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Tchaikovsky: Eugene Onegin [DVD] [2008]

4.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Peter Mattei, Ekaterina Gubanova, Anna Samuil, Ferruccio Furlanetto
  • Directors: Daniel Barenboim
  • Writers: Tchaikovsky
  • Format: AC-3, Classical, Colour, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Chinese, English, French, German, Spanish
  • Dubbed: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: Deutsche Grammophon
  • DVD Release Date: 18 Aug. 2008
  • Run Time: 157 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0018B7RT2
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 105,374 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Eugene Onegin (2 Dvd)

Customer Reviews

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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
When I saw some photos of this performance, I felt disappointed at first. I didn't like the scene. I liked traditional design, for example from the MET performance in 2013. But I adore Peter Mattei's singing and acting, so I risked it and bought this DVD. When I heard first bars of the ouverture and saw first images of the scene, I was totally drawn into this highly interesting production. No beautiful spectacle with classical scene and nice costumes, but the greatest psychological drama with gorgeous singing and acting and perfect directing. I was fascinated by this production. Peter Mattei is the ideal Eugene Onegin. His voice is magnificent and acting expression amazing. He moves on the scene completely naturally, in keeping with the psychological development of his character. He is always immersed in his figure and he is absolutely able to express his character's delicate nuances. Anna Samuil is ideal Tatiana, beautiful and tender in her nature. Joseph Kaiser gave an exceptional presentation of Lensky. His aria just before the duel was so authentic, that it completely took my breath away. Other figures was also perfect. Noteworthy nanny (Emma Sarkissián) was impressive. Small, weak nanny, bent by age, hobbles among young people and reflected the contrast between past and present world... Daniel Barenboim and Wiener Philharmoniker gave this performance the highest musical foundation. I recommend this DVD highly.
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Have seen 3 productions of Eugene Onegin recently. This production on DVD, HD life from Covent Garden with Simon Keenlyside in the title role and lastly, I attended the Mettropolitan Opera last October, Mariusz Kwieszcen in the title role Anna Natrebko as Tatyana. In my opinion, Peter Mattei is a superb Onegin with all due respect to the other excellent singers. His tone of voice is both smooth and masculine, if his voice were a fabric, it would be velvet!! Superb acting, his chillyness in the beginning and total disregard for the feelings of Tatyana, utter despair in the final scenes. Other singers were very good. Stage design strange, costumes frumpy, but given the scene is set in the latter days of the Soviet Union, what can you expect?
As always, when costumes and stage don' t live up to your expectations, you need excellent singing to make up for it. That was definitely the case in this production. Daniel Barenboim and the orchestra were superb. I recommend this DVD highly.
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As above, sadly, I don't! Quality of performance first class and if turn picture off I would have loved it, only personally I amnow cured of modrn settings thnk you.
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This production from the Salzburg Festival is highly recommended. Peter Mattei sings the role of Onegin with passion, intensity and a rich and wondrous voice. Daniel Barenboim's conducting and the playing of the Vienna State Orchestra are superlative. Having caught some of this on tv abroad I rushed to buy it from Amazon. I have a friend who is a professional musician and this is the version he plans to buy as well.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars 11 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Feeling lonely loving this 1 Mar. 2009
By Y. J. Lee - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
Most reviewers don't like this performance. But I love it. True, it may look dry, queer, even malicious, but seemed to conceal its own logic and virtues. In my opinion Onegin is the most cynical opera, so I am more generous to this kind of experiment.
Whenever I see Onegin, I feel bored by Larina & Filipyevna. Breth gave sub-characters their own theatrical traits, Olga's amoral indifference, Larina's comic snobbery, Filipyevna's aged curiosity, Gremlin's subdued violence. Breth also gives many metaphors. Onegin just slipped away cold-heartedly after Lensky's death but came back broken down, which tells much story and offers ground for his sudden foolish passion for Tatyana.
