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"Described by Tchaikovsky as lyric scenes , Eugene Onegin receives a spectacular reinterpretation from the Norwegian director Stefan Herheim. His productions create controversy and excitement around Europe, and here he takes Pushkin's story of illusion, disaffection and frustrated love, and places the protagonists - world-weary Onegin and naïve, passionate Tatyana - in a triple temporal perspective, referencing the theatrical present, the period of the work's composition, and the pageant of Russia's history. Mariss Jansons, renowned for his mastery of Tchaikovsky's symphonies, conducts this performance from Amsterdam's Muziektheater.
<h3 class=""productDescriptionSource"">Press Reviews
"Put too much steam into Tchaikovsky's score and it wilts. Be too shy and retiring, on the other hand, and the tragic momentum evaporates. Jansons sets us on a simmer and gradually turns the heat to boiling. It is magisterially paced, stunningly played and, seemingly effortlessly, Jansons captures every aching nuance. [...] Herheim's innovations are often throbbingly acute (and sometimes wickedly funny)." (The Times)
"The Concertgebouw Orchestra, of which Mr. Jansons is music director, is here a dream of a pit orchestra. Mr. Jansons's musicality is stamped on every phrase, and he ensures ideal coordination between singers and orchestra." (The New York Times)
"Herheim directs so many keen moments of character interactions that there's no danger of the opera lapsing into simplistic cliches..." (Gramophone)
"Although I look forward to seeing many more traditional stage productions, even if I do not expect all to have the same musical values as are achieved here, this is a version which anyone who loves this most personal of operas needs to see and hear. " (Musicweb International)
"Star of the evening is the conductor Mariss Jansons. It's clear from the documentary that he loves the work.. and he plays it with a rhythmic vitality " (International Record Review)
Bo Skovhus (Eugene Onegin)
Krassimira Stoyanova (Tatjana)
Andrej Dunaev (Vladimir Ljenski)
Mikhail Petrenko (Vorst Gremin)
Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra; Mariss Jansons
Stage Director: Stefan Herheim
Catalogue Number: OA1067D
Date of Performance: 2011
Sound: 2.0LPCM + 5.1(5.0) DTS
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Anamorphic
Subtitles: EN, FR, DE, IT, ES
Label: Opus Arte"
Put too much steam into Tchaikovskys score and it wilts. Be too shy and retiring, on the other hand, and the tragic momentum evaporates. Jansons sets us on a simmer and gradually turns the heat to boiling. It is magisterially paced, stunningly played and, seemingly effortlessly, Jansons captures every aching nuance.  Herheims innovations are often throbbingly acute (and sometimes wickedly funny). (The Times)
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Reste la mise en scène.
Eugène Onéguine est un opéra sans action dont l'existence même s'appuie sur la psychologie des personnages, leurs relations sociales et le poids du temps.Lire la suite ›
Pour ce qui est de la mise en scène, ce n'est pas seulement qu'elle soit troublante, c'est que comme il est devenu assez fréquent, elle tente de dépasser le stade de la représentation traditionnelle en essayant autant de se démarquer de mises en scène du passé que de solliciter le livret pour trouver des idées fraîches et non convenues. Avec Stefan Herheim, on n'est pas du côté de ces metteurs en scène qui cherchent le contrepied quoi qu'il arrive, mais il reste que le brouillage des cartes spatio-temporelles auquel il se livre pourra laisser plus d'un spectateur qui ne connaît pas bien le livret sur le carreau. Sans demander à tout prix des repères évidents, on pourra trouver par exemple que tout ce qui précède l'ouverture est une coquetterie qui n'apporte pas grand-chose à la compréhension que l'on peut avoir de l'oeuvre. Placer Onéguine au centre dès le départ n'est pas une mauvaise idée, mais outre que l'espèce de flashback que cela entraine n'est qu'en partie probant, lui trouver des choses à faire sur le plateau jusqu'à l'entrée effectivement assignée par Tchaikovsky et son librettiste Chilovsky est une question résolue avec une pertinence toute relative.Lire la suite ›
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Both the ladies sing well but are really too mature in appearance for their roles on Blu-ray although this would be overlooked in the opera house for a one-off performance. Onegin is directed to act as if he is a bit half-witted and although a fine singer I did not care for his portrait of Onegin.
The rush of modernised productions has a place in the opera house and some, such as the extraordinary Spanish Ring, have a well deserved place on Blu-ray, but media companies do need to ask themselves what will sell for repeat viewing and I submit too many recent Blu-ray releases are unlikely to make much money. This is not as bad as the recent Flying Dutchman and will get a lot of mileage from the colourful costumes and orchestral playing but with just a little moderation it could have been so much better.
I have some reservations about the Balls in the second and third acts. Herheim tries to do too much, apparently tying in Russian history, culture and science with the costuming of the chorus. It doesn't really work and distracts somewhat from the main drama. It is however entertaining and is not enough to take away a star from my assessment.
Bo Skovhus and Krassimira Stoyanova look too old for their ages mentioned in the libretto, but they bring a wealth of experience to their musical interpretation and acting. Their ages can easily be rationalised by postulating that Onegin has been away for considerably more than two years.
