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Tchaikovsky: Eugen Onegin
 
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Tchaikovsky: Eugen Onegin

7 Feb 2014 | Format: MP3

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Disc 2
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Product details

  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Decca (UMO)
  • Copyright: (C) 1988 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Hamburg
  • Record Company Required Metadata: Music file metadata contains unique purchase identifier. Learn more.
  • Total Length: 2:28:23
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B001N5FO8O
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 75,539 in MP3 Albums (See Top 100 in MP3 Albums)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By "mail22696" on 15 Jun 2005
Format: Audio CD
I've said it once on other reviews and I'll say it again: When Deutsche Grammophon and James Levine team up we, the public at large, are in for a delicious treat. Look at any reviews of the products from this combination (La Traviata, The Ring, The Merry Widow) and you will see what I am talking about.
But lets turn to this recording of Eugene Onegin. As a fan of Pushkin and other Russian classical literature, this opera has always had appeal. Add to that the orchestral magic and empathy of a mature Tchaikovsky and we are well on the way to something pretty special.
Levine captures the whole spirit of this opera perfectly moving the music along at a perfect pace whilst delivering skin-tingling nuances along the way.
Yes I would have liked to see a slightly younger figure than Mirella Freni as Tatyana but I'll settle for her awesome performance on this recording. The real star of the show is Thomas Allen who perfectly encapsulates the dispassionate then firey Onegin. Shicoff's Lenski is solid (perhaps not up there with Stuart Burrows's Lenski on the Solti recording) and as an added extra Levine brings you the heavenly voice of Anne Sofie von Otter as Olga.
This is one of those recordings where you can feel comfortable that you have heard this opera at its best, it's in your collection, and now you don't have to worry about whether you've missed something else out there.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Ralph Moore TOP 50 REVIEWER on 21 July 2010
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
For years I thought I had good reasons for neglecting this set. True, I was always very happy with the old international Solti recording on Decca that introduced me to this most engaging of operas and I then acquired two other sets which I found equally satisfying: the classic 1955 Bolshoi version with Vishnevskaya (see my review) and the later (1984) Bolshoi recording with Mazurok, a favourite singer - but neither of these, although wholly authentic in a way that it would be unreasonable to expect Levine and co to achieve, is great sonically, and there is a always a case for hearing an opera in best sound - which this DG set most certainly is. That is just as well, as the Staatskapelle's playing is sensational. Levine makes Solti, of all conductors, sound almost tame by comparison; key moments such as the duel and the last scene of desperate farewell crackle with intensity and every singer is profoundly immersed in his character. It is the dramatic intensity of this recording which most attracts me; I started to listen, felt myself ineluctably drawn into the narrative and then listened straight through. "Eugene Onegin" is the most literate, wise and adult of operas, thanks to Tchaikovsky's highly intelligent and sensitive adaptation of Pushkin's verse; for once a composer did not find himself hobbled by limp couplets, absurd coincidences and tired conventions - it really is an opera for grown-ups.

Levine's cast really appreciates the psychological complexities of the tale and give it pathos and verismilitude.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Luukas on 25 May 2012
Format: Audio CD
This is my first "Eugene Onegin" cd, and I love it. Orchestra and soloist are excellent and recording is clear. And music is wonderful, of course. I recommend! This "Eugene Onegin" is recorded at the Lucaskirche, Dresden, German.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By N. Byron Fossberg on 3 Jan 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Based on the novel in verse by Puskin and brilliantly set to dramatic music by Tchaikovsky, Eugene Onegin Tchaikovsky: Eugene Onegin is a masterpiece. The selfish hero (Onegin) lives to regret his blasé rejection of a young woman's love (Tatyana) and his careless incitement of a fatal duel with his best friend. The last duet with Onegin and Tatyana is emotional and moving and closes the opera. There is a superb cast with James Jevine conducting the Dresden Staatskapelle Orchestra.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 18 reviews
46 of 47 people found the following review helpful
Which Onegin to buy, Levine or Bychkov? 3 Feb 2007
By Santa Fe Listener - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
When The Gramophone gave a lukewarm review to Levine's 1989 Eugene Onegin on DG and a stone rave to the 1993 set under Semyon Bychkov on Philips, I felt a healthy skepticism. How a magazine devoted to classical music listening could hire writers with tin ears is beyond me. I decided to investigate for myself. Without a doubt these are the two leading modern versions of Tchaikovsky's most famous opera, at least outside Russia itself. Ironically, considering that he has sniffed out many rarely heard Russian operas, Valery Gergiev wasn't given the chance to record Eugene Onegin, the second most famous Russian opera, after Boris Godunov; Philips gave the nod to Bychkov instead.

Levine/ Dresden: This is a non-Russian reading with a stellar international cast (British, Italian, American), replicating a great night at the Met in the late Eighties, only transferred to Dresden. The advantages of having world-class musicians at every level, from Levine's truly exceptional conducting to the Staatskapelle's gorgeous orchestral sound and the casting of Freni, Allen, and Shicoff, are unmatched by any rivals. And every singer is in fine voice. How anyone could rate this set below the highest is a mystery to me. Even the German chorus sounds totally Slavic, but then, it helps that 999 out of a thousand Western listeners don't know a syllable of Russian (beyond nyet and da). Our willingness to hear unidomatic singers is one of the reasons Onegin has been so often performaed in the West without benefit of Slavic voices.

