- Eugene Onegin, opera, Op. 24
Tchaikovsky: Eugene Onegin [Sung in English]by Charles Mackerras
It was only in the latter part of the 20th century that it became the norm to perform operas in their original language. In Tchaikovsky's day it would have been routine to hear Eugene Onegin sung in German in Berlin, or in Italian in Rome. And while Tchaikovsky's music is innately contoured to the cadence of the Russian language, understanding the text without having to glance at a libretto or supertitles brings words and music closer together -- and that, after all, is opera's primary point. Chandos' extensive and generally excellent Opera in English series shows the benefits of hearing opera in one's native tongue, and this fine Onegin is a most welcome addition. Kiri Te Kanawa is perhaps a bit mature to play the teenage Tatyana, but her voice sounds fresh here, and she conveys the growing excitement of the famous letter scene with youthful zest. It is worth noting, too, that she allows almost every word to be easily understood. Thomas Hampson is simply magnificent. There is no finer Onegin around today, and the baritone's diction should be held up as a model for all English-speaking singers. Neil Rosenshein sounds a bit strained as Lensky, although the emotional quality of his performance is gripping, as is the rich-toned Olga of Patricia Barton. Sir Charles Mackerras shapes the score with care, and the Welsh National Opera Orchestra plays with a winning combination of flair and finesse. The sound quality is clear and vivid, although somewhat lacking in impact. Warmly recommended.
- Release Date:
Performance CreditsCharles Mackerras Conductor
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