on January 3, 2008
I saw the HD presentation in 2007 and was so impressed that I went back for the encore two weeks later. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that the Met would get a dvd of the production out so fast. I pre-ordered 2 copies the minute it was advertised. I am a devoted fan of Renee Fleming and she didn't disappoint; nor did Dmitri Hvorostovsky. Ramon Vargas was in excellent voice. The setting(for me) emphacized the isolation of the Russian steppe-vast landscape with few people. The ballroom scenes, with chairs hemming everyone in, seemed to symbolize the constrictions of conventional society. I know some people objected to the minimalist nature of the sets, but they worked for me and underlined some important facets of the opera. Aside from the glorious singing and acting, I loved watching Valery Gergiev conduct. The bonus features backstage were great. Thanks to Robert Carsen for another fabulous production. I've watched my dvd twice already. I just can't get enough of the "letter scene", the "polonaise", or the final duet. Enjoy!!!!!
on January 1, 2008
Can't find a more befitting Eugene Onegin in Hvorostovsky- so aloof, ruthless and yet so lovable and pitiful at the end. I am normally not a big fan of Renee Fleming, but this role brought out the best of her. The creaminess, sweetness and vulnerability of her voice makes such a good portriat of Tatiana.
One small note, when I first saw the clips on YouTube, I thought the minimalist staging is rather stupid, but I came to enjoy it after watching the opera in whole.
Throughly enjoyed it!
on November 14, 2010
This is about as good as an opera recording can get. It helps that Onegin is a strong opera with a perfectly credible plot drawn straight from Pushkin. But that's just a start. Onegin is a love story and, as such, depends to a great extent on the chemistry between the lovers. Here it's there in spades. Dmitri Hvorovstovsky and Renée Fleming are just terrific together as well as being incredibly good singers. On top of that the singer playing Tatiana has to go from naive girl in the country to grande dame and few singers, now or ever, do both those two things well but Fleming, of course, does. The supporting cast is uniformly good. Ramón Vargas, as Lenski, and, especially, Sergei Aleksashkin, as Prince Gremin, Tatiana's not so young husband in Act 3, are especially good. Valery Gregiev is in the pit and gets a thoroughly idiomatic and polished performance out of the Met's excellent orchestra.
The sets are quite spare. Act 1 plays out basically on a carpet of leaves. In Act 2 the stage is empty but for a few chairs and the climactic final scene is played out with one chair sitting front and centre on the Met's enormous stage. It works. It's atmospheric but it doesn't distract either in a shock value Eurotrash way or, common enough at the Met, by piling up a load of spurious opulence. The video director, for once, doesn't rely over much on close ups and lets us see the action unfold on the Met stage. All in all, quite excellent.