What really matters is dramatic conviction, and here again the Levine set is unequalled outside Russia. Tchaikovsky's score is musically static compared to Verdi, with many intimate scenes and inward emotions. Melodies are spun out slowly over long stretches. Therefore, it's vital to have a conductor and singers who bring inner vibrancy to every bar. Levine, Freni, Shicoff, and Allen do just that. I couldn't tear myself away, which wasn't the case listening to the Bychkov set. The one minus cited by many critics has to do with Freni's age, but she's in great voice and frankly sounds as young as anyone could wish without being girlish. Her counterpart on the Bychkov set, Nuccia Focile, sounds fresher but is nowhere near the artist that Freni is. In sum, this is one of Levine's real (and surprising) triumphs on disc.

Bychkov/ Paris -- I am an admirer of Semyon Bychkov, particularly in his early days when he shot to prominence conducting the Berlin Phil. and, as here, the Orchestre de Paris, but his skillful management of the score is underpowereed and at times slack compared to Levine. The melodic line is allowed to languish, however prettily, too often. His orchestra is quite good--it's not recorded in the best sound by Philips--yet it lacks the special finesse and glow of the Dresden group.

The main reason that critics swooned over this set comes down to one name: Dmitri Hvorostovsky. Onegin is his signature role, as Boris Godunov was for Christoff, and he makes the most of it. With his matinee-idol looks, DH is a smash onstage; moreover, he bothers to act with his voice here (as he rarely does in Verdi, Mozart, or sometimes in Russian roles). With his perfeclty even vocal production and superb dramatic inflections, no better, more alluring hero can be imagined.

But the superiority of the singing stops there. Focile gives us a fine Tatyana, but her voice is rather edgy, especially as recorded by Philips. Neil Shicoff repeats his excellent Lensky (another signature role) from the Levine set, but he's notably less fresh and ardent. In fact, Shicoff provides a touchstone for comparison. Listen to any passage where he appears, and see if Levine doesn't bring out much the best in him compared to Bychkov.

Much more could be said about both these esteemed sets, yet this is one case where the dark horse wins the race. I plump for the Levine recording on all counts except Hvorostovsky. He has countless fans, and his Onegin proves that he deserves them. For overall musical pleasure, however, the Philips recording comes in second.
24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Tchaikovsky's grestest opera superbly sung! 16 July 2001
By D. J. Edwards - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Levine conducts a wonderful performance of Tschaikowsky's [this is the spelling on the cover of the CD album] greatest stage work. Freni is moving, believable and in beautiful voice. But the real kudos fall to the three mail leads. Burchuladze sings with all the feelings of an older man who cherishes the love of his younger wife; his aria sung as superbly as he does it says more than some complete operas. Thomas Allen sings with the ego of a foolish young man wise in the ways of the world but ignorant of what it's all about. His bitter regret in Act III sends chills up the spine. His rich tone just adds to the foolishness of his actions. Not since a Met matinee performance of this opera many years ago wilth Gedda as Lenksy has Kenky's" lament been so movingly sung, conveying the sad results of foolish pride and cultural madness. Never has his cries of "Kuda, kuda, kuda" made more imprint than Shicoff does it. To my western ears, this is a nonpareil Eugen Onegin. For a while it was hard to find. It deserves to be included in the DG "Originals" legendary recordings from the DG catalogue. The recording is too young for this I guess but it should be there anyway. A recording to cherish.
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
A very good recording! 7 Feb 2002
By G. Golding - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This opera is certainly not Boring, as one reviewer stated!
Eugene Onegin contains (in my mind) the most breathtaking flow of absolutely glorious melody in all of Opera. Perhaps Tschaikovsky only matched this in his ballet, The Nutcracker.
The performance here is quite fine. Especially notable is the exciting orchestral playing under the baton of James Levine, wonderfully Slavic and dramatic! Freni, as usual, is the most intelligent of lyrico-spinto sopranos, lightening her voice successfully as she does for all her "young" roles such as Manon Lescaut and Madama Butterfly. Hers may not be the most authentic sounding Russian accent, but it is so nice to have a beautiful Italian voice in such a role. Kudos to her for singing in so many different languages, very rare for an Italian soprano (like Tebaldi). Her voice has an appropriately more mature sound for the thrilling and heart breaking final scene, though I do slightly prefer the role sung by the excellent Kubiak on the Solti disc, with a better Russian accent.
Thomas Allen is a very fine Onegin, aptly dispassionate in the first two acts, rising in operatic passion and drama in the final scene with Tatyana. One oddity is that he omits the not-so-high final note of his act 1 arioso. E strano!
Neil Shicoff is wonderful in the heroic moments of Lensky's music, notably in the final outcry at the end of the act two party scene. He holds that high note forever! In the more intimate moments, the poetic and introverted Lenski is not as well displayed by Shicoff's voice. He cannot match the gorgeously sung performance of Stuart Burrows on the Solti set, even if Burrows is not as exciting in Lenski's outbursts in the party scene.
The rest of the cast is very well sung with Senechal beautifully caught, as he was many years earlier for Solti.
An excellent recording, but I still prefer the Solti set a bit more.... though it was my first love, and it's said that one's first love is always the most special. :)
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
An all time favorite 24 July 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
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.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
A Beautiful And Exciting Eugene 3 Feb 2006
A Kid's Review - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
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.
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