Thursday, May 31, 2007

Eugene Onegin

Eugene Onegin, the long dramatic poem by Pushkin is the inspiration behind Tchaikovsky's romantic opera. (There was a colorful post about Pushkin this morning on Taki's blog, which is quite a coincidence since I had been planning to write about Eugene Onegin today.) There is also the wonderful 1999 film starring Ralph Fiennes and Liv Tyler. As for the opera, it is Tchaikovsky's most famous, and was a favorite of Tsar Nicholas II, who interestingly gave his two oldest daughters the same names as the Larina sisters in Eugene Onegin, Olga and Tatiana. Although the background behind the writing of the opera is a bit on the lurid side, the story itself is highly edifying, about a wife who resists temptation and remains faithful to her aging husband. It also shows how even a dissolute character such as Eugene Onegin possesses a certain code of honor, for he returns Tatiana's love letter to her so that she will not be compromised. The lively waltz from Eugene Onegin is truly one of the most tremendous tunes for dancing ever written. I also love the polonaise, once played at the court of the last Tsar. Share

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