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DVD Review

Piotr Ilyitch Tchaikovsky

Eugene Onegin

  • Renée Fleming
  • Ramón Vargas
  • Dmitri Hvorostovsky
The Metropolitan Chorus, Orchestra & Ballet/Valery Gergiev
Decca 0743248 2DVDs 156m
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This 2007 production of Tchaikovsky's greatest and most popular operatic work at the Metropolitan was the cause of much critical acclaim from both audiences and critics alike.

And it is now wonder as no stone seems to have been left unturned to make this undertaking one of the most memorable nights at the MET. Indeed, viewing the opera on the small screen is quite a compelling experience.

Robert Carsen's staging is opulent and evocative; sets and costumes by Michael Levine are unfussily simple yet wholly elegant and Brian Large's TV direction is of the quintessential quality we have now come to expect from this genius of the camera.

The performance itself is mesmerizing. Fleming and Hvorostovsky sing like demons and I have rarely seen two artists so possessed by the characters that they are playing. Vargas' Lensky is portrayed with eloquence and panache but he is a notch short on emotion and passion.

Gergiev's knowledge of the score is staggering, and under his capable hands, the orchestra is made to sound typically Russian, although the luscious beauty of the score is always the dominant factor of Gergiev's interpretations.

There are few DVD versions of Onegin but this one can now safely take top position and is the recommended one, no questions asked. There's also a behind the scenes documentary and an encounter with the late Beverly Sills, two bonuses which further enhance the attractiveness of this marvelous release.

Copyright © 2008, Gerald Fenech