LIVE from the Metropolitan Opera, this beloved opera by Tchaikovsky features a star-studded cast with Thomas Hampson in the title role, Karita Mattila as Tatyana and Piotr Beczała as Lensky. Jiří Bělohlávek leads the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.
“Thomas Hampson used his impressive stature and movie-star looks to create an inherently menacing Onegin, who is softened by impeccable manners. Then we can understand why Tatiana falls for him. His large, dark voice has many subtle colors and a bright but burnished top. It is a delight to hear from beginning to end, but Hampson never lets it get in the way of his partly world-weary, partly sinister characterization—a world away from Hvorostovky’s mischievous Onegin of 2007. When he is not singing, his distant, often immobile figure looms on stage. At the fateful ball in which he and Lensky quarrel, he is both bored and drunk, and surly as well. The elegance of his singing helps support his hollow, exceptionally repellent Onegin as he swings from civilized, sententious egotism to desperate, futile violence. Hampson’s was a large-scale Onegin, almost superhuman, and an unforgettable one.”
“As Onegin, Thomas Hampson also was both vocally and dramatically excellent. Although older than the character he portrayed, he succeeded in conveying the immaturity of the youthful Onegin in the aria where he coldly brushes aside Tatiana’s unabashed expression of love and, later, in angrily accepting Lenski’s challenge – decisions that were both to have tragic consequences. The world-weary Onegin that returned to St Petersburg in the final Act was quite a different character, passionate in his love for Tatiana and in his despair at having destroyed his own life. Hampson remains one of the finest baritones performing today, and he brought beauty of vocal tone and excellent musicianship to this performance. His Act Three arioso and the duet with Mattila that soon followed brought the opera to a powerful conclusion. Although Onegin is really an anti-hero, Hampson made us sympathise with him and feel the agony of his ultimate despair.”