Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Tchaikovsky, Bolshoi Theater Choir & Orchestra|
Tchaikovsky: Eugene Onegin
Listen to Samples
Wholly authentic and very enjoyable
Ralph Moore | Bishop's Stortford, UK | 11/17/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This 1984 recording has the whiff of an earlier age about it; something to do with the rather harsh sound and an element of the old-fashioned "stand and sing" style in the delivery of the 100% Russian cast. No problems with uncertain accents or verbal inflexions here; these are artists with the music in their blood. As is often the case, the rather mature Tatyana - Tamara Milashkina, around fifty here - is rather more convincing as the married woman than the naive ingenue of the first act, but she does mostly successfully lighten her voice to begin with and despite a few shrill top notes delivers a sympathetic portrayal very much in the style of a young Vishnevskaya, her rival and compatriot. She is clearly an intelligent artist and the occasional lack of vocal allure is compensated for by her identification with the role. Her Onegin, Yuri Mazurok was blessed with an exceptionally attractive, vibrant, light baritone, yet could be a maddeningly stand-offish singer, sometimes failing to make much effort to complement his beauty of tone with a comparable depth of characterisation, but his is a slow-burn approach, rather like the performance as a whole, and by the time we get to that unbearably poignant final meeting of the deux amants manqués their desperation is palpable. Milashkina's husband, Vladimir Atlantov, is as stentorian as ever and has little of the poet about him, but he credibly suggests Lensky's instability and immaturity and manages a lovely diminuendo at the end of his big aria. A stand-out in the rest of cast is Nestorenko's lovely Gremin (although no-one in my experience has approached Ghiaurov's grave sincerity and nobility of voice except the mighty Mark Reizen).
I have never heard of the conductor Gennady Cherkasov, but he seems to know just how this piece should go, making the right contrasts between the provincial jollity of the dance music in the Larin household and the frenetic brilliance of the St Petersburg society ball - and speaking of provincial, there are fewer such moments from the orchestra than one might have feared, despite some quavery horns and wobbly strings, and they, too, really get the bit between their teeth in the final scene. It's a pity, however, that M.Triquet's couplets plod and that he doesn't sing them in French, as he should.
I confess to having bought this set on spec as it was available so cheaply and I mainly wanted to hear Mazurok, a favourite voice. This might not be a set to rival the excitement of Khaikin's famous 1955 mono recording or match the brilliance of Solti's 1974 set, but it is a thoroughly authentic and enjoyable version of this wonderful opera."