At the opera, a love lost is never regained
Special to the Daily
Set in 19th century Russia and based on an historic poem by Alexander Pushkin, Tchaikovsky’s opera, “Eugene Onegin,” will be the Metropolitan Opera HD Broadcast beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Breckenridge Colorado Mountain College.
The story revolves around the interactions of four characters, individually sharing their inner feelings of love and despair in long, melodious arias, interspersed with duets and quartets. Stage actions often take place in family and social gatherings with rich choral singing, graceful dancing and background melodic orchestral harmony.
The opera opens with Madame Latina reflecting upon the days before she was married, though she is now widowed with two daughters, Tatiana and Olga. Tatiana spends her time reading novels, with whose heroines she closely identifies. Her sister Olga, more free-loving than Tatiana, is engaged to the poet Lenski, who arrives unexpectedly with a friend, Eugene Onegin. After appropriate greeting and introductions, Tatiana becomes infatuated with Onegin.
In a following scene, Tatiana in her own room is in the process of writing a passionate letter to Onegin, expressing her inner feelings in the famous “letter aria,” how heaven has decreed her love for Onegin. In the next scene, upon Onegin’s follow-up to Tatiana’s letter, he admits being touched by her declaration but responds that he can only offer her friendship.
Act II opens some months later at a ball in Madame Latina’s home in celebration of Tatiana’s name day. The stage is full of dancing and choral singing supported by a melodious orchestra conducted by Robin Ticciati. Comedy soon turns into misfortune as Onegin is seen flirting and dancing with Olga. Lenski’s jealousy is aroused to such heights that he challenges Onegin to a duel. The party breaks up, and Tatiana leaves in despair.
The following scene is in a forest where, in an aria, Lenski expresses his love for Olga and reflects on his potential death. Onegin arrives as insults between the two continue, intermixed with feelings of remorse. The duel does not stop, and Lenski is killed.
Act III takes place several years later in a fashionable home in St. Petersburg. Guests are dancing a polonaise when Onegin arrives. He suddenly recognizes Tatiana, now a fashionable princess married to Prince Germin.
With anxiety, Tatiana discounts Onegin’s pleading for a return to their love. In the closing scene of the opera, Onegin again visits Tatiana in her drawing room, pleading desperately to recapture their former love for each other. Tatiana stands by her marriage, leaving no room for Onegin, and he rushes out in despair.
The part of Tatiana, performed by Anna Netrebko, has been cited as being one of her most acclaimed career roles. Peter Mattei also received high acclaim as Onegin, an aloof, cold-hearted bachelor initially rejecting Tatiana, ending many years later as a heartbroken man who too late realizes his lost love. Alexey Dolgov sings the role of Onegin’s friend-turned-rival, Lenski, with Elena Maximova as Tatiana’s sister, Olga.
Snacks and beverages will be served for a $2 donation during the intermission.
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