Eugene Onegin

Tchaikovsky is best known for his symphonic scores and ballets such as the
"Nutcracker," "Swan Lake" and "Sleeping Beauty." Yet his operas also occupy
a place of honor in his oeuvre, and two of them, "Eugene Onegin" and "The
Queen of Spades," both based on novels by Pushkin, are among his very
finest works. The plot of "Onegin" is quickly told: on a Russian country
estate, awkward, inexperienced young Tatyana is seized by a sudden passion
for the handsome, blasé new neighbor Eugene Onegin. She writes him a love
letter, but he makes it clear to her that he is not interested. Later,
Tatyana's sister flirts with Onegin, her fiancé challenges him to a duel
and is killed by Onegin. Years later, Onegin returns, finds that Tatyana
has married an aged prince, and tries to win her back but fails...
Tchaikovsky called his opera a sequence of "lyric scenes." Its structure
prefigures narrative techniques that later came into use in cinema: abrupt
cuts and chronological leaps, intimate close-ups, atmospheric
interjections... Bearing this practically cinematic structure in mind,
director Andrea Breth has produced an intimate chamber play that mines
the depths of veracity, precision and charisma of her singer-actors. The
stage suggests both the concrete location of the action as well as the
psychological condition of those driving the action forward. Breth's "
phenomenal 'Onegin' interpretation" (F.A.Z.) even allows the integration of
silent secondary episodes and miniature dramas.
The title role is a tour de force for any baritone, who must walk a
tightrope between cynical, insufferable snob and sympathetic,
broken-hearted lover. This is carried off superbly by Peter Mattei, who
"has acquired a fabulous vocal profile and is a gifted actor blessed with
debonair self-confidence." (Peter Hagmann, Neue Zürcher Zeitung) But the
true hero of the opera is Tatyana, a multi-layered, conflicted, driven,
doubt-ridden heroine. As portrayed by the dazzling Russian soprano Anna
Samuil, this Tatyana "is ready to start a revolution." (Julia Spinola,
F.A.Z.) Since her 2003 debut in the West, and her appearance as Musetta
("La Bohème") at the Met alongside Anna Netrebko, Anna Samuil - a protegée
of Daniel Barenboim - has been acclaimed as a vibrant new voice on the
operatic stage. Daniel Barenboim and the Vienna Philharmonic accompany
these "scenes of a marriage that could have been" with beguilingly dark
sonorities that allow for brilliant flashes of light from the winds and
waves of passionate lyricism in the third act.

Composer: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Title: Eugene Onegin
Conductor: Daniel Barenboim
Staged By: Andrea Breth
Soloist: Peter Mattei, Anna Samuil, Ekaterina Gubanova, Joseph Kaiser, Ferruccio Furlanetto, Renée Morloc
Set: Martin Zehetgruber
Orchestra: Wiener Philharmoniker
Chorus: Konzertvereinigung Wiener Staatsopernchor
Video Director: Brian Large
Genre: Opera
Length: 158 minutes
Cat.No.: A04001505
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