Thursday, October 10, 2013

Tchaikovsy Update: Met HD Onegin

In the event, we did catch up with the Met HD Eugene Onegin last  night and we render a split decision:   I mostly liked it; Mrs. B thought it rather  mess, and wishes she could go back and redo the all-Russian version we saw in St.  Petersburg a few year ago.  

Well.  With Valery Gergiev in the pit and Anna Netrebko on the stage, this was plenty Russian enough for me, especially in the fine first scene at the country house.  Although I confess I persist in being the outlier on Netrebko: apparently she reigns as the Met's flagship superstar but she still seems to me so often lazy and lackadaisical--as for example in the big letter scene here which is, I suspect, for most viewers, about the only reason they go to Onegin anyway.  On this I admit Mrs. B had a point: neither of us can figure out what Netrebko's Tatyana is doing in what seems to be a glorified cowshed--if this is a time to sleep, why isn't there a real bed?  Or is it that Netrebko just loves to wind up on the floor?  And if this is a letter scene, why don't we see her write a letter?  Whatever; the fact remains, she just can't play ingenue (in fairness, she was a lot better as the older and wiser wife-of-the-rich-guy in the final act).

But in lieu of yet one more review, let me offer two of the most memorable moments of the evening, both from an intermission interview with Deborah Voigt.  One involves Marius Kwiecien, the Polish tenor in the title role.  In the break just after the crisis where we had just seen Onegin blow off the heroine with a puff of hot air, Voigt asked him how he understood is character.  Oh, he is really a nice man, said the star, trying to be kind to her and let her down easy.  

Boy, what a hoot.  The whole point of the scene is that Onegin is a total shit, one of the best so represented in all of opera.  The odd thing is that this is exactly how Kwiecien played him, i.e., just as it should be and not at all like his avowed understanding.

The other was Netrebko herself.  Voigt kept trying to draw her out and learn how she saw her character, how she prepped for her role and got--nothing.  For all I could see, Netrebko simply didn't have an idea.  Mrs. B says I should give her a break here; that her English isn't that great, and anyway, she was trying to maintain a character of dignified reserve.  Could be, but my guess is that she really hadn't given the topic much thought.  

Oh,  no wait, she did make one point, firmly and loudly: that she didn't learn it from Gergiev.  That for you, Valery.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Her singing is okay, just unremarkable. I think she owes her prominence to HD.