Opera Review: Tchaikovsky: <I>Yevgeny Onegin</I>

In the title role, Vladimir Petrov's only competition was his own performance in the previous production.

The Israeli Opera Tchaikovsky: Yevgeny Onegin The Opera House Tel Aviv June 24 In Tchaikovsky's Yevgeny Onegin at the Israeli Opera, Jean Claude Auvray's direction and Alexander Lisiyansky's sets were similar to this opera's production five years ago. There was no notable improvement over the previous performance, nor was it noticeably worse. The inevitable bamboo trunks - if that is really what they were meant to be - in outdoor and indoor scenes alike, were just as unjustifiable this time as they were then. Lensky's chair-throwing, evoking associations of an income tax office more than of a ballroom scene, provided a presumably unintentional comic effect. The duel scene was an insult to the audience's intelligence, as though it could not be relied upon to understand anything that was suggested and not bluntly presented in all its unappetizing details. There is hardly any other opera that features its highlight already in the second scene - Tatyana's monologue. This is so moving, intense and emotionally profound that everything which follows is relatively insignificant, despite a lot of melodrama, love, intrigue, jealousy and killing. This climax is achieved by Larissa Tetuev's overwhelming rendition. Her bright, youthful-sounding, expressive soprano is such as cannot be rivalled by any subsequent happenings. In a Russian opera in Russian, she sounded particularly at home - not surprisingly. In the title role, Vladimir Petrov's only competition was his own performance in the previous production. His sonorous baritone conveyed still more pronounced Onegian arrogance in the first act, emphasizing the incredibility of his rantings in the final scene. As Lensky, Felix Livshitz emerged as an empathy-provoking lyric tenor in what is unfortunately the only aria that the score contributes to this role. Vladimir Braun's bass impersonated a dignified Prince Gremin. Under conductor Dmitri Jurowski, the Symphony Orchestra Rishon Lezion sounded appropriately dramatic and well coordinated.