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Thread: Operas by Tchaikovsky on DVD/Blu-ray/CD

          
   
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  1. #16
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Soave_Fanciulla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dark_Angel View Post
    I must mention the bizarre bald man ghost character in all white that appears in many scences, I can figure no logical reason why he is present in the opera. Has no spoken words or singing, just gets kinda annoying standing around acting important sometimes even directing events. Then this arrogant ghost gets a top position in curtain call taking long bow like he really did something important lapping up the applause........NOT!
    He is Onegin grown old, looking back in regret. I thought he was great.
    Natalie

  2. #17
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Dark_Angel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soave_Fanciulla View Post
    He is Onegin grown old, looking back in regret. I thought he was great.
    Aha.......I should have known by that white cane the ghost had like the live Onegin, ghost should have slapped some sense into Onegin when he first met lovely young Tatyana.

    Did you notice at begining of act three after Lensky was shot in duel he makes brief appearance also as white ghost and is given a white long coat to wear then quickly dissappears, hmmmmm

  3. #18
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Dark_Angel's Avatar
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    next

  4. #19
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Soave_Fanciulla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dark_Angel View Post
    Aha.......I should have known by that white cane the ghost had like the live Onegin, ghost should have slapped some sense into Onegin when he first met lovely young Tatyana.
    That's the whole point, isn't it, that we look back and think..if only!
    Natalie

  5. #20
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Amfortas's Avatar
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    Well, I've got the DVD on order, so if I don't like it, I'll do some looking back and thinking "if only" myself!

    Actually, just in case it disappoints, I also ordered this classic old Bolshoi Opera film version, a favorite of mine, along with it:




    I find it impossible to think of any other filmed opera so well done.

  6. #21
    Opera Lively Coordinator - Donor Member Top Contributor Member tyroneslothrop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dark_Angel View Post
    ... but the unfullfilled love story never made much sense to me ...
    Pushkin's EO is a very, very Russian poem. Having lived in Russia for 7 years and been married to a Russian devushka for 15, I realize that EO is simply a metaphor for how Russians view the world. Consider Russian literature. Who do we know in the West that actually behaves like any of the great Russian literary protagonists? Certainly, I understand EO a lot better now then I did 18 years ago when I saw it for the first time on a VHS tape with the '91 Kirov production that I borrowed from the public library. Perhaps I should start an off-topic Russian thread!

    ADDED: I just went and googled for Russkaya dusha ('Russian soul') and found a wikipedia entry! Of course! haha

  7. #22
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Dark_Angel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tyroneslothrop View Post
    Pushkin's EO is a very, very Russian poem. Having lived in Russia for 7 years and been married to a Russian devushka for 15, I realize that EO is simply a metaphor for how Russians view the world. Consider Russian literature. Who do we know in the West that actually behaves like any of the great Russian literary protagonists? Certainly, I understand EO a lot better now then I did 18 years ago when I saw it for the first time on a VHS tape with the '91 Kirov production that I borrowed from the public library. Perhaps I should start an off-topic Russian thread!

    ADDED: I just went and googled for Russkaya dusha ('Russian soul') and found a wikipedia entry! Of course! haha
    Suffering in the motherland is a noble trait it seems........

    We really can't feel sorry for Onegin however since he was an arrogant *** that killed his best friend Lensky in duel over trying to score his girlfriend Olga

  8. #23
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Amfortas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dark_Angel View Post
    We really can't feel sorry for Onegin however since he was an arrogant *** that killed his best friend Lensky in duel over trying to score his girlfriend Olga
    My sympathies go more toward Tatyana--rejected by the man she loves, then years later pursued by him when she is no longer available.

    As the Russians are fond of saying, "life sucks."

  9. #24
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Soave_Fanciulla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amfortas View Post
    As the Russians are fond of saying, "life sucks."
    Isn't THAT the Russian soul?
    Natalie

  10. #25
    Opera Lively Coordinator - Donor Member Top Contributor Member tyroneslothrop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soave_Fanciulla View Post
    Isn't THAT the Russian soul?
    Now Soave_Fanciulla, have you been watching Mussorgsky's Khovanshchina again?