Of all the productions of Eugene Onegin I have seen, I would rank this one as the best from the musical and acting dimensions. I gather from the documentary that conductor Maris Jansons had reservations about the directorial interpretation. That certainly did not prevent him from conducting the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra to a very satisfying performance.
The whole thing is very emotionally involving. Also, because of the unique interpretation by Herheim one is left with questions, which I think is always a plus. I think that anyone who is at all interested in Eugene Onegin, by Pushkin as well as Tchaikovsky, should experience this production.
This new video version by Opus Arte of "Eugene Onegin" was filmed in 2011 at the Netherlands Opera. It has many good things in its favor. The cast is excellent, the music is sensitively conducted by Mariss Jansons and beautifully played by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the costumes are lavish, and the sets are splendid.
However, what spoils this production for me is that the director introduces strange time-line effects. This is especially disturbing in Tatiana's letter scene, during which, as a young woman, she declares her love to Onegin. First we see Onegin in a second bed in her bedroom; then we see him sitting at Tatiana's writing desk, as if he were a scribe and Tatiana were dictating her thoughts to him. To me, this is simply bizarre, and it is surely not what Tchaikovsky intended.
Furthermore, there is stiff competition from two other DVD versions - those conducted by Yuri Temirkanov and Valery Gergiev; the latter, starring Dmitri Hvorostovsky and Renee Fleming, deservedly received rave reviews despite its stark decor, and would be my first choice.
As far as the staging goes, the young Norwegian director does place the figures into somewhat irregular configurations. You'll see that from the outset as Onegin walks onto the stage a scene before he should be formally introduced, looking thoroughly confused and walking moreover into what looks like a hotel lobby, with an elevator and a revolving door, where Tanya and her family are together. Similarly, there are few of the usual separations of characters in scenes that one would be accustomed to. Even when Tanya should be writing her famous love letter to the young man she has just been introduced to, it's staged here with Onegin actually writing the letter, while her husband, Prince Gremin, lies in bed behind them. This could be thoroughly confusing for anyone who is unfamiliar with the opera, but it will not make a lot of sense to anyone who is familiar with the work and who would be quite happy to see it played out in the traditional linear manner.
The concept applied here, of course (although it might not be that obvious), is that the figures are reflecting back on the events from an older perspective, and the setting picks up on the mirroring of the situations. That's most evident when Onegin directs his rejection of Tatyana to a silent younger girl in a white dress, while Krassimira Stoyanova, who actually sings the role of Tatyana, wearing a red dress (there may be some colour coding to reflect the differing perspectives) looks on as a spectator on her own past. Whether you consider that this distorts the intentions of Eugene Onegin or whether you feel that it opens it up underlying themes within the work will obviously depend on your taste, but the motivations of the director, inspired or misguided though they may be judged to be, are at least derived from close attention paid to the work itself.
It does however add another level of complication to a work that is already enriched in emotions and in their peculiar Russian expression and result in some the bizarre touches that might be considered pushing an already quite eccentric production - such as Onegin's second at the duel actually being a bottle of wine - a little too far. Act III's Polonaise attempts to bring in an historical 'tableau vivant' of all walks of Russian life, with a dancing bear, Cosmonauts, Russian gymnasts, Swan Lake dancers, royalty and religious leaders, Red Army troops and sailors, folk dancers, serfs and Prince Gremin heading up a Russian mafia outfit, and if all that sounds like it has nothing to do with Eugene Onegin, you'd be entitled to think so and decide that this is not a production for you, but at the same time it can be seen as historically being a part of everything Russian that is enshrined within the essence of Pushkin and Tchaikovsky's work.
What I think is beyond question however is that Jansons and Herheim bring out the full latent potential of Eugene Onegin here, without restraint, but also without over-emphasis. Regardless of whether the concept makes rational sense or appeals to personal taste, this is a passionate and moving account of the work on a musical and a dramatic level. The singing is also exceptionally good here. You might like a younger person singing Tatyana, but a younger singer couldn't sing this role half as well. It needs a mature voice, and Krassimira Stoyanova's is wonderfully toned, controlled with impeccable technique and emotionally expressive. Bo Skovhus brings a great intensity also to this Onegin who is tortured by his nature of being Russian. He's not the strongest voice in the role, but he sings it well. Mikhail Petrenko's Prince Gremin and Andrej Dunaev's Lensky are also worthy of the production. The very fine team of the Chorus of the De Nederlandse opera provide their usual sterling work.
Blu-ray specifications are all in order. The video quality is good, the picture clear, even though it is often dark on the stage and there are some slight fluctuations in brightness adjustment. The PCM Stereo and DTS HD-Master Audio 5.1 audio tracks are strong and impressive, with a wonderful tone. Extras on the disc include a Cast Gallery and a 30 minute documentary feature where the director explains - not always convincingly and certainly not always clearly to conductor Jansons - his thought-process for the work, with backstage interviews, rehearsals and a look at the costume designs. The booklet contains an essay examining the work and the production and includes a synopsis. The disc is BD50, 16:9, 1080i full HD. Subtitles are in English, French, German, Spanish, Italian and Dutch.
I found it difficult to follow the story and I didn,t like the glass walls. The Blue Ray copy is as