Excerpt from Tatiana's (Anna Netrebko) letter scene ("Puskai pogibnu ya") from Act I of Tchaikovsky's opera, Eugene Onegin.
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TUNE IN: Eugene Onegin airs on Great Performances at the Met Sunday, August 13 at 12PM on PBS (check local listings). (In New York, THIRTEEN will air the opera at 12:30PM).
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Anna Netrebko reprises one of her most acclaimed roles as Tatiana, the naïve heroine of Tchaikovsky’s opera, adapted from Pushkin’s classic verse novel. Peter Mattei stars as the title character, who rejects Tatiana’s love until it’s too late. Robin Ticciati, music director of Glyndebourne Festival Opera, conducts the revival of Deborah Warner’s staging. Alexey Dolgov sings the role of Onegin’s friend-turned-rival, Lenski, with Elena Maximova as Tatiana’s sister, Olga, and Štefan Kocán as Prince Gremin. The opera received its world premiere at the Maly Theater, Moscow, 1879 in a student performance. The professional premiere occurred at the Bolshoi Theater in 1881. Tchaikovsky’s many moods—tender, grand, melancholy—are all given free rein in Eugene Onegin. The opera is based on Pushkin’s iconic verse novel, which re-imagines the Byronic romantic anti-hero as the definitive bored Russian aristocrat caught between convention and ennui; Tchaikovsky, similarly, took Western European operatic forms and transformed them into an authentic and undeniably Russian work. At the core of the opera is the young girl Tatiana, who grows from a sentimental adolescent into a complete woman in one of the operatic stage’s most convincing character developments. Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840–1893) enjoyed tremendous fame during his lifetime as a composer of symphonic music and ballets. His operas have achieved a steadily growing popularity outside of Russia. The libretto for Eugene Onegin was largely put together by the composer himself, with help from his brother Modest (1850–1916) and others.The source of the libretto is the mock-epic verse novel of the same name by Alexander Pushkin (1799–1837), whose position in Russian literature can be compared only to that of Shakespeare in English.Pushkin presents a vast overview of old Russian society around 1820, which Tchaikovsky’s original score neatly divides into each of its three acts: from the timeless rituals of country life to the rural gentry with its troubles and pleasures and, finally, the glittering imperial aristocracy of St. Petersburg. The Met’s production places the action in the later 19th century, around the time of the opera’s premiere.Critics enthused about this production. The New York Times observed, “The charismatic baritone Peter Mattei sounded lustrous as the title character, vividly conveying Onegin’s transformation from the aloof, coldhearted bachelor who patronizingly rejects Tatiana to the heartbroken man who realizes, too late, that he loves her.” And The Huffington Post said “Netrebko, singing at the top of her power, is a natural for the role of Tatiana … Robin Ticciati conducted the excellent Met Orchestra in an inspired reading of the score … A poignant and anguished account of lost love.”
Soprano Renée Fleming hosts the broadcast.
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