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Eugene Onegin [Blu-ray] (2012)

Bo Stovhus , Krassimira Stoyanova , Stefan Herheim  |  NR |  Blu-ray
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Bo Stovhus, Krassimira Stoyanova, Andrej Dunaev, Mikhail Petrenko, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
  • Directors: Stefan Herheim
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Classical, Color, NTSC, Surround Sound
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region B/2 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Opus Arte
  • DVD Release Date: April 24, 2012
  • Run Time: 151 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0073WXSAC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #327,504 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Described by Tchaikovsky as 'lyric scenes', Eugene Onegin receives a spectacular reinterpretation from the Norwegian director Stefan Herheim. His productions create controversy and excitement around Europe, and here he takes Pushkin's story of illusion, disaffection and frustrated love, and places the protagonists - world-weary Onegin and na+¯ve, passionate Tatyana - in a triple temporal perspective, referencing the theatrical present, the period of the work's composition, and the pageant of Russia's history. Mariss Jansons, renowned for his mastery of Tchaikovsky's symphonies, conducts this performance from Amsterdam's Muziektheater.

Review

Five Stars - ... the direction is precise and has dramatic
sweep. MarissJansons' conducting is similarly chamber-like in its
clarity, yet laden with passion. And the cast rises to the occasion
magnificently. Bo Skovhus plays Onegin with incredible physicality and
detail. Krassimira Stoyanova is a stunning Tatyana with a sumptuous
voice. Andrej Dunaev a plangent Lensky ... essential viewing --Opera Now Magazine May 2012

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
(4)
4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Format:Blu-ray
As one would expect this is technically very fine. Jansons and the orchestra play beautifully and generally the singing is very good too. The camera work and costumes are wonderful and if only the Director had paid more attention to Tchaikovsky it could have been a wonderful production. Unfortunately the Norwegian director managed to persuade De Nederlandse Opera to do it his way. Jansons was clearly sceptical in the doco but finally came round to accepting the numerous oddities in this wierd production. Where to start? Spreading the action across different times with a mixture of old Russia, the USSR and a modern opera house just did not work for me. Getting Onegin to write Tatyana's letter was even odder, especially when he was asleep in a double bed in her room! The stage effects with sliding doors and odd characters wandering about, (including a bear, some cosmonauts, ballet dancers, - one of whom appears to make a homosexual assault on Onegin, some time-shift doubles and soviet athletes), I found colourful but with no relevance to the story. The vicious attack on the well-meaning Triquet at the ball is unexplained and again pointless.

Both the ladies sing well but are really too mature in appearance for their roles on Blu-ray although this would be overlooked in the opera house for a one-off performance. Onegin is directed to act as if he is a bit half-witted and although a fine singer I did not care for his portrait of Onegin.

The rush of modernised productions has a place in the opera house and some, such as the extraordinary Spanish Ring, have a well deserved place on Blu-ray, but media companies do need to ask themselves what will sell for repeat viewing and I submit too many recent Blu-ray releases are unlikely to make much money. This is not as bad as the recent Flying Dutchman and will get a lot of mileage from the colourful costumes and orchestral playing but with just a little moderation it could have been so much better.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tchaikovsky Eugene Onegin Jansons DVD May 6, 2012
Format:DVD
The story of Tchaikovsky's most popular opera, "Eugene Onegin," illustrates a popular contemporary idiom: timing is everything. Tatiana, the heroine, who is presumably in her late teens or early 20s, falls in love with an older man, the vain and egocentric Eugene Onegin, to whom she writes a passionate letter. He rejects her. Several years later, Onegin meets Tatiana again; she is now a grown woman with poise, grace, and charm. Bowled over, he declares his love for her; this time, she rejects him - she already has a rich and noble husband, whereas a relationship with him would bring only shame. When Onegin's pleas become more ardent, Tatiana rushes out and leaves him.
This new video version by Opus Arte of "Eugene Onegin" was filmed in 2011 at the Netherlands Opera. It has many good things in its favor. The cast is excellent, the music is sensitively conducted by Mariss Jansons and beautifully played by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the costumes are lavish, and the sets are splendid.
However, what spoils this production for me is that the director introduces strange time-line effects. This is especially disturbing in Tatiana's letter scene, during which, as a young woman, she declares her love to Onegin. First we see Onegin in a second bed in her bedroom; then we see him sitting at Tatiana's writing desk, as if he were a scribe and Tatiana were dictating her thoughts to him. To me, this is simply bizarre, and it is surely not what Tchaikovsky intended.
Furthermore, there is stiff competition from two other DVD versions - those conducted by Yuri Temirkanov and Valery Gergiev; the latter, starring Dmitri Hvorostovsky and Renee Fleming, deservedly received rave reviews despite its stark decor, and would be my first choice.
Ted Wilks
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Most satisfying May 3, 2012
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
If one understands -- and accepts -- that Stefan Herheim's interpretation is centred on flashbacks wherein a much older and wiser Tatiana and Onegin look back, then it leads to a richer perspective. In many ways he took the opera's libretto and interpreted it more in keeping with Pushkin's poetic novel. Onegin is on stage for almost all of the opera, and seemingly tries to mitigate his actions and at times is quite distressed at what he has done. The scene of Tatiana reacting to Onegin turning off a younger version of herself is much more touching than as it is usually played realistically. The same could be said about the letter scene where Onegin is writing the letter while Tatiana dictates, as it were. After all, the music is the same in the final scene when Onegin goes through what Tatiana went through.'

I have some reservations about the Balls in the second and third acts. Herheim tries to do too much, apparently tying in Russian history, culture and science with the costuming of the chorus. It doesn't really work and distracts somewhat from the main drama. It is however entertaining and is not enough to take away a star from my assessment.

Bo Skovhus and Krassimira Stoyanova look too old for their ages mentioned in the libretto, but they bring a wealth of experience to their musical interpretation and acting. Their ages can easily be rationalised by postulating that Onegin has been away for considerably more than two years.

Of all the productions of Eugene Onegin I have seen, I would rank this one as the best from the musical and acting dimensions. I gather from the documentary that conductor Maris Jansons had reservations about the directorial interpretation.
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