Even I don't love every part of the direction. I can't understand the beginnings of each acts-Onegin watching TV and not quite impressed.
Breth also touched some sociology or politics. I thought it went a little too further, but political sense matched quite well for the atmosphere.
Mattei was great. His Mozartian soft voice made the character more complicated. All of other casts were fantastic singers & actors(tresses).
For new Onegin lovers, I frankly recommend Graham Vick's production. It has irresistable grace and wit, but after that, this performance might add another savour for this masterpiece.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Onegin for Ages! 12 Mar. 2013
By AL - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I'm originally from Russia, so you can imagine that I've seen quite a few productions of Eugene Onegin. None of the Onegins, I've ever seen, come even close to the astonishing portrait Peter Mattei gives in this performance, both dramatically and vocally. His Onegin comes across as alive and very sympathetic. I can't disagree more with some reviewers who called him unappealing and cold-hearted. This is the most hot-blooded and passionate Onegin in ages! He undergoes a physical transformation from a playboy, bored, self-absorbed and self-assured, almost obsessed with physical appearance (and looking extremely handsome, indeed!), `disillusioned in everything' at 23 and looking down to everyone, to a completely sincere man, deeply remorseful and suffering, passionately in love, not caring about his looks at all (and still looking sexy as hell!). In the end Onegin's complete defeat, as well as full realization that he himself caused it, is heartbreaking. There are no words to adequately describe beauty and power of Mattei's voice throughout the whole journey. It's lush and luminous, even in all the registers, effortless and infinitely musical. His phrasing is exquisite, his breath control is impeccable.
Anna Samuil as Tatyana and Joseph Kaiser as Lensky give solid performances, but you can't help but notice that they are simply not in the same league as Peter Mattei, not yet at least. I sincerely wish them both successful careers. Ferruccio Furlanetto is a luxury as Gremin.
I can't say that I like the sets very much. There is wheat growing inside(?) Larin's house, then there are puddles on the floor everywhere during the ball at Tatyana's birthday (why?). Women's chorus ("Devizy, krasavizy...") sewing some bandages as in Chinese sweatshop (why?) All these rotating elaborative scenery is completely unnecessary. Interaction between main characters, that's what matters. And here the director Andrea Breth should be given a full credit. All the key scenes are staged brilliantly; you can't help but get back to them over and over.
Orchestra under Daniel Barenboim sounds terrific for most of the time. However, it seems like he drowned singers in climaxes on purpose several times, just to show them `who is the man', which is, in mine opinion, simply inexcusable.
I can't wait to see Peter Mattei live as Onegin in the fall/winter of 2013 at the Met, along of Marina Poplavskaya and Rollando Villazon. More glamorous trio of Mariusz Kwiecien/Anna Netrebko/Piotr Beczala are chosen as a `first cast' and their performance will be transmitted Live in HD. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure they will do a great job. But Peter Mattei's second to none Onegin will not be recorded at the Met, so this DVD will likely to remain the only recording of this great artist in one of his signature roles.
26 of 34 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars This Onegin: More Miss Than Hit 19 Aug. 2008
By G P Padillo - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Last year it seemed absolutely everyone at Salzburg clamored about director Andrea Breth's monumental updated production of "Eugene Onegin" and indeed, it was one of the most reviewed performances I've ever seen - I read over 30 reviews of the opening night - and nearly every single one seemed to be outdoing the other in heaping superlatives. I saw clips of it and found it moving, and now have watched the entire thing on DVD, twice. Musically, I find it thrilling and eye opening, but dramatically it runs both red hot (like a fire poker in the eye) and unmoving.

There's not a thing wrong with strong willed directors, but when the will of the director ignores what is happening in the music and imposes his or her will OVER what the director intends - then I have a problem. And I had a lot of problems here.