    (Those of you who are less familiar with all things Russian and are wondering why life sucks, read this short story which fully captures "suck" in a few short pages! Gogol's The Overcoat)

  11. #26
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Amfortas's Avatar
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    I want to give a belated, public thanks to Dark_Angel and Soave_Fanciulla for turning me on to this:



    This Valencia Palau de les Arts Eugene Onegin, staged by Polish theatre and film director Mariusz Trelinski, and featuring Kristine Opolais and Artur Rucinski, is definitely not a traditional, naturalistic staging, nor even a sparse, abstracted evocation of such a world like Robert Carsen's Met production. It's an inventive, unabashedly stylized, and highly theatrical take on the opera, delivering a powerful punch. The performance features a young, attractive, lively cast, and the orchestra under the baton of conductor Omer Meir Wellber is similarly impassioned.

    Trelinski conceives the opera as a memory piece, about looking back in time with regret at foolish choices and lost opportunities--a kind of "Remembrance of Things Past" approach. The production is marked by the presence of an older, more worldly wise Onegin, referred to in the credits simply as "O . . ." As the quiet prelude plays, the bald, haggard old man walks slowly across the ringed forestage in front of the orchestra, leaning heavily on his cane. Stooping to pick up an apple, he is transported back to the memory of a tree in the garden where he once rejected the love of his life, Tatyana. The story proceeds from there.

    This old man remains a hovering, ghostlike presence who appears at various points throughout the proceedings. It's interesting that while the young Onegin is garbed in black, his older self dresses all in white--just like the young Lensky. It's as if the director has taken his cue from Freud's "Mourning and Melancholia" essay, the idea that the melancholic incapable of going through the normal stages of mourning--often because of an overriding sense of guilt--identifies with the lost object and incorporates it into his own ego. In later life, the once callow and unfeeling Onegin has become pining, lovelorn, and filled with regret--in effect taking on the sensitive, poetic identity of the friend he killed.

    As Tatyana, Kristine Opolais displays both her cool blonde beauty and her formidable vocal artistry. As in her other roles, she is not content to rely on her looks, but gives a powerful, committed performance. Much of the time she is indeed, as pointed out earlier in this thread, surprisingly cold and detached--not just a pining young school girl, but almost a case of clinical depression. But her moments of passionate outburst become all the more compelling in contrast. The stylized blocking and stark lighting all help convey the sense of a Tatyana caught up in some nightmarish existential crisis. This impression culminates in her great letter scene, where she performs a kind of tormented, ghostly pas de deux with the old man Onegin.

    This scene, and the production as a whole, raises anew the question that always besets this opera: whose story is it? Because Onegin is the titular character, some productions, like Trelinski's, Robert Carsen's, and Stefan Herheim's, opt to center the concept on his memories. But Tchaikovsky reserved his most tender sympathy and impassioned music for Tatyana, making hers seem the central point of view and the true, beating heart of the piece. Presenting her letter scene this way, with the oppressive presence of the old Onegin, introduces an unsettling tension. Is Tatyana's suffering, then, merely a distorted, ego-inflated fantasy of Onegin's? Or, in her youthful anguish, is Tatyana foreseeing what lies ahead and somehow reaching across the decades to the man who can never be hers? The staging raises more questions than it answers, but in a provocative, gripping way.

    As the younger Onegin, Rucinski sings magnificently, though he doesn't cut the devastatingly handsome figure of a Hvorostovsky. But with his darkly lined eyes and small, narrow moustache, he projects a kind of insidious, rodent-like charm that makes the inherent unpleasantness of the character, and his ultimate self-loathing, all the more tangible.

    The other main characters are similarly effective. Lena Belkina is an attractive, fresh voiced Olga. As Lensky, Dmitri Korchak projects the right youthful impetuousness, and sings the great aria before his fatal duel with touching sincerity. The duel itself is handled with stark, restrained beauty under falling snow. After it is over and Lensky lies dead, Onegin simply walks away into the distance, while his older self, kneeling on the forestage, grimaces in agony as he raises his arms to the heavens.

