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Subject: Re: Eugene Onegin (Not a good opera)
From: tom ponti <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:tom ponti <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Tue, 22 Aug 2017 19:44:08 +0000
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While Eugene Onegin will never be one of my very favorite operas, I do enjoy it, especially with an outstanding cast. The performance I saw on TV Sunday was excellent, but I preferred the cast of a few years ago. Anna looked and sounded more girlish then. I found the Polish baritone more appealing than Mattei, though he also sang his role very well. I preferred Pitor to this Lensky. I really do not like the staging of the Letter Scene, it seems rather silly to me. This Gremlin had a wonderful voice, but unlike just about all, I preferred the previous Gremlin. He looked and sounded older, which seemed more appropriate  to me. Also, I thought he sang with more feeling in his great aria. Still, this was a very enjoyable performance. As for Tchaikovsky, I love his music, especially the s--t first piano concerto, one of my very favorite classical musical compositions. Perhaps Herr Reiner had been conducting too much Wagner at that time? Whatever, Horowitz was going to play the concerto his way, anyway.  Interesting that such a lousy concerto could be so loved and played by probably every great pianist of all time.

________________________________
From: Discussion of opera and related issues <[log in to unmask]> on behalf of Max D. Winter <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Tuesday, August 22, 2017 3:04 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [OPERA-L] 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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