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  »  New  Getting Started with Myaskovsky..  Myaskovsky Orgy...  Musical Discussions  Forum     35  216529  09-18-2006
11-25-2005 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,540
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 1
Post ID: 1789
Reply to: 1789
Tchaikovsky’s “Evgeny Onegin”

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“Evgeny Onegin” is kind of idiosyncratically-charismatic Russian opera. As beautiful it is the “Onegin” has no typical thrill that the ordinary opera lovers accustomed to get rush upon. It has nether gipsy colors on the stage, nor masquerade grand dancing. It has nether  large orchestra with Wagnerian sound effects nor It has Italian vocal wipes…. In fact I believe Tchaikovsky never even called it an opera but rather the “lyric scenes”. However, if you were blessed by ability to undusted Pushkin’s lyrics and were exposed to a proper performance of this Tchaikovsky’s work then the force of the “Onegin” opera would forever be implanted in your mind. Yes, properly composed and performed the minimalist operatic means could in context of ‘everything else” to pump the artistic pressure with a force of mid-size hurricane and as far as I concern the “Evgeny Onegin” is one of those works. The opera is the very best what Tchaikovsky ever did for stage and arguably the very best that he ever did.

In a way the “Evgeny Onegin” is a lucky opera and it was performed countless number times. Abbado, Rozhdestvenskii,  Stokowski, Karajan, Ozawa, Fiedler and many other conducted “Onegin”, many orchestras took it and most of the noted singers in one way or another sang the pieces from “Onegin”. Many musicians played “Onegin” and even Jascha Heifetz tried to accommodate the opera for violin. Onegin was sang in English and German, both horrible but … hey, whatever!

There are plenty performances out there on CD, LPs and bootlegs. To mention a few that were not “complete” disaster and without any particular order:

  • Kruglikova, Ivanov and estimable Kozlovskii with Bolshoi Chorus/Orchestra under Aleksandr Orlov  in 1947-1948
  • Mazurok, Vishnevskaia and Atlantov with Bolshoi Orchestra & Chorus in paris by Mstislav Rostropovich in 1970. the performance that Rostropovich was hoping all, his live and that turn out to be  very mediocre
  • Soundtrack of film by Bolshoi with Vishnevskaya and conducted by Khaikin in 1957 (not with the 1955 cast)
  • Thomas Allen with Freni accompanied by Staatskapelle Dresden lead by James Levine in 1987
  • Mazurok, Milashkina, Atlantov, wonderful Siniavskay and  Nesterenko with Bolshoi lead by Mark Ermler in 1977
  • Nortzov, Zhukovskaia, first recording since 1927 of Sergei Lemeshev and wonderful Aleksandr Pirogov with Bolshoi Theatre conducted by  Nebolsin  in 1936
  • Mazurok,  Gedda by semi-tuned Bulgarian Festival Orchestra under  Tchakarov  in 1988
  • Weikl, Kubiak and Ghiaurov with Royal Covent Garden  under Georg Solti  in 1974
  • Semyon Bychkov conducting the Orchestre de Paris in 1994 and then later in 2002 leading the Vienna Staatsoper

And of course there was the Onegin of the Onegins: the performance in 1955 by Boris Khaikin with Bolshoi Orchestra & Chorus in studio of Moscow Radio Center. The singers were top notch: Evgenii Belov was singing Onegin. Many people do not appreciate what he did but I  feel he was the best Onegin ever. Onegin should be singing carelessly, superficially and with somehow artificial emotions. It was exactly what Belov did and I could not expect anything better from Onegin in context of the given opera. Yong eight-moth pregnant Galina Vishnevskaiy sung Tatiana. It was probably the best-recorded performance of Vishnevskaiy and probably the last time when he sang more or less interestingly. Unfortunately later on his “babushka inflection” took over her singing mannerism and she never was “there” anymore. The very minor criticism might be extended to the final of the opera when 29 years old Vishnevskaiy tried to sing “old and experienced Tatiana” but unfortunately she sounded like a teacher in a catholic school. Still, he did very-very fine job even there. Many years later Vishnevskaia, when she got some life maturity, did the final duet with Onegin better, I would not say sonically better but rather better in acting mannerism. At that time her age was more corresponding to the “retired” Tatiana. Sergei Lemeshev sing Lensky, well this, I hope, does not require any further explanations….   Larissa Avdeeva did very good Olga and  Ivan Petrov  performed a phenomenal Gremin.  One of my favorite character in the “Onegin” (the poem) is nana and she was performed by  Evgenia Verbitskaia, and performed beautifully. In other word it was a pure perfection but the real melting force that took it all together come form amassing conducting of Boris Khaikin and from a very-very tasteful mixing of this studio recording.  Khaikin is stunningly supportive but never brisk, never flashy, never full of his orchestra but in those Tchaikovsky’s moment what he allow the music to bloom Khaikin and his orchestra dose something that no one before or after was not able to repeat in this work

