Published on February 3rd, 2012 12:25 AM
Number of Views: 6501
So that our readers can follow the opera while they read the musical analysis scene by scene, here is the first complete recording of Eugene Onegin, made in 1936. It was allegedly the soundtrack for a film that was never made.
Eugene Onegin Vassily Nebolsin Bolshoi 1936 Tchaikovsky
Lensky -Sergei Lemeshev
Eugene Onegin - Panteleimon Nortsov
Prince Gremin - Alexander Pirogov
Tatania - Glafira Joukovskaya
Olga - Bronislava Zlatogorova
Larina - Maria Boutienina
Filipievna - Konkordiya Antarova
Triquet - Ivan Kovalenko
Zaretsky - Anatoly Yakhontov
Captain - Igor Mantchavin
It's difficult to appreciate in the 21st century how much of a novelty was Onegin, when it premiered in Moscow, back in 1879. Most of Russian and Slavic opera was devoted to political topics (A Life for the Tsar, Boris Godunov, Khovanshchina,...), fairy tales (Ruslan and Ludmila, Rusalka, May Night,..) or even Biblical adaptations like Serov's Judith. However, Onegin was centered in the life and passions of standard human beings.
Onegin is a Romantic opera. It's also full of melody, there are no formal experiments here, it was the perfect daughter of her times. Of course, with such a crafted instrumental music composer for the orchestra as Tchaikovsky was, we can find many fine details in the orchestration, as well as some motif building, but the prominent role is never in the pit, it's in the voices of the singers. Not that there is any spectacular vocal pyrotechnics, that was very far from Tchaikovsky's intention, nor do they fight a huge orchestra. He just wanted from his singers expressiveness, and flawless delivery of the text.