Beautiful in its simplicity with outstanding musical values
The best productions personally seen for Tchaikovsky's masterpiece Eugene Onegin are the 1958 Roman Tikomirov and 1988 Petr Weigl films, with the 2009 production with Mariusz Kweicien faring least. This production from Glyndebourne is excellent, not the best production for Eugene Onegin but on the whole it is a must-watch. Lensky and Onegin's confrontation and duel felt under characterised and lacking in tension, however that was the only thing that came across as majorly disappointing. The costumes and sets are sumptuous and traditional, a perfect match for the lyricism of Tchaikovsky's music and the story itself, while the stage direction is effective in how simple it is, allowing us to care for the characters and be moved by the story without feeling too simplistic or trying to do too much. The polonaise did start off with some foppish gestures, but overall it had a lot of bounce and a solid opening to the third act. Musically, the production is outstanding. The orchestral playing is full of lush sounds and pathos, the chorus singing is animated and well-blended and Andrew Davis' conducting boasts great musicality and phrasing. Wojtek Drabowicz has a sonorous baritone voice and portrays arrogance turned into tragic very convincingly. That he's handsome too helps to believe what Tatiana sees in him in the first place. Elena Prokina's Tatiana is hugely affecting, especially in the final act though she is suitably innocent and fey in the other two as well. She looks beautiful and sings beautifully, intonation problems are few. Mark Thompson is an ardent and persuasive Lensky, and sings with a pleasing tone. His famous Act 2 aria is poignant and dignified. The Olga of Louise Winter is charming and coquettish, and Yvonne Minton and Ludmilla Filatova are hilarious as Larina and the nurse. Frode Olsen sings with resonance and nobility, his acting is rather stock but the eloquence of his singing makes for a solid Gremin. The technical values of the DVD are fine, there's been better but you can do with far worse as well. Overall, beautiful, simple and on the most part excellent, especially in the musical values. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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