The recording quality of the Onegin’55, as I said, was wonderful. It was one of the last mono recordings and they did a phenomenal quality and mastering. With a good playback this mono recording will be larger then 99% of your stereo recordings, or course it you find a good copy…

Well, to find a good copy it virtually imposable. Russians release that album on this first Melodia and some alternative, labels. Unfortunately the early Russian vinyl was horrible (the later was very bad as well) and all Onegin’55 records (that I have seen) are quite surface-noisy. Among a dozen of the Onegin’55 first pressings that I own all of them have very pure vinyl with the insect’s legs sticking out of the grooves. I have a dozen or so early Western pressings of the same performance but I am not very warm about them as well. A very minor exception might be the very early Westminster pressing where they use some kind of very strange EQ curve. This curve is very different from anything else and turn my air caps in my corrector to play the record …  the CDs are ever worst. There are 5 CDs “pressing” and all of them too sharp and too aggressive. The most horrible of them the ordinal Melodia double-box CD. This set is so “hot” that it even poisoning. Ironically the very best of records Onegin’55 come from a radical CD by Legato. These guys took an old and nosy record and juts recoded it on CD, using a low pass filter. No mater how bad it was but it is the most musically sounding Onegin’55 that you might find on CD. Probably the use low-pass filtering on analog domain that contrary to digital domain did not destroy the stricture of music and voices.  I was thinking to do the transfer myself… Since I god recently the Larvy AD-122 and since I have a copy of sealed (!) Westminster Onegin’55 I might do a very reasonable transfer sometimes… but there is a catch…

People who read my site frequently know that I recently infatuated with the mystery of FM query. In a few days my favorite local station will broadcast the Onegin’55. I do not know what source they will be using and how it will turn out to be after it go through the “FM musicalization”. However, I will be recording and if I will be lucky and if my assumption about the “FM magic” will be correct again  then I might have an interesting result from this Fm broadcast.

I will posting the fragments if it will be worth it…
Romy the Cat




"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
11-25-2005 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Antonio J.
Madrid, Spain
Posts 272
Joined on 08-16-2004

Post #: 2
Post ID: 1790
Reply to: 1789
I wish it works

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I listened to the transfers you did and they have "something". If that broadcast has it we'll have a nice nice time :-)

Rgrds,

Antonio
11-30-2005 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,540
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 3
Post ID: 1800
Reply to: 1790
Correction: Legato’s Onegin’55

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Interesting,

today I brought the Legato’s Onegin’55 to my work trying to listen it and I realized the after a few years of not listening  I completely forgot how it was. What strike me this time that the Legato’s release (LCD-163-2) does not sound to me today as convincing as I initially felt. It kind of gray and not imprecise enough, sound wise. Let see what the FM transmission would offer this Sunday. Most like it will be the Malodia CD and I hope that FM will slightly subdue that insulting edginess that the Rockies put in their CD.

The Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
12-01-2005 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,540
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 4
Post ID: 1802
Reply to: 1789
Aleksandr Pushkin. Eugene Onegin

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A. S. Pushkin. "Eugene Onegin", Translation by Charles H. Johnston.  (~500K, MS Word)


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
12-04-2005 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,540
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 5
Post ID: 1825
Reply to: 1802
“Onegin”Broadcast disaster...

OK,

the Onegin’55 broadcast went through and was recorded. I asked Clark to figure out what they would be using as sources. He was not able to but he made me “happy” informing me that “the broadcast -- due to a temporary glitch -- will be compressed.” Well, whatever! What can we do!

