Wednesday, October 7, 2009

my baby just wrote me a letter

The NBR New Zealand Opera (my place of work) is in the midst of a production of Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin.

You'd think I'd be bored of it by now. I'm not. If anything, I'm becoming more and more enamoured of Onegin. It's crept under my skin. I listen to it on the bus home from work, when I'm a bit drunk, even my flatmates, through my own endless replaying of the opera, have requested it as the soundtrack for our cleaning bee.

This is one of the most famous arias from Onegin. Tatyana, the heroine of the story, has decided to put pen to paper and let Onegin know that she's crazy in love with him.

Originally, I found this to be waay too long for my plebian tastes but it grows on you. This is actually a shorter version than the one I have on my ipod. The more I listen to it the more I realise how much every note is needed to make the point, how you can hear the excitement and the hope and the longing develop.

My favourite rendition of this is by Nuccia Focile (what a name...) but sadly it is not on the internet. So instead I chose this one by Terese Zylis-Gara. Its not really worth watching but you should definitely listen to it. It was amazing seeing Anna Leese perform it live, too.

While we're at it, this is Lensky's aria from Onegin. This one really gets the Russophile in me going! It just sounds so damn RUSSIAN. and melancholy. He's about to duel his best friend, which is why. NOTE: This singer looks a bit like Trotsky. Ours, Roman Shulackoff, looked like Heathcliff! Big wigs are always the right choice.

PS. Wasn't our production beautiful? Sets by Genevieve Blanchett and Direction by Patrick Nolan, conducted by Alexander Polianichko. Images by Jane Ussher for NBR NZ Opera.

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