13 February 2007

Gergiev

"Alone, again" among published reviews, the NYSun's Nordlinger says of Gergiev's work:

Our conductor for the evening was Valery Gergiev, music director to the world, it seems. And he did not have his best outing — far from it. Much of the performance was sloppy and awkward, and the choruses were a particular surprise: They should be compact, stirring, and even thrilling. Instead, they were more like perfunctory.

Mr. Gergiev can be the most exciting conductor around, as he has proven over and over. On a certain night last season, he made a lesser Tchaikovsky opera, "Mazeppa," absolutely gripping. But a curious indifference marred "Onegin." The dances were at one and the same time humdrum and super-fast.
Oh, nu-uh. Agree that he's inconsistent, but this Onegin is among his best outings at the Met, in my opinion. I didn't care for his Parsifal (heavy-handed) and Walk├╝re (showy, superficial), and his Traviata varied from evening to evening; however, his Mazeppa and War and Peace were distinguished, and his Salome was appropriately crude and bombastic. Now he creates an intensely personal and nuanced Eugene Onegin with an epic arch. The Letter Scene is particularly surprising: at times slower and more quiet than any I've heard on records, it worked to bring another dramatic focal point to balance the larger darkness (Onegin's internal turmoil). The deeply romantic phrases that echo throughout the rest of the opera take you back to this luminous scene. It helped immeasurably to have a committed singer like Renee Fleming (effective chest, buttery top notes, huge lungs, accomplished stage deportment) and an austere, semi-abstract production, whose magnificent depth and volume reminded me of that feeling from many years ago, alone in my room and the immense universe, in first love.