Tchaikovsky’s masterpiece streamed free by Met Opera to compansate the lack of a season due to coronavirus. We are lucky enough to witness a cast of superstars in an effortless yet effective staging. Renee Fleming, Dimitri Hvorostovsky and Ramon Vargas performed extraordinary in this specular Met Opera 2007 production.
Eugene Onegin, Tchaikovsky’s only opera, is very melodic similar to Verdi’s La Traviata. Even the tiniest moments and sentences have a wonderful melody if you become familiar with it. Characters developments are very important in this opera, each character gets developed through the acts. Tatiana from a young, fearless child to a responsible woman, Eugene from reckless, insensible man to more mature, wiser man.
Robert Carsen’s production is very simple but warm. Essentially an empty stage with walls, begins with Eugene Onegin at the chair, reading the letter, surrounded by autumn leaves. He reads the famous letter, stands up with remorse, and leaves started to fall from the sky. What a wonderful image! Orange as can be, scene actually depicts the moments after the final scene. Succeeding a heavy rain of regrets, we turn to the beginning.
Where setting is mostly empty, small details gave away the timing and place without being obvious. Wooden chairs arranged as a rectangular portrays a village home in Russia where two scenes later same arrangement with white, leather chairs shows the high society party. Costumes also follows the timing perfectly. Leaves that depicts Tatiana’s exciting, childish nature and her dream world of romantic books disappear after she rejected by Eugene.
Scene changes were also planed so organically. Actual characters and choruses usually changed the scene. A choir swept the leaves, butchers dressed Eugene after the duel while setting the room for Tatiana’s high class party.
Renee Fleming represent a very soft Tatiana at the beginning who turns to be a strong minded person at the end. Her sadness during her name party was so realistic, you could have seen it. Dimitri Hvorostovsky was wonderful again with his undeniable charisma. At the end, when he begs Tatiana, I bet Renee Flemings arms were bruised after. Ramon Vargas who is forced to look like Pushkin but failed, touched the audience with his marvellous timbre.