hope. If I had been the girl, that gentle kiss would have burned like fire. We don't quite know what possessed Onegin to do that, but somehow it was not out of place given the complexity of Mattei's Onegin who already simply "held all the cards" in that moment. 

So in the final scene she refused his attentions, admitted she still loved him but would not betray her marriage, and said she was leaving. But before she left, in that long moment of silence, SHE kissed him, long and hard, then turned and walked away. 

If you're reading the forums, you see several sides of the debate about her motivation there. To me it felt like payback for the unexpected kiss he had given her in Act I, along with acknowledging this would be her last opportunity to do that. But that's just my opinion, and other interpretations are valid. Your mileage may vary, but do try to see this performance on PBS and ultimately Met on Demand. 

Your take on Tatiana is perfect, and somehow this kissing spree was still true to your description of her (so say I). 

Sue HarrisonDallas, TX

      From: David Kubiak <[log in to unmask]>
 To: [log in to unmask] 
 Sent: Monday, April 24, 2017 3:35 PM
 Subject: Re: Serious Question
>The reason for the pause before Onegin's last line is that Tatiana plants a
long kiss on his lips before she leaves him. 

Thanks for this explanation of the pause, which is perverse in my
understanding of the opera.  Tatyana has always been to me the most
admirable of all operatic heroines, because she does not solve her problems
by going crazy, taking poison, and jumping off buildings or into funeral
pyres.  She is a woman of high and independent character, who has committed
herself to someone she knows loves her deeply, and she will not abandon that
moral commitment to the re-awakening of an old erotic passion. To have her
admit that she still loves Onegin only gives more meaning to her
renunciation.  To have her passionately kiss him is nothing but the height
of dramatic vulgarity. But today, who would expect anything different. 

David Kubiak


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