Tschaikowsky, Yevgeny Onegin

The Galina Vishnyevskaya Opera Center does not have many public performances, but they are worth attending to hear the young voices studying under the diva.  They have adopted her style, combining beautiful singing instruments with expressive acting.  Tonight’s production of Tschaikowsky’s psychodrama Yevgeny Onegin, with its minimal scenery, relied on this style to convey the plot.  In that it succeeded simply and elegantly.

Three moments stood out emotionally, the points at which each of the main characters psychologically crack.  First came Yekatyerina Mironicheva, portraying with her voice Tatyana’s heart falling onto the floor when Onegin rebuffs her love letter.  Second was Sergey Dudkin, as Lensky, throwing his glove at Onegin when his troubled mind saw no other solution than to challenge his friend to a duel he know would result in his death.  Third, Sergey Atyushev, as Onegin, having tried to remain stoic throughout the entire opera, finally realized that what he turned down when it was attainable is now something he only wants once it has become unattainable.

The show-stopper of the evening, though, came when Aleksey Tikhomirov, in the brief role of Prince Gremin, sang of his love for Tatyana.  Tikhomirov was the same enormous bass-baritone whom I saw sing Boris in this same venue last Spring, and his voice once again had no rivals tonight.  A name to watch for.

The theater sells out quickly, so only tickets on the balcony remained.  I took one: in this diminutive theater, there are no bad seats. Unfortunately, I think the balcony is where they stuff all the old babushkas.  I sat up there amidst a herd of them, who yakked incessantly throughout the performance.  And they appeared to be deaf, since to hear each other they were yelling.  Makes me wonder why they bought tickets to an opera they did not want to hear, and probably were too deaf to hear even if they shut up.  I somehow managed to restrain myself from chucking them one by one from the balcony throughout the evening.  But they tempted me.

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