Tchaikovsky - Eugen Onegin / T. Allen, Freni, von Otter, Shicoff, Burchuladze; Levine

 
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Levine has assembled a cast strong in both singing and acting, although Mirella Freni is a bit mature for the teenage Tatiana and there are no Russians in the leading roles. The conducting quite properly emphasizes the psychological and emotional extremes in a story deeply imbued with the Byronic attitudes and poses of literary Romanticism. The orchestra, in James Levine's (and Tchaikovsky's) hands becomes a character in this drama as vital as any of the singers, and Pushkin's poem-novel, the source of the opera, can be felt with unusual clarity underlying this interpretation. --Joe McLellan

Customer Reviews:

  • An all time favorite
    This is one the the very rare recordings of our days ,which will be one of your all time favorites.Everything in this recording is at its best:orchestra,singers,audio quality.Freni is one of the most passionate singers for that role,so is Allen.Not to mention the side roles,which has been set brilliant.The power and passion which strikes you in almost any scene is overwhelming.The finale scene in the last act is a sitting- on- the- edge -of -your -chair piece,brilliant,emotional.Levine has recorded one of his very finest interpretation ever....more info
  • good
    A very good performance from all but to me the Solti version is number one. Stuart Burrows as Lensky is melting. His aria makes me cry every time. Nothing compares.

    I must admit to buying it to see if I felt the same but it didn't quite hit the note for me. Nevertheless,it is good, but not quite what I wanted to hear....more info

  • A Distinguished Cast for EUGENE ONEGIN
    This excellently produced 1987 DG recording, conducted by James Levine with an energetic chorus and orchestra, can be recommended without hesitation to the newcomer to Tchaikovsky's Romantic EUGENE ONEGIN. The cast's principals were all leading exponents onstage of their roles in the opera. As heard here they have many virtues, few faults, and make a fine company.

    Mirella Freni, fifty-three years old in 1987, is not always ideally steady. However, her voice had retained its radiance, and this quality goes a long way toward suggesting Tatiana's youth, innocence, and sensitivity. In the last act, Freni's mature artistry translates into Tatiana's newfound poise and self-assurance as the wife of Prince Gremin. Thomas Allen here lives up to his reputation for making difficult characters, like Eugene Onegin, interesting and ultimately sympathetic; and though his Onegin can be cold indeed - just listen to his interaction with Freni's Tatiana in Act I, scene three (end of CD #1) -- the voice itself is always warm, beautifully balanced, and easy on the ear. (Allen's Count Almaviva in the classic Solti LE NOZZE DI FIGARO is very like this Onegin: a cold characterization warmly sung.) Neil Schicoff, with his "nervy" but attractive tenor, embodies the hypersensitive Lensky. Though it is possible to imagine a more elegant or a more quietly melancholic interpretation of the poet, Schicoff's portrayal here is superb; he has made the role his own. This was an early recording for Anne Sofie von Otter. Her singing as Olga is a joy, her high mezzo completely devoid of the lugubriousness unsuitable for, yet too often heard in, the role of Tatiana's flighty sister. Paata Burchulaadze is an above-average Gremin with a full, resonant low F-sharp at the end of his aria. The wonderful French character tenor Michel Senechal sings Monsieur Triquet's couplets with charm and sweet tone. James Levine conducts a "big," weighty performance. While this approach is arguably inappropriate for such a delicate work as EUGENE ONEGIN, the results are undeniably exciting and emotional - reflecting, perhaps, Tchaikovsky's own suffering at the time of the opera's composition. (See Mark Swed's review in THE METROPOLITAN OPERA GUIDE TO RECORDED OPERA for more on Levine's approach.)
    ...more info
  • A Beautiful And Exciting Eugene
    This studio recording made in the early to mid 90's is a stunning account of Tchaikovsky's popular opera Eugene Onegin, despite several critics' comments regarding how this is not the right way to sing Onegin. The beauty of this recording lies in the marriage of both dramatic and beautiful singing. The men, in particular, are executing marvelous arias and dramatic scenas. True, the cast is not Russian and therefore may not have command of Russian diction, but this is alright with me, having never considered the Russian/Slavic accent a beautiful one. It's harsh, invective-style and plain ugly. However, in the hands of a few singers, such as these ones, Russian opera can sound wonderful. The only other truly grand Russian opera singer who sung with beauty and dramatic power was Galina Vishnevskaya, and if she sang Tatiana, it's a loss to us that she didn't record it. Mirella Freni as Tatiana is a revelation. Though she doesn't have the assets she had as a young singer- in the heady days of her career she could sing great Susannas, Violettas, Nanettas, Micaelas, Juliettes and even Queen Elisabeth Di Valois in Don Carlo- she sings with enormous passion. She boils over with ardor and yearning for Onegin. Never a more dramatic Tatiana are you ever to find. Freni sang this difficult, demanding role in the final days of her career. She learned to sing Tchaikovsky opera (other than Tatiana she also sang the heroine in Queen of Spades) from none other than the great Russian bass Nicolai Ghiurov, who was her husband prior to his death of cancer a few years ago. Mirella Freni's voice is an example of lyrico-spinto, eventhough in this recording, as in her 1991 Tosca with Domingo and Ramey, she sounds forced and the role evidently took a strain on her. However, the fact she had the guts to take on this role is evidence of her versatility as an artist.

    Paschal Allen sings Eugene Onegin. His portrayal is at once that of a tragic, romantic figure. Enough has already been said about how he masterfully hits that sustained high note at the end of the Part Scene/Act. The great Neil Shicoff sings an expressive and dramatic Lensky. This is one of his best roles, and if you want to hear another superb performance of his check out his Eleazar from Halevy's La Juive. Paata Burchuladze was a versatile bass artist who could sing Verdi and, as you can plainly see, Russian opera. What a fine modern recording of Eugene Onegin this is. A more dramatic and beautiful one you are hard-pressed to find....more info
  • a glittering performance
    Tchaikovsky - Eugen Onegin / T. Allen, Freni, von Otter, Shicoff, Burchuladze; LevineWhat an impressive first encounter with Amazon!Efficient service with a wide selection of performances to choose from. Speedy delivery of the product. The recording itself is excellent: world class singers,conductor and orchestra. This beautiful delivery of Pushkin's breathtaking poetry suffers no loss of authenticity from the non-Russian soloists.Wonderful to be in the company of such consumate professionals....more info
  • Very hot and intense . Well sung & conducted.
    A perfomance full of sincere passion, well for the poor pessimist Ciaikowsky. Splendid Freni, Schicoff & Allen that sing in goog russian. Worse the littly noble Burchuladze. Strong, convincing, young is the conducting of Levine. Moving the air of Lensky. Reccomended !!...more info

 

 
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