The orchestral playing, conducting and principal singing are good, much of everything else is unimaginative, perplexing and emotionally cold
These are things that ideally you don't want to hear seeing as Eugene Onegin is one of Russia's operatic masterworks. There are great productions available, especially the Petr Weigl and Roman Tikhomirov films and Robert Carsen's Met production, but this and the Peter Mattei performances fell short. It's not all bad though, the orchestral playing brings out the power, nuances, pathos and poetry of Tchaikovsky's score, and they are aided by great chorus singing and Alexander Vedernikov's commanding and sympathetic conducting. The four principals on the most part are good. The best were Mariusz Kweicien's compelling and handsome(in looks and voice) Onegin and Anatoli Kotcherga's noble and very moving Gremin. Tatiana Monogarova's personal beauty, warm voice and impassioned, deeply-felt acting in the third act make up for the one too many times in the other two acts where she's made to be naive and almost clueless, and the Lensky of Andrey Dunaev is affecting and ardent with an agreeable tone to his voice. Less said about the supporting cast the better though, especially poor were Makvala Kasrashvili's wildly and embarrassingly overacted Larina and Emma Sarkisyan's unsteadily sung(to the point of not understanding what note she's singing on often) Nurse. The stage direction does not help in all fairness, the duel is really awkwardly done, the Waltz and Polanaise are done to the point that they don't feel like dances, and the meaning of Lensky's poignant Act 2 aria- one of the most beautiful pieces that Tchaikovsky ever wrote- is completely lost thanks to the presence of the old(and very annoying) woman. Much of the staging is perplexing and pointless, consequently you not only don't know what the production was trying to do or don't have a clue as to what you were seeing meant but you find very emotionally detached to the characters and their situations. The costumes and sets are not offensive as such, but they are generally charmless, colourless and unimaginative, everything just looked cold and bare rather than elegant and sumptuous. Overall, very mixed feelings here, veering towards the very disappointing end. 5/10 Bethany Cox
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