In the opulent St. Petersburg of the Empire period, Eugene Onegin is a jaded but dashing aristocrat - a man often lacking in empathy, who suffers from restlessness, melancholy and, finally,... See full summary »
First performed in Moscow in 1879, Eugene Onegin is an opera in three acts drawing its inspiration from Alexander Pushkin's novel. Considered by many as the "archetypal work of Russian ... See full summary »
Douglas is a foreign entrepreneur, who ventures to Russia in 1885 with dreams of selling a new, experimental steam-driven timber harvester in the wilds of Siberia. Jane is his assistant, ... See full summary »
This 1958 film remains the first (known in the West) and only film adaptation of Tchaikovsky's rare opera. First re-released on video by KULTUR in 1984, and now available on Amazon.com, the film is riding a strange wave of popularity for everything Onegin. The opera, relatively obscure in the West, is now being performed everywhere. I saw it a few months in lavish new production performed by Miami's prestigious Florida Grand Opera, with a distinguished, stellar all-Slav cast. The Fiennes family, of course, released "Onegin," the non-operatic version starring their most famous brother, Ralph............While the 1958 Soviet film, Yevgeni Onegin, is as artistic as it is operatic; and though it does use the sights and sounds of Saint Petersburg, and the Russian countryside to great effect, the film suffers by comparison to other "Onegin" versions. Not only to the recent lavish "live opera" presentations, but to Martha Fienne's film. Tchaikovsky's music, is of course, wonderful. However, the character development is serious lacking, practically non-existent, in this film. And the actors are all known Soviet-era actors, dubbed by the cream of Moscow's Bolshoi Theater (which also provides the chorus, corps de ballet and orchestra). This "dubbing" concept is also a distracting feature. This once ubiquitous process now seems very outdated and unnatural. All these faults contrast too sharply with the recent "Onegin" reincarnations featuring fabulous characterizations, which really bring the story line to life naturally. The live opera experience is also far more exhilarating than this film ever is, though....... In all fairness to director Roman Tikhominov, this film of an opera (it is not a filmed opera performance), is a ground-breaking film. It's just that since 1958, the opera film (especially the Franco Zeffirelli productions such as LA TRAVIATA, and OTELLO,plus CARMEN, and the more recent MADAME BUTTERFLY) has evolved greatly, and therefore this Soviet film pales by comparison. Ditto for the recent live opera productions, and the overall experience provided by the 1999 Fiennes film. Nevertheless, "Yevgeni Onegin" is a welcome addition to any opera lover's video/DVD collection. If for nothing else than curiosity value.
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