    As opposed to the austere poetry of the more intimate moments, the big crowd scenes explode in garish costumes, lurid colors, and stylized choreography. The Act II party gathering includes dancers in animal masks, aptly suggesting the predatory nature of society. The Act III ballroom set is dominated by a staircase backed by a huge downward-pointing red arrow (an almost too blatant indication, perhaps, of Onegin's sad trajectory?). As the dance music plays, the old man directs a long line of women parading in ghoulishly distorted ballroom attire, perhaps representing the endless series of partners he has gone through in a futile effort to assuage his loneliness and guilt.

    Tatyana appears here in a long, svelte, hot pink dress, arms raised stiffly to either side, befitting her constrained new role in society. During Gremin's area, Onegin and Tatyana slowly dance under a swirling light, their spirits reaching out in a way forbidden to them by the real world. Later, the great final scene ends with Tatyana leaving Onegin alone on the forestage, while in the background a half dozen men in suits and top hats use their crossed canes to lift up the old man in a kind of crucifixion, then throw him to the floor in a lifeless heap. All along, it seems, we have been watching Onegin's final, remorseful moments.

    If you love Eugene Onegin, and are open to freewheeling Regie productions done with style, intelligence, and sheer beauty, I highly recommend this DVD.

    Here, once again, is the trailer posted by Dark_Angel:

    Last edited by Amfortas; July 7th, 2013 at 08:42 PM.

  12. #27
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Dark_Angel's Avatar
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    Yes overall very sucessful, the regie variations and exciting visuals are in sympathy with the basic storyline thus a worthy release and perfect compliment to the famous traditional Fleming version......

    I am still puzzled why the white ghost Onegin got such prominent applause during curtain call, he had no spoken or sung lines, I guess it took real skill to profoundly pick up an apple and stare at it, wave around your walking cane etc

  13. #28
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Amfortas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dark_Angel View Post
    Yes overall very sucessful, the regie variations and exciting visuals are in sympathy with the basic storyline thus a worthy release and perfect compliment to the famous traditional Fleming version......

    I am still puzzled why the white ghost Onegin got such prominent applause during curtain call, he had no spoken or sung lines, I guess it took real skill to profoundly pick up an apple and stare at it, wave around your walking cane etc
    I suppose they were acknowledging the importance of the character within this particular directorial concept, rather than any virtuoso contribution from the performer. I agree the applause was a little odd, but adding such an omnipresent, silent figure in the first place was a bit unusual.

  14. #29
    Opera Lively Coordinator - Donor Member Top Contributor Member tyroneslothrop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amfortas View Post
    I suppose they were acknowledging the importance of the character within this particular directorial concept, rather than any virtuoso contribution from the performer. I agree the applause was a little odd, but adding such an omnipresent, silent figure in the first place was a bit unusual.
    The ROH E.O. also had omnipresent silent figures (although they danced). The difference is that in Valencia production, the silent figure is the older world-wise Onegin, but in the ROH, the silent figures were the younger characters while the older versions of the characters are singing. There is a similar dreamlike feel even though it seems to be the inverse of the Valencia production.
    “The hand of Providence creeps among the stars, giving Slothrop the finger.”
    ― Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow

  15. #30
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Amfortas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tyroneslothrop View Post
    The ROH E.O. also had omnipresent silent figures (although they danced). The difference is that in Valencia production, the silent figure is the older world-wise Onegin, but in the ROH, the silent figures were the younger characters while the older versions of the characters are singing. There is a similar dreamlike feel even though it seems to be the inverse of the Valencia production.
    Stefan Herheim did something similar in his Amsterdam production, when at times a young dancer doubled for Tatyana--sung, as at the ROH, by Krassimira Stoyanova.

    Poor Krassimira . . . it's as if directors are trying to tell her something.

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