In the realty the broadcast was even worst then I anticipated. First of all they did not run the opera from CD but from the MP3 file. The introduction and the comment were very inaccurate and the entire quality of translation was horrible. I pretty much shut everything down after I head the first diet, and went to watch the bottleful comedy “Racing Stripes” for 4773 times. A pelican quoting “The Godfather” was much more fan then Lemeshev squished into the MP3 noise.

Anyhow, for whoever cares here are few fragments from Onegin’55. The first one is from the original Melodia CD. When you hear hot burned it was I hope you wish that Russkies get themselves the reasonable AD converters and will not use in thier studios the garbage what they picked form a Chinese trash. The rest are western transfers but defiantly not from the original master tapes but from the crap the managed to obtained.

Anyhow, enjoy the Onegin’55

http://www.goodsoundclub.com/Forums/Members/fm.aspx

In the end a version of kinky a “Onegin”. The last file in the Onegin’s collection is the estimable Ivan Kozlovsky sings Lensky’s.

Rgs,
Romy the Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
08-28-2006 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,540
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 6
Post ID: 2788
Reply to: 1789
The NEW “Evgeny Onegin” 1955?

 Romy the Cat wrote:
And of course there was the Onegin of the Onegins: the performance in 1955 by Boris Khaikin with Bolshoi Orchestra & Chorus in studio of Moscow Radio Center.
Ah, I was spinning today the Khaikin’s Onegin’55. You feel that Bolshoi Orchestra in 50s had no tone? You feel that 1955 recording was lucking anything of something?  You are quite wring and here is where my new lover midrange channel show up itself in it’s full bloom. Being precisely dialed-in the new channel gave a very dramatic feeling of “complexity”. It is like an apple from Connecticut archery vs. an apple that was growing in South France soil – the different earth, different minerals and the different taste – whoever tried the South France fresh food would know what I mean.

Say whatever you want about the sound of Russian orchestras: obnoxious brass, crappy woodwinds and many other things….  but when Russian cello and viola sections come to hit then there is nothing like they. The new “fundamental channel” clearly showed it off in full glory. It is very funny but I very distinctly sensed it, even listening Onegin’55 from “behind the corner”, lying in my bathtub dozens feet from my playback.

It juts came to me that the “fundaments channel” does the effect of SPUnization only the effect if completely manageable and tunable. If you know the lower midrange and upper bass of some SPU cartridges then you know what I mean….

 Romy the Cat wrote:
The most horrible of them the ordinal Melodia double-box CD. This set is so “hot” that it even poisoning.

Running those disks on NESPA Optical Disc Finalizer cures the  problem very-very substantially!

Rgs,
Romy the Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
12-16-2006 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,540
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 7
Post ID: 3308
Reply to: 1800
Renée Fleming as Onegin’s Tatiana.

Looking at the coming MET “Eugene Onegin” production on February 24 it would be very interesting to hear Renée Fleming as Tatiana. I always love when foreigners sings Russian repertoire, particularly if they are “really trying” and if they are somebody with Renée Fleming magnitude. In the end of 2000 Renée Fleming performed with Russian baritone Hvorostovsky the sequences of concert-staged scenes from “Eugene Onegin". Mark Elder led the Orchestra of St. Luke. I like the concert-staged performances generally but in this case it was more then good,  partially for the “grown up” Tatiana. Here it comes…







I will be waiting for the February 24 with my tail trammeling…


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
02-27-2007 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,540
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 8
Post ID: 3825
Reply to: 3308
MET’s "Onegin" Broadcast – the apocalyptic now.

 Romy the Cat wrote:
I will be waiting for the February 24 with my tail trammeling…
Well, I went last Saturday to see the long-expected MET Broadcast. It was generally positive experience but it had own “apocalyptical” tones… “I do not know how to begin…”

Sure, I was very enthusiastic to see Renée Fleming as Tatiana after her very wonderful performance in concert version on Onegin in 2000. Renée looked sensational and her transformation in 17 year old Tatiana was… well with her opoenning I I juts did not recognize her.  Her singings were OK but not as good as in 2000. It felt like she was “less trying” of you know what I mean. Renée is a wonderful actor but other type of actor then it necessary for Onegin. Her overlay mannered gestures kind of looked ridicules at begin and I got a feeling that a salsa dancer came to dance in the second act of “Swan Lake”. Eventually I grew on Renée acting and in the end I accepted it and it did not bother me. Sure there are some Renée’s motions that I would like to have alerted but what is the alternative? To have the typical Russian singer who will again to sit in her chair like a beech whale? In the end I kind of like that “animated” Tatiana, so the direction was good. It was of course the animation with some inflection of cheap American sentimentalism but, hey, - this his how all operas are being produced nowadays…

Dmitry Hvorostovsky was OK as Onegin. I’m not a big fan of this singer but Onegin is not as “flashy” character and I think that Hvorostovsky is well suited for the roll.

