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Subject: Re: Eugene Onegin (Not a good opera)
From: robert bragdon <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:robert bragdon <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Tue, 22 Aug 2017 12:13:23 -0400
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Eugene Onegin has always been one of my favorites. It very nicely passes
the goose bump test. Some of my favorite moments in Symphony Hall have been
Tchiakovsky symphonies.  Again it passes the goose bump test. If it be an
over emotional listen to music so be it. Bob in New Hampshire.

On Aug 22, 2017 11:01 AM, "G. Paul Padillo" <[log in to unmask]>
wrote:

> GCR wrote:
>
> 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."
>
> * * * * *
>
> What utter B.S.  Onegin is not only a “good” opera, I’d consider it a great
> one, and a favorite of many.
>
> The above quote reminds me of the Brothers Crane in an episode
> of “Frasier,” laughing like overeducated hyenas: “Remember when we
> thought Tchaikovsky was a good composer?”  “Were we ever that young?”  For
> years it was something of a musical bloodsport to put down Tchaikovsky,
> something I never understood.  His music was considered to be too
> overwrought. Too beautiful, lacking ambition, carelessly structured, and on
> and on.  Most of the time the comments came from music critics with some
> unknowable ax to grind, or from composer
> For years it was something of a musical bloodsport to put down
> Tchaikovsky, something I never understood.  His music was considered to
> be too overwrought. Too beautiful, lacking ambition, carelessly structured,
> and on and on.  Most of the time the comments came from music critics
> with some unknowable ax to grind, or from composer’s one has never he
> heard of.
>
> Tchaikovsky captures the elements of Pushkin’s romance in an original, and
> illustrative way, which encapsulates and intensifies the tale in a way only
> music is capable of doing.  Here we have the awkwardness of the beautiful
> young heroine whose journey is the center of Onegin, who gets one of the
> most pivotal, grand scenes any composer ever gave his leading lady.  We
> watch as she progresses from child into womanhood and a place of honor
> and nobility.  With all that, the composer also paints, as brief as it is,
> a
> thorough picture of the robust, flirty and life-loving Olga, which makes
> her de
> denouncement by Lensky a public embarrassment and we clasp her to our he
> hearts.
>
> There is the poet, whose temper, pride and wreckless  impetuousness
> betrays his purported maturation.  It is a tragedy that changes the lives
> of
> these young people in a way only a violent, senseless death can.  If one is
> going to call Lenski’s “Kuda” aria “a melody in F” I suppose that’s one’s
> privilege, but it is considered one of the great romantic tenor arias for a
> reason, and if one can’t get it . . . well, go ahead, why not make fun of
> an
> aria that approaches “Una furtive lagrima” in popularity these days.
>
> The title character is a difficult one to pull off:  he’s almost
> unlikeable, but
> when portrayed correctly - and it shows in the music the composer gives
> him - we discover someone not so much cruel as he is ust bored, suffering
> from a case of ennui that borders on depression.  When he is finally cured
> of it, he (as we, the audience, are already too well aware) it’s too late.
>
> there are the champions of the work, fellows with names like: Mahler, Mi
> Mitropoulos, Belohlávek, Rostropovich, Jansons, Gergiev, Mackerras, Ba
> Barenboim . . .
>
> If one doesn’t like Onegin, or think it’s a crummy opera, nothing I – or
> anyone else – can say will likely sway that opinion, but it’s been a
> popular
> work with singers, conductors, designers, companies and audiences, and
> there’s a reason for that.  Actually, there’s a lot of reasons.
>
> p.
>
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