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Subject: Eugene Onegin
From: Genevieve Castle Room <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Genevieve Castle Room <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Tue, 8 Aug 2017 00:52:06 -0400

text/plain (36 lines)

Paul Henry Lang wrote:

>"Eugene Onegin is not a good opera -- it is too pretty to be a good one.
There are melodies galore and some really fine ones, but the industrious
sparkling of Tchaikovsky's music, and the eclectic and unbalanced optimism
of his operatic procedure ruffle any listener alive to the graver and
sterner elements of music drama. For want of a stronger grasp of theatrical
realities, despite all its sense of beauty, Eugene Onegin misses a
well-meant aim. Perhaps the most curious shortcoming of this opera is its
lack of true vocal concept. This does not mean that the songs are not
singable; they are very much so, but most of them, such as Lenski's big
aria before the duel, are of the "Melody in F" variety -- general purpose
elegant sob stuff, just as good for solo cello. This opera reminds me of
one of Saintsbury's pithy remarks about some novelist whose name escapes
me. It can be paraphrased to read: "Tchaikovsky had every faculty for
writing operas, except the faculty of opera writing."

I realize that this comment dates from a time, many years ago, when it was
fashionable to put down Tchaikovsky a purveyor of cheap eclectic popular
melodies, but I still agree with his assessment.

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