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Subject: Re: Eugene Onegin (Not a good opera)
From: ekaterina usilova <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:ekaterina usilova <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Thu, 24 Aug 2017 06:30:30 +0000
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The scene you highlight - they are all Pushkin's work :-) in the first place. And I am very glad you mention them in this discussion.
Just recently I was discussing how Pushkin, who is considered (including by me) the greatest Russian poet and writer, hasn't really get the same fame internationally (unlike Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky and Chekhov), even though some people really tried to help with that. Henri Troyat finishes his book on Pushkin with these words: "Will a poet ever come who can help this Ruussian poet across the frontier?". And I said that probably Tchaikovsky is the only person who made Pushkin really present and alive in the world outside of Russia today. Even though it seems that the laurels go not necessarily to him mostly...

Katya

      From: Max D. Winter <[log in to unmask]>
 To: [log in to unmask] 
 Sent: Tuesday, August 22, 2017 11:04 PM
 Subject: Re: Eugene Onegin (Not a good opera)
   
I find "Eugene Onegin" to be a profound opera, not superficial or sentimental at all.  In 
addition to the extraordinary letter scene and the duel, there is that very moving little scene 
between Onegin and Tatiana, in which Onegin is trying to be kind to her in a condescending 
way, and she is so humiliated, having made herself completely vulnerable with her letter 
and now finding herself not only rejected, but patronized.  Now that is very true to life.  
Which of us has not been in that position at some time - on either side of the dialogue?

But the greatest scene of all, IMO, and one with has genuine human tragedy, is the final 
scene between Onegin and Tatiana.  No melodrama here, just human truth: two people who 
might have been happy together but the timing was wrong and they missed the boat, and 
now they will go on, separately, with their unhappy lives.  I also find Tatiana's rejection of 
Onegin one of the most admirable things in all opera.  She does what's right, not "what her 
heart tells her."  She's married, she has not only her own reputation and position to 
consider but also her husband's, as well as his love for her.  That is a very "un-modern" 
response - choosing principle over feeling and "what makes me happy."  I also love the 
irony that Onegin's final words ("How painful! how humiliating") are the same words Tatiana 
says to herself in the scene with him earlier in the opera.

Speaking of condescension towards Tchaikovsky's music, there is a funny story about Reiner 
rehearsing the orchestra for Vladimir Horowitz's Silver Jubilee concert of the Tchaikovsky 
Piano Concerto No. 1 in 1953.  Apparently Reiner did not have enough time to rehearse the 
orchestra beyond the first measures.  He told the orchestra, "Well, the music is all shit 
anyway.  Just follow the pianist and do what he does."

MDW

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