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Subject: Re: Eugene Onegin (Not a good opera)
From: Ombrarecds <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Ombrarecds <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Tue, 22 Aug 2017 11:27:47 -0500
Content-Type:text/plain
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Please suggest a video of this opera that you find exemplary. I tried very hard to watch the Met production but was seriously put off by several of the voices.

Patrick Byrne

Sent from my iPhone

> On Aug 22, 2017, at 11:13 AM, robert bragdon <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 
> 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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