Eugene Onegin

Tchaikovsky Eugene Onegin opera to libretto by the composer and K. Shilovsky based on the verse novel by Alexander Pushkin. Directed 2011 by Stephan Herheim at De Nederlandse Opera. Stars Bo Skovhus (Eugene Onegin), Andrej Dunaev (Lensky), Mikhail Petrenko (Prince Gremin), Krassimira Stoyanova (Tatyana), Elena Maximova (Olga), Olga Savova (Larina), Nina Romanova (Filipyevna), Peter Arink (A Company Commander), Roger Smeets (Zaretsky), Guy de Mey (Triquet), and Richard Prada (Chorus Leader). Mariss Jansons conducts The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and the Chorus of De Nederlandse Opera (Chorus Master Martin Wright). Set design by Philipp Fürhofer; costume design by Gesine Völlm; lighting design by Olaf Freese; choreography by André de Jong; dramaturgy by Alexander Meier-Dörzenbach; directed for screen by Misjel Vermeiren; BD production by James Whitbourn; produced by Coby van Dijck. Released 2012, disc has 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade: A-

The L'OperaDou jury reviewed this title before you could buy it in the United States! Even though the direction is updated and pretty agressive, the jury gave a good grade of A-. Thanks to Gordon Smith and all the members of the L'OperaDou jury!

David Shengold in the August 2012 Opera News (page 61) called this Onegin a "moving, important release." Shengold discusses in some detail the extensive updating and reorganization of the libretto by director Stephan Herheim. (Yes, this is the one where cosmonauts in "moonsuits" appear as characters!) I haven't seen this, so I'm at a loss for words---but I'm guessing Herheim is trying to relate the Onegin story to the history of the Russian people since the birth of Pushkin in 1799. Pushkin was a member of the Russian nobility. But he was an advanced thinker interested in the future of Russia. After his death, Russia lost about 80 years during the collapse of the Russian aristocracy and another 90 years to the Communists. Russia then awoke in the modern world in 1990 after almost 2 centuries of sleep. So if you are a Russian today, where do you start as you try to build a new culture for your country. Maybe you start with Pushkin and Eugene Onegin.

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