As terrific as Anna Samuil is in the Letter Scene, dramatically there was something lacking - something in need of tightening up - not on the heroine's part, but on the director's. The decision to not have her in pajamas or a nightgown proved, for me at least, a seemingly inconsequential, but ultimately glaring mistake. Breth has already made us aware this Tatyana is no shrinking violet - is, in fact, a strong willed (and slightly spoiled), young woman. But she's still a girl and we need SOME vulnerability and there was next to none found here. Despite Samuil's lovely shaded singing, magnificent lighting (car lights shining through the woods and windows) . . . despite incredible stage machinery rotating the sets showing Tatyana tearing through the house and out into the woods with what can only be described as "love fever," we do not quite get (or at least I did not get) the sense that her epistle to Mr. O was particularly difficult, much less an all night vigil. Even having her remain in the same jeans for several days didn't really convey that. There absolutely MUST be the element of the girl's restlessness, of her insomnia, of night passing into day and it could have been as easily remedied by giving the gal a goddamned nightgown. Having her sit, pensive, noisily pecking away at a typewriter was for me a rather novel idea - just not a particularly good dramatic one. Just me I guess.

Earlier on, in one of the very best, liveliest,and most infectious peasant choruses in all of opera, the Larin servants, farmhands and neighbors perform it motionless as a chorus of automatons arranged properly in concert formation, faces stripped of any emotion as we watch the ghastly attired Madam Larina (her hair in curlers no less) frolicking with a pair of moppets (and nearly showing us her "business" in the process).

Peter Mattei (one of my favorite baritones) makes Onegin entirely unappealing, eliciting almost no sympathy for his plight. Onegin already IS somewhat unappealing, but to burden him now with a jaded, been-there-done-that playboy attitude misses Onegin's point entirely. To Mattei's credit he sounds terrific and follows, to the letter, his directress's whims turning a melancholy, ennui-ridden young man into a mean-spirited, selfish and arrogant prick. Great.

Much was been made about Breth's total transformation of Madame Larina and it's true: few characters have morphed so entirely as the Larin girls' mama. Instead of a kindly, pensive disillusioned, broken-dreamed, still elegant and intelligent woman we're given a gaudy, shrewish, manipulative, self-obsessed cow. Wonderful.

I also had to scratch my head at the rambunctious, drunk fest that took the place of Tatyana's name day celebration. Do people really find this that innovative? Does this add anything at all to the drama? I don't think so.

And speaking of parties and celebrations, I will NOT apologize for finding the current directorial fad of removing the Third Act Polannaise to be a mistake. It is, in fact one of the most yawn-inducing clichés perpetuated upon the world of opera in the last decade. And there have been a lot. (Oddly, Carsen's re-working of it for the Met, is the only example of where it worked. All others, including this one, fail miserably in my opinion). Breth here makes a little joke: Ha ha! I'm going out on a limb here, but in, say, 20 years or so some hot shot Austrian playwright making his operatic debut in Onegin will DARE to place the women into Empire gowns, the men in tails and fill the stage with gilded mirrors and crystal chandeliers as couples elegantly glide round the stage in sophisticated choreographed formations and the audience drop their jaws thinking "My, God! It's almost as though this music was MADE for this!"

Sorry to spoil the party that everyone else enjoyed (I guess I'm just a bad guest!) but it felt to me that Breth was trying hard to make Onegin an intense, unsettling, brooding dark opera, a statement on class distinctions and society - as well as on boredom and honor. The problem is Tchaikovsky already did that and what I feel was chiefly achieved here was merely an accentuation of the ugliness of these characters . . . and unattractive costumes.

I was amazed by Martin Zehetgruber's elaborate sets - magnificent in every regard - and I would love to see another stab at this Onegin as despite how I may come off here, I think Breth has some very good ideas: the portrayal of this matriarchal society; the Larina disdain for peasants and workers; Madame Larina's sheering the men like sheep; the contrast between the "old ways" still being hung to by Filipevna with the new world ideas of Madame L.; the disdain and boredom of the strong-willed Tatyana (having Filipevna die, unnoticed by the girl she did everything for, chilling . . . brilliant); the duel - heartbreaking; the blazing intensity of the final scene - there is plenty of good stuff here, I just found it all didn't come together for me as for everyone else.

