10 February 2007

Out from the depths of winter

Tchaikovsky EUGEN ONEGIN, Met 09.II.2007; c. Gergiev, Fleming, Vargas, Hvorostovsky, Zaremba, Aleksashkin, Shevchenko.

This Eugene Onegin takes my breath away. Valery Gergiev makes love with Tchaikovsky’s music, the startling kind that happens in middle age when you think you’ve seen/felt/tasted it all before, but no. Dear Renee Fleming ravishes Tanya with the standard-issue Renee Fleming ravishment that is poisonous as refined sugar, and I ate it all up and was licking my fingers. Dmitri Hvorostovsky, with silk silver hair, more porn than porn to me, has not sung a more perfect role: brooding eyes, dagger baritone, complex turmoil, true incomplete love. The lyrical Ramon Vargas is back, with an endearing, naive tenor, a correct counterpoint. But my memory goes back to Maestro Gergiev, unravelling the evening with the pace and wonder of a timeless poem. And his deeply cutting strings, the heavy pauses, the care, and concertmaster David Chan’s yearning violin, all conjuring perhaps the most wounding gay-closet music in the repertory.