Lensky was played by Mexican Ramón Vargas. Because some reasons that I will mention below in the first part Ramón was horrible. He was so bad that I can wait unit Onegin will kill him…. But the tables completely turned in the second acts. Well it was not necessary the Ramón’s problem – the MET broadcast completely butchered Ramón Vargas’ performance – I will talk about it later…

Tow other characters deserve to me mentioned Svetlana Volkova as Tatiana mother – she was nice and “secure” I might say. The real thrill was Larisa Shevchenko singing Tatiana’s nanny. The nanny is my favorite character in the entire poem and the second duet between the nanny and Tatiana is my absolute beloved moment on entries the entire Onegin opera.  Svetlana Volkova did a phenomenal singing and acting (wherever she was not destroyed by the stupid orchestra).

     To me, Onegin, all this glory
     is tinsel on a life I hate;
     this modish whirl, this social story,
     my house, my evenings, all that state --
     what's in them? All this loud parading,
     and all this flashy masquerading,
     the glare, the fumes in which I live,
     this very day I'd gladly give,
     give for a bookshelf, a neglected
     garden, a modest home, the place
     of our first meeting face to face,
     and the churchyard where, new-erected,
     a humble cross, in woodland gloom,
     stands over my poor nanny's tomb.

The stupid orchestra… This was disaster. The orchestra itself was not the end of the world, made mistakes here and there but it was near “passable”. The orchestra was lead by the celebrated Valery Gergiev, not my beloved conductor but he has his moments. What was absolutely divesting in the performance that over entire opera I experience perhaps 3-4 moments when orchestra actually met what the singers did. Sometimes I really thought that video and audio are being transmitted live via different feed and they just not synchronized. Rhythmically Gergiev orchestra was OK but absolutely off the coordination with singers. Very-very unfortunate and torturing to listen….

I also was no into the Robert Carsen productions. I understand that MET went for Manhattan-type abstract kitsch. I hardly worked for Onegin. The white walls from a Museum of Modern Art and 3 trees that looked like Florida’s palms were so ridicules that it was even finny. The villagers from the firs act were dressed very funny, hardly Russian and they danced like a Jew-dentists during their kids bar-mitzvah. I was anticipating that now Baryshnikov will jump to the stage accompanied with a Russian bare on a leash and they will begin to dance the Dagestanian’s Lezginka. Thanks god it did not happen….

Still, dispute all imperfections it was appreciated that American MET try to runs Russian-language production of Eugene Onegin…. but unfortunate here is where the all event participant were absolutely screwed by absolutely senseless Broadcast.

They did not allow anyone on the theater because they according to the theater’s employee were “finishing with sound check”. I told to a friend one mine that it should be very good. Then what the prelude started I though that Gergiev put a part of his orchestra somewhere in corridor in order to get the Mahler “voices from other side”… Then when they opened opera I realized that we all screwed.  It was not juts bad sound it was apocalypticly bad sound!!!!

First off all it was probably 25db (!!!!!) less than it should be, it was so soft that it sounded physically broken. Then it was not juts compressed but it was swashed to inhumane level. I was not able to distinct sound of cello sections form second violin and I would not able be able to recognize the word the singers of I do not know them. To insult the injury the sound had no high frequency above 6kHz. Pretend it – a hugely compressed mid-range noise transmitted at 70dB  - what the experience of the opera spectacle!!!

Well, I admit that I’m not familiar with what sound people have in movie theaters. The last time I was in movie theaters it was I think 1999. All that I do and know about public sound is my trips to classical performances and my listening of my own playback. So, it is possible that that sound that we had in there was a typical movie theaters but a friend of my who was with me told me that when he do to movie theaters then sound is way better.  I can give you that ease idea how it sounded.  Take 150Hz horn; load it with a MF driver that dies of at 6K and stick you head deep into the mouth of the horns. The sound you will hear will be execalsy the sound of the MET via that broadcast. Anyhow, I was sitting during the first part boring like hell and was contemplated to leave. Then right after the end of the first act they tuned the light on and begin to show the “behind the stage film”. It was very nice and I decided to stay.

