The Metropolitan Opera presents yet another superb performance from its amazing repertoire of around 700 productions – Tchaikovsky’s interpretation of Pushkin’s romantic tragedy, Eugene Onegin.
The illustrious line-up of stars includes soprano Anna Netrebko as the heroine Tatiana, with baritone Mariusz Kwiecień in the title role. Tenor Piotr Beczała is the poet Lenski, Tatiana’s sister Olga is sung by Oksana Volkova, Elena Zaremba is Madame Larina, and bass Alexei Tanovitski is Prince Gremin.
Russian maestro Valery Gergiev, general and artistic director of St Petersburg’s Mariinsky Theatre, conducts the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Chorus and Ballet in this production by Deborah Warner. Directed by Fiona Shaw, it opened the Met’s 2013-14 season, and was recorded during a live performance on October 5, 2013.
Eugene Onegin was Tchaikovsky’s fifth completed opera. It was written and orchestrated, by the composer, between May 1877 and January 1878, and underwent four further revisions between March 1879 and June-July 1891. The libretto – after Alexandr Pushkin’s 1837 novel in verse – was devised by Tchaikovsky, assisted by Konstantin Shilovsky. The opera had its world premiere at the Maly Theatre in Moscow in 1879, performed by students from the Moscow Conservatory, directed by Ivan Samarin and conducted by Tchaikovsky’s close friend Nikolai Rubinstein.
Tchaikovsky’s opera is a classic portrayal of the drama, passion and humanity which characterise great Russian music and literature. When Lenski introduces his friend, the dashing and handsome Onegin, to the Larin household, the young and naïve Tatiana falls in love with him, but is rather coolly spurned. She ultimately marries Prince Gremin, and – having grown into an elegant and aristocratic woman – meets up with Onegin again at a ball in St Petersburg. Despite the strength of feeling that they discover between the two of them, she remains faithful to her husband, and when Onegin insults Lenski by flirting with Olga, Lenski challenges him to a duel – with tragic results.
The Metropolitan Opera’s performance of Eugene Onegin is sung in Russian, with English titles, and can be viewed on metopera.org from 7.30 pm EDT on Friday evening, July 10, and will be available to view until 6.30 pm EDT the following day.
Information sourced from:
Metropolitan Opera program notes – Reprinted courtesy of English National Opera