Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin
Saturday, April 22, 2017, 12:55 pm
Composer: Pyotr Tchaikovsky
Librettist: Konstantin Shilovsky
Sung In Russian
Estimated Run Time: 3 hrs 37 mins
Conductor: Robin Ticciati
Tatiana: Anna Netrebko
Olga: Elena Maximova
Lenski: Alexey Dolgov
Onegin: Dmitri Hvorostovsky
Gremin: Štefan Kocán
CASTING UPDATE NEWS
Dmitri Hvorostovsky has withdrawn from his upcoming opera engagements, including this spring’s Met performances as the title character in Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, due to illness. In June 2015, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor and began treatment. However, balance issues resulting from the illness have made the performance of staged opera difficult, though he plans to continue performing in concerts, recitals, and the recording studio.
Mariusz Kwiecien and Peter Mattei will step into the role of Onegin at the Met for this spring’s performances, with Kwiecien singing on March 30, April 3 and 7 and Mattei singing on April 12, 15, 18, and 22 matinee.
Eugene Onegin will be conducted by Robin Ticciati and will also star Anna Netrebko as Tatiana, Elena Maximova as Olga, Alexey Dolgov as Lenski, and Štefan Kocán as Gremin. The April 22 matinee performance will be transmitted worldwide as part of the Met’s Live in HD series, which now reaches more than 2,000 theaters in 70 countries around the globe.
Mariusz Kwiecien sang Onegin in the 2013 premiere of Deborah Warner’s staging, also opposite Netrebko. He has sung a total of 19 roles at the Met over the course of his 17-year career with the company, most recently the Duke of Nottingham in the company premiere of Donizetti’s Roberto Devereux; Zurga in Bizet’s Les Pêcheurs de Perles; Count Almaviva in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro; Riccardo Forth in Bellini’s I Puritani; and Belcore in Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore. This season, he also sings Onegin at the Polish National Opera and Lyric Opera of Chicago, as well as the title role in Mozart’s Don Giovanni at the Met.
Peter Mattei made his Met role debut as Onegin in 2013. He has sung 118 Met performances of nine roles, including Figaro in Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia, which he reprises at the Met this season; the title character in Don Giovanni; Count Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro; Amfortas in Wagner’s Parsifal; Yeletsky in Tchaikovsky’s The Queen of Spades; and, last season, Wolfram in Wagner’s Tannhäuser. This season, he will also sing Onegin at Paris Opera, Count Almaviva at the Vienna State Opera, and Rodrigo in Verdi’s Don Carlo at Zurich Opera.
Tchaikovsky’s setting of Pushkin’s timeless verse novel is presented on the Met stage in Deborah Warner’s moving production, starring Anna Netrebko and Dmitri Hvorostovsky as Tatiana and Onegin. Alexey Dolgov sings the role of Lenski, and Robin Ticciati conducts.
World premiere: Maly Theater, Moscow, 1879 (student performance). Professional premiere: Bolshoi Theater, 1881. Tchaikovsky’s many moods—tender, grand, melancholy—are all given free rein in Eugene Onegin. The opera is based on Pushkin’s iconic verse novel, which re-imagines the Byronic romantic anti-hero as the definitive bored Russian aristocrat caught between convention and ennui; Tchaikovsky, similarly, took Western European operatic forms and transformed them into an authentic and undeniably Russian work. At the core of the opera is the young girl Tatiana, who grows from a sentimental adolescent into a complete woman in one of the operatic stage’s most convincing character developments.
Pushkin presents a vast overview of old Russian society around 1820, which Tchaikovsky’s original score neatly divides into each of its three acts: from the timeless rituals of country life to the rural gentry with its troubles and pleasures and, finally, the glittering imperial aristocracy of St. Petersburg. The Met’s production places the action in the later 19th century, around the time of the opera’s premiere.
January. The local community has been invited to the Larin estate to celebrate Tatiana’s name day. Onegin has reluctantly agreed to accompany Lenski to what he mistakenly believes will be an intimate family celebration. Annoyed to find himself trapped at an enormous party and bored by the occasion, Onegin takes his revenge on Lenski by flirting and dancing with Olga. Lenski’s jealousy is aroused to such a height that he challenges Onegin to a duel. The party breaks up.
Russia, 19th century. Autumn in the country. On the Larin estate. Madame Larina reflects upon the days before she married, when she was courted by her husband but loved another. She is now a widow with two daughters: Tatiana and Olga. While Tatiana spends her time reading novels, with whose heroines she closely identifies, Olga is being courted by their neighbor, the poet Lenski. He arrives unexpectedly, bringing with him a new visitor, Eugene Onegin, with whom Tatiana falls in love.
Tatiana asks her nurse Filippyevna to tell her of her first love and marriage. Tatiana stays up all night writing a passionate letter to Onegin and persuades Filippyevna to have her grandson deliver it in the morning.
Tatiana waits for Onegin’s response in the garden. He admits that he was touched by her declaration but explains that he cannot accept it and can only offer her friendship. He advises her to control her emotions, lest another man take advantage of her innocence.
Before the duel, Lenski meditates upon his poetry, upon his love for Olga, and upon death. Lenski’s second finds Onegin’s late arrival and his choice of a second insulting. Although both Lenski and Onegin are full of remorse, neither stops the duel. Lenski is killed.
St. Petersburg. Having travelled abroad for several years since the duel, Onegin has returned to the capital. At a ball, Prince Gremin introduces his young wife. Onegin is astonished to recognize her as Tatiana and to realize that he is in love with her.
Onegin has sent a letter to Tatiana. He arrives at the Gremin palace and begs her to run away with him. Tatiana admits that she still loves him, but that she has made her decision and will not leave her husband. Onegin is left desperate. —Reprinted courtesy of English National Opera.
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