MET OPERA EUGENE ONEGIN
Cast:Anna Netrebko and Mariusz Kwiecien, Piotr Beczala, Marina Poplavskaya, Peter Mattei, and Rolando Villazón
Production: Deborah Warner
Director: Fiona Shaw
Conductor: Robin Ticciati.
Netrebko will reprise one of her greatest successes in recent years, the heroine Tatiana in Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, this time paired with fellow Russian superstar Dmitri Hvorostovsky as Onegin. Alexey Dolgov will sing Lenski in the revival, conducted by Robin Ticciati.
Anna Netrebko and Dmitri Hvorostovsky star as the lovestruck Tatiana and the imperious Onegin in Tchaikovsky’s fateful romance. Deborah Warner’s new production, directed by Fiona Shaw, set in the late 19th century, moves episodically from farmhouse to ballroom, with a powerful snowstorm providing the dramatic setting for the finale. Alexey Dolgov is Lenski, Onegin’s friend turned rival.
On the country estate of the widowed Madame Larina, the peasants return from the fields celebrating the harvest with song and dance. Madame Larina’s daughter Olga teases her older sister Tatiana for avoiding the festivities; Tatiana prefers her romantic novels. Olga’s suitor, the poet Lenski, arrives with his friend Eugene Onegin and declares his love for Olga. Onegin strolls through the garden with Tatiana and asks how she doesn’t get bored with country life. Unnerved by the handsome and elegant stranger, Tatiana answers with difficulty. The two couples go inside for dinner as night falls.
In her bedroom, Tatiana persuades her reluctant nurse Filippyevna to tell her of her first love and marriage. Tatiana admits she is in love and asks to be left alone. She sits up the entire night writing a passionate letter to Onegin. When day breaks, she gives the letter to Filippyevna for her grandson to deliver.
A group of women sing as they work in the Larins’ garden. Tatiana appears, nervous, followed by Onegin who asks that she hear him out patiently. He admits he was touched by her letter, but adds that he would quickly grow bored with marriage and can only offer her friendship. He coldly advises her to better control her emotions in the future, lest another man take advantage of her innocence.
Some months later, a party is underway in the Larins’ house for Tatiana’s name day. Onegin dances with Tatiana but is bored by the provincial ways of the country people. Annoyed with Lenski for having dragged him there, Onegin then dances with Olga, who is momentarily distracted by the charming man. Monsieur Triquet, Tatiana’s elderly French tutor, serenades her with a song he has written in her honor. When the dancing resumes, Lenski jealously confronts Onegin and accuses him of flirting with Olga. Madame Larina begs the men not to quarrel in her house, but Lenski cannot be calmed and Onegin accepts his challenge to a duel.
Lenski waits for Onegin at the appointed spot at dawn. He reflects on the folly of his brief life and imagines Olga visiting his grave. When Onegin finally arrives, he and Lenski both admit to themselves that the duel is pointless and they would prefer to laugh together than to fight, but honor must be satisfied. The duel is marked off and Onegin kills Lenski.
Several years later, at a ball in the Gremin Palace in St. Petersburg, Onegin reflects bitterly on the fact that he has traveled the world seeking some meaning in life, and all his efforts have led him to yet another dull social event. Suddenly he recognizes Tatiana across the ballroom, dressed in a beautiful gown and bearing herself with great dignity. He realizes she is no longer a country girl. Questioning his cousin, Prince Gremin, he learns that Tatiana is now Gremin’s wife. The older man explains that he married Tatiana two years previously and describes Tatiana as his life’s salvation. When Gremin introduces Onegin, Tatiana maintains her composure but excuses herself after a few words of polite conversation. Onegin is stunned to realize that he is in love with Tatiana.
The following day, Tatiana is distressed when she receives an impassioned letter from Onegin. He rushes in and falls at her feet, but she maintains her control, asking him if he desires her now for her wealth and position. She recalls the days when they might have been happy, but that time has passed. Onegin repeats he is in love with her. Faltering for a moment, Tatiana admits that she still loves him, but she will not leave her husband and ruin her life. She leaves him regretting his bitter destiny.
"Netrebko's stellar Tatyana worth the wait!" Opera Britannia
"this season-opening evening ultimately belonged to Anna Netrebko" Finanacial Times
"Gergiev led a gorgeous, flowing performance. He seems to channel the spirit of Tchaikovsky directly from the afterworld, the lyrical phrases rolling out of his hands with ideal pace." The Classical Review