LISTSERV mailing list manager LISTSERV 15.5

Help for OPERA-L Archives


OPERA-L Archives

OPERA-L Archives


View:

Next Message | Previous Message
Next in Topic | Previous in Topic
Next by Same Author | Previous by Same Author
Chronologically | Most Recent First
Proportional Font | Monospaced Font

Options:

Join or Leave OPERA-L
Reply | Post New Message
Search Archives


Subject: Re: Eugene Onegin (Not a good opera)
From: "G. Paul Padillo" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:G. Paul Padillo
Date:Tue, 22 Aug 2017 11:01:12 -0400
Content-Type:text/plain
Parts/Attachments:
Parts/Attachments

text/plain (82 lines)


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.

**********************************************
OPERA-L on Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/groups/25703098721/
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
To UNSUBSCRIBE, send a message to [log in to unmask]
containing only the words:  SIGNOFF OPERA-L
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
To stay subscribed but TURN OFF mail, send a message to
[log in to unmask] containing only the words:  SET OPERA-L NOMAIL
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Modify your settings: http://listserv.bccls.org/archives/opera-l.html
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Back to: Top of Message | Previous Page | Main OPERA-L Page

Permalink



LISTSERV.BCCLS.ORG

CataList Email List Search Powered by the LISTSERV Email List Manager