For whatever second in the second act sound become better - they slightly reduced compression and added a lot more volume, almost making it as it should be. It was almost tolerable and it completely changed the entire perception of opera. The disgusting Mexican Ramón with his voice of eating pig suddenly turned into a pleasant and intelligent bel canto and the MET orchestra stopped to sound at they played the one singe note. Nope, the sound was still light miles away from the sound as it should be but it did also to finch watching the opera without a desire to fall asleep.

I was recording the FM broadcast and when I got home I played it and confirmed the FM sound was perfectly fine. So, it is so shame that theaters broadcasting to was so bad and killed everything. It was a in particularly a big surprise to me because in the reviews that I read about other MET-to-Theaters broadcasts people drooled how wonderful sound was… Perhaps it was me no lucky theater….

BTW, I have to add that that the cameras work was very-very good: very sensible, very tasteful with some very minor touch of Yankee-sensationalism but I have seen much worst and I do like what MET camera crew did. The quality of imagery was extremely poor; I do not even know where to start describing it. In the end of the broadcast when they shut down the MET feed it was beaming the Windows XP desktop. To me, the entire redacts looked like it was done over AOL with $200-worth projector with sound coming from another 8-bit .mp3 file. Ah, did I tell you that these audio and videos were optimized for broadcast to telephones and the sever had no bandwidth because the operator in a next cinema was downloading porno?

Well, from what I have seen I do not think that I will be going to the MET-to-theaters broadcast anymore…. The modernly, near-moderately compressed FM just juts fine to me and I do not need any more disappointments…

Rgs,
Romy the caT


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
04-04-2007 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,540
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 9
Post ID: 4153
Reply to: 1789
The damn Melodia bastards!

I relay do not know what is in the mine of those idiots. Generally Westerns companies when they do multiple re-mastering of the same peace they try to make it better. With Russian is it looks like not there case

In 90s EMI released on CD the indispensable 1953 performance of de Sabata’s Tosca with Callas, Stefano, Gobbi. I am sure most of you have multiple pressing of that album and a CD copy. Couple years ago EMI re-mastered the Sabata’s Tosca 1953. The sound become much better, whatever they did, but it was well worth to get a new "pressing" of the Sabata’s 1953 Tosca.

In 1992 Russian Melodia released Onegin 1955. The release was slightly too “hot” but near survivable. A few weeks ago someone told me that the Onegin 1955 was re-mastered in near 2000. Since the performance also well worth it. I ordered my copy of the “new” Onegin 1955. When I got it I recognized that it was not juts horrible Sound but it was hardly recognizable sound. I am not kidding. The compression on the disk so high that words are hardly recognizable and when the  magnificent Khaikin’s orchestra plays then they sound like one single gray noise of fluctuating density. It is amassing in what kind crap the Melodia converted the glorious Onegin 1955 performance….

Rgs,
The caT


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
11-18-2007 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,540
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 10
Post ID: 5888
Reply to: 1789
Eugene Onegin in Munich – well, I do not know…

Nov. 2 (Bloomberg) -- Gay cowboys and drag queens doing erotic dances find their way into Tchaikovsky's ``Eugene Onegin'' in Munich.

The Polish stage director, Krzysztof Warlikowski, turns this classic romance into a gay love triangle, and was roundly booed for his efforts at the premiere. Cast and conductor enjoyed a warmer reception.

Lensky loves Olga, Tatyana loves Onegin, and Onegin loves only himself. A little late -- after he has killed Lensky in a duel and Tatyana has married Prince Gremin -- Onegin regrets his former snobbery. That's the way Tchaikovsky wrote it, though Warlikowski pushes the composer's own tormented homosexuality into the foreground and queers the pitch for his characters.

The real relationship in this production is between Lensky and Onegin. The duel scene finds them in bed together, with what looks like the cast of ``Brokeback Mountain'' lurking at the back of the stage (a motel room and petrol station clearly visible -- sets and costumes from Malgorzata Szczesniak). When Lensky tears off his shirt and makes his move, Onegin shoots him. The rest takes place in his delirious imagination.

