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For the third consecutive year, Anna Netrebko starred in the opening production of the season at the Metropolitan Opera, New York; a performance enjoyed by her legion of fans in more than 64 countries, as part of the Met s Live In HD cinema broadcasts.
The Met s new staging of Tchaikovsky s passionately lyrical masterpiece is the first DVD/Blu-ray release featuring Anna Netrebko in one of Russian opera s greatest and most demanding roles.
Anna s portrayal of Tatiana s journey from the tortured young woman of the famous letter scene , to society beauty has been acclaimed as much for its dramatic truth as its soaring musical lyricism.
Polish tenor star Piotr Beczala received glowing reviews for his performance as the lovelorn poet Lenski, Onegin's friend turned rival.
This greatest of Russian operas is conducted by the Music Director of the Mariinsky Theatre, St. Petersburg, Valery Gergiev.
Deborah Warner's new production, staged at The Met by award-winning actress Fiona Shaw, moves the drama from the 1820s of Pushkin s poem, to the more intensely psychological era of the opera s composition, in the 1870s.
The epic staging follows Tatiana from the isolated farmhouse of her youth to the glittering ballrooms of St.Petersburg and her fateful final encounter with Onegin, here set against a tempestuous Russian snowstorm.
The title role of the imperious Eugene Onegin is sung by charismatic Polish baritone Mariusz Kwiecien, here making his Met debut in a role that has been his calling card at many of the world s greatest opera houses.
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I had two other very good versions, but I decided to buy this one because the scenery was completely different.
The main character played by Mariusz Kwiecien was very convincing. His acting and singing showed the complexity of this role: vanity and inconformity brought him to kill his best friend and being alone at the end.
Tatiana played by Anna Netrebko also had a transformation going from an innocent country girl who was in love with Eugene to a mature woman who didn't betray her husband for this old love from her youth.
The last scene was Eugene and Tatiana and their last duet reflects the chemistry between them.
Linsky played by Piotr Beckala also had a very important role; his character is very well shown in his last area before he got killed in a duel by his best friend feeling betrayed by him and his fiancee.
The choruses and dances were very beautiful.
The quality of the DVD is outstanding.
This is an opera that builds slowly. The famous music at the opening of Act II picks up the pace in scene one, and by scene two you are completely invested emotionally. Finally, the wallop that is Act III just blows you away. If you are new to "Eugene Onegin" this is a perfect place to start, and if you are a connoisseur you will surely appreciate this production.
Anna Netrebko looking more "solid" than in her "Lucia" and "Puritani" days, continues to conquer yet another opera standard as well as many specialist and lesser known roles. In all of these she does her homework and really "gets into" the character she is playing. For "Tanya" she had the great advantage of having memorized verses of the Pushkin drama as most Russian children do, as a child in school. So her superb acting was based on long familiarity with this material and it showed. She was youthful, awkward, shy and bumbling in her first encounter with Onegin and in the following letter-writing scene. Ah but the transformation to Princess Gremin was a caterpillar-to-butterfly change and the new refined lady worked it's magic on the enthralled Onegin. He is now the pleading one. She now calls the tune.
Poor Lenski, played and sung superbly by Piotr Beczala was an innocent country boy who believes and accepts everything at face value. He could not believe the mock playing-up to his betrothed Olga by Onegin was all in jest. M. Beczala played him as clueless and guileless but a beautiful person and that's the way Pushkin makes him out to be. This innocence is particularly apparent in his deservedly famous "aria" in which he encapsulates his view of life and the world, the happiness he has known here as a child in the Larina household and regrets his impetuousness as later does Onegin. But the duel takes place and Lenski is killed.
The most telling performance of this disc is the Onegin of Mariusz Kwiecien. His face, his whole body, his every word and action speaks of disdain and boredom with this "country-life" world he's in now with his uncle's estate that he's inherited. His lips and eyes give credence to his dialog in the post letter-scene encounter with Tanya. (This is an advantage of seeing the opera on disc as compared to in the opera house). Yet all of this veneer is utterly destroyed upon later meeting Tanya as Tatiana, now the refined lady, Princess Gremin. He is now disheveled and his worldliness crumbled away as he now is the pleading rejected one. Superb acting!
The other hero of this production is Gergiev and the Metropolitan Orchestra. They made it "sing" with a clear quiet voice. I've heard this opera dozens of times, often loud and slippery with pathos. No! It is fragile, delicate, clearly beautiful and introspective.
And that last scene as done here is really great drama.