Almost a year ago, I watched my first opera. This time around, I went to watch what’s supposedly Tchaikovsky’s most popular opera Eugene Onegin. I have never read the Russian classic novel by Aleksandr Pushkin before, and neither have I watched the 1999 film adaptation starring Ralph Fiennes and Liv Tyler. I suspect I might have enjoyed those two more than I did the opera. :P
Why? For one, the music was pleasant, but not nearly as arresting as Verdi’s score in La Traviata. The singing was fine, but again, I didn’t find it as compelling as the leads in La Traviata. Perhaps most importantly (for me), I couldn’t identify with the plot or the characters in Onegin. Consequently, it was all just a rather mild entertainment for me.
Having said that, I think I was more entertained by my two opera buddies. I sat between Wanting and Zibin (he had reluctantly agreed to try opera for $20) who alternately rolled their eyes at the grandiose and melodramatic libretto and sniggered at how the leads had to keep running ‘into’ each other when trying to leave the ‘room’. I don’t blame them. I felt like rolling my eyes at some points too. :P
After the entire opera, there is only one piece of music I took a shine to, and it’s the waltz I had already long fallen in love with. I featured the piece in an August 2006 entry. Here it is again:[audio:http://animann.negimaki.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2008/04/new-york-philharmonic-kurt-masur-eugene-onegin-waltz.mp3%5D