With so much attention lavished on the principal pair of non-lovers, the majority of characters almost fade which is a shame. Joseph Kaiser is charmingly idealistic at Lensky.

Musically, Daniel Barenboim gives one of the most frenetic, violent readings of this score - make that THE most violent reading of the score anyone has probably ever heard - the tensions at times are almost unbearable. Unfortunately, regardless of what anybody else has written (maybe they were swept away by the passion) it was a sloppy, inelegant reading from the Vienna Philharmonic, with intonation problems, rifts between stage and pit, uneven entrances from the orchestra itself (a lot of this). It is thrilling, in that way surviving a ride on a high speed, broken rollercoaster is thrilling - but I'm pretty sure I'd never want to get on again.

There is clearly an audience for this - and I will try to come back to it, but I can think of a half dozen other "Onegins" on DVD (more if you add pirates) that are ultimately far more satisfying: particularly Graham Vick's production for Glyndebourne; and Robert Carsen's minimalist, brilliant production for the Metropolitan Opera.

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thrilling, but not a traditional performance 19 Nov. 2014
By DGlo - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
Based on several reviews, I was sure I wasn't going to enjoy this performance. On the contrary, I loved it! I found it chilling, riveting, and heartbreaking despite (or perhaps because of) the update to the mid-20th century. I'm not usually a fan of updated opera, but we already have several very fine DVDs (with Renee Fleming, Dmitri Hvorotovsky, Ramon Vargas and Anna Netrebko, Mariusz Kwiecien, Piotr Beczala), one in a spare setting with the focus on the characters' emotions, another in a sumptuous production with waltzes and beautiful costumes. Onegin has been well-served on DVD because all of these performances have the finest singers in the starring roles. In this Onegin, it's true, the overall look and feeling are of dirt, dinginess, despair, and depression. Is this what Tchaikovsky had in mind? Probably not. But I've already seen beautiful scenery and costumes elsewhere; this setting represents more accurately what Russian life was really about. Unless you were an aristocrat, Russian life was hard and dirty. The Larin party scene is probably what parties really looked like, not the happily dancing peasants we're used to seeing. In the starring roles, Anna Samuil is a riveting Tatyana. No, her voice isn't as silvery beautiful as Fleming's, nor is she as glamorous as Netrebko, but she sings stirringly and portrays a stronger heroine than usual, but who is crushed anyway. Peter Mattei, who I think has the most purely beautiful baritone voice in opera today, is an unusually haughty, angry, hulking presence. In some ways, I am drawn to his Onegin more than Hvorostovsky's because Dmitri just presents a well-sung glamour boy. Kwiecien, although nicely sung, just fades into the background next to Netrebko. Joseph Kaiser is an excellent Lensky, as are both Vargas and Beczala. In this production, you also have the luxury of Ryland Davies as Triquet - a role that's usually performed by a singer who should be in a nursing home, not on the stage. He actually sings the part quite well. And then there's Furlanetto as Prince Gremin. It's not essential to have a great bass in this role, but boy-oh-boy, when you have a great bass it elevates the whole performance. You then understand why Tatyana might remain faithful to a man who doesn't arouse the same passion as Onegin did. Overall, I was thrilled with this DVD. If you want a more traditional Onegin, then Netrebko/Kwiecien and Fleming/Hvorostovsky are the first choices. I'm happy to have both of those performances as well as this one.
14 of 19 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not An Ideal Production 5 Sept. 2008
By Pirooz Aghssa - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I bought this review on the basis of my admiration for Peter Mattei whose voice and looks are an asset to any opera. His singing here is indeed beautiful. But the production is so at odds with the spirit of Pushkin and Tchaikovsky that it is hard to stomach.

Onegin is essence of the Russian soul and this production completely negates that. Musically strong, theatrically a disaster.
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