There is no novelty value left in the outing of Tchaikovsky. Half-naked cowboys and men in ballgowns are cheap cliches. An exploration of the two men's relationship is legitimate, since it is one of the opera's deepest and certainly its most tragic. With more subtlety and professionalism, it might have worked.

Yet, Warlikowski comes from the theater world, and doesn't know how bad it looks when you let the entire cast boogie on the beat in a dance number.

Leggy Tatyana

A pity, because this cast is not bad. Michael Volle, world- weary in the title role, brings depth to the part, while Olga Guryakova's leggy Tatyana gives an impassioned performance.

Christoph Strehl's Lensky is lightweight, yet sophisticated. Consistently clear, his final aria is complex and heart-rending.

Music director Kent Nagano does not fare so well. While things never quite fall apart, they often threaten to. Small ensembles and big choir scenes slip frequently into states of minor disarray.

The orchestra plays for him with a voluptuously full sound, yet chafes at the beat of his no-nonsense tempi, constantly itching to pull back and lend a bit of life to its phrases.

The strings sound positively mangy in Gremin's ball scene, while the oboe suffers horrible torments in the letter scene. It is quite possible that a few shows into the run, this might settle into a lean and exciting interpretation. At Wednesday's premiere, it was definitely not there yet.

``Eugene Onegin'' plays again at Munich's Nationaltheater tomorrow and Nov. 6, 10, 13 and 16. The opera is sponsored by O2 Plc.

In the end here is a very good analyses of a person who have attended it the performance.

http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2007/11/yee-haw-onegin-preview.html

Rgs, Romy the Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
09-15-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,540
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 11
Post ID: 8286
Reply to: 1789
The Salzburg's “Eugene Onegin”

Last week I hit I my local music store a DVD of Eugene Onegin that was recorded live last year at Salzburg Festival. It was expensive, $35 but I bought it. Hell I thought that I know all committed to recording media Onegin production and I took this one as a challenge to my erudition… :-)

Well, the Onegin was conducted by Daniel Barenboim and was played by Wiener Philharmoniker. I generally hate Barenboim conducting (after Chicago), I much prefer him to speak then conducts but it was Wiener Philharmonic and it was Live… Well I took the risk…

The cast was a very good mix of native Russians and non Russians – I very much like this combinations.  The chorus was local Wiener Staatsopernchor. The production was by someone local as well. The perfuming hall was the huge Grosses Festspielhaus  that is in my view not suited for this “chamber opera” but it was what it was.

Whatever you do not buy this DVD. The idiots who set the production not only absolutely missed the flow and the “behavior” of the plot but they rather violated any imaginary fabrics of the opera. It is not that I was annoyed of the contemporary flavor of the predication – in fact I like it to my surprise. However, everything – from the mannerism of jesters to the conduct on the sate were about off. It would be the same as a ballerina in “Swan Lake” would suddenly dance like a Barcelona’s stripper….

It looks to me like the sniggered were strangled and fought with idiotic production of the opera… but the rest was quite good, in fact good wonderful. The hated by me Barenboim showed off a very high class and Wiener Philharmoniker did the music absolutely brilliant. The sound on DVD was not good, the engineers did fuck sound up during the “mastering” but it is very ease to extrapolate what Vienna and Barenboim did. Here and there they missed but all together it was the best music-part I heard from the contemporary production. Then the singers…

Russian Anna Samuil sings Tatiana and I like very much what she did, even thought I am not impresed what she did as “older” Tatiana. Peter Mattei as Onegin and Joseph Kaiser as Lenski, both non-Russian were fantastic, particularly Peter Mattei. The Lenski part was the only that more or less was able to watch. The Onegin’s acting was so much mis-presents that it was just a disaster. My favorite character in opera – the nanny was sang by an Russian, she was OK but the idiot who made the stage acting portray nanny so ridicules that I was truly revolting. Another Italian Ferruccio Furlanetto did very different but VERY interesting Prince Gremin. What a joy of Italians sing Tchaikovsky!

Anyhow, avoid DVD and if the sound track is available then get a CD. Who knows, perhaps the CD will be less “mastered” and the Barenboim’s orchestra will not flood the stage with barbaric bass-attack.  Anyhow – my great appreciation to the singers, to Barenboim and to musicians. Peter Mattei and Anna Samuil are two singers to watch very careful. More CDs from them are in my aim to buy…

The Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
09-15-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Paul S
San Diego, California, USA
Posts 2,147
Joined on 10-12-2006

Post #: 12
Post ID: 8287
Reply to: 1789
"Contemporary" productions
I have no problem with updated and/or altered settings for classic operas.  I saw/heard an excellent "updated" Cosi Fan Tutti a little while back that held my interest throughout, in terms of the music and singing, anyway, and the story certainly remained credible in its new guise.

The thing that gets me with too many of the "contemporary" versions is when everyone invloved gets "equal billing", as it were; from the "director" to the costume designer to the sound engineer, each person invloved "adds" a big, egotistical "special something" to the production, to the point where the original, timeless value of the work gets totally obscured by a veritable blizzard of "creative" nonsense.  What happened to the tyranical genius with a solid vision?

Then, just to twist the dagger, the "critics" get their "turn"  and they fall all over themselves with grandiloquent "reviews" of the thing that make it sound like the Reflected Glory of God, often with no significant references to what actually matters about the work.  With the long/venerable history of true art/music/literary criticism, you'd think it would evolve and get better instead of becoming the promotional drum beat for the kinky producers.

Feh...

Sorry, that kinda got away from me.  I guess I needed to get it off my chest.

Paul S
09-16-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,540
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 13
Post ID: 8294
Reply to: 8286
The great Prince Gremin aria.

I was listening the Opera it last night and then returned back to the Prince Gremin aria – there was a true fascination HOW the Italian bass Ferruccio Furlanetto he did the celebrated Gremin’s story.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hF9MZ3nacrk

Prince Gremin aria by A. Pushkin

Love is no respecter of age,
its transports bless alike
those in the bloom of youth
yet unacquainted with the world
and the grey-headed warrior
tempered by experience!
Onegin, I shan't disguise the fact
that I love Tatyana to distraction!
My life was slipping drearily away;
she appeared and brightened it
like a ray of sunlight in a stormy sky,
and brought me life and youth, yes, youth and happiness!
Among these sly, poor-spirited,
foolish, pampered children,
these scoundrels both absurd and boring,
dull, fractious arbiters,
among the pious coquettes
and sycophantic slaves,
amid affable, modish hypocrisy
courteous, affectionate  infidelities,
amid the icy censure
of cruel-hearted vanity,
amid the vexing vacuity
of calculation, thought and conversation,
she shines like a star
in the night's darkest hour, in a pure, clear sky,
and to me she always appears
in the radiant,
radiant nimbus of an angel!

Of course, the translation is horrible, as usually is happens with Pushkin but it give an idea for a non-Russian speaking person. The way how the Salzburg cretins who set the production made the adult Tatiana to appear like a call-girl shell be disregarded.  There is also no correct in my view behavior of Gremin in this production. Reciting different “types” Pushkin in my view did not refer to society (as Ferruccio Furlanetto trying to portray) but rather Pushkin enumerates the different behavioral patterns of women, women that Price Gremin was exposed not people. I think, as many other thighs, the people who made the production were short minded about it. Still, I very much like what Ferruccio Furlanetto did, particularly the late section of the aria where he truly took his time – a seldom gift that the contemporary singers who love the fast instantaneous thrill do not do often.

The caT


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
10-13-2009 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,540
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 14
Post ID: 11963
Reply to: 1789
The stupid audio vs. opera.
fiogf49gjkf0d
I was watching the YouTube recording from Braunschweigkonzert 2009 with Anna Netrebko und Dmitri Hvorostovsky perform the stage version of Onegin.

I am not a big fun of Netrebko but this Braunschweigkonzert recording is very interesting form… audio perspective. Whatever audio methodology they use (looks like a regular bootleg from a listening sit) it very clearly depicts HOW bad audio destroy the things. Netrebko and Hvorostovsky sing the closing duet of the opera; they do bad or good is irrelevant now. However, pay attention that Netrebko’s and Hvorostovsky’s voices do not mixed – they sound as two alien voices, almost in alien tune. I am sure that it was NOT how it was in reality but it was how bad audio made it to be – destroying very deal-seated fabric of operatic performance.

The Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
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