Friday's Eugene Onegin opening was the first order of business, though, thanks to a last minute ticket procured by J's near pathological enjoyment of hitting refresh on Met ticket pages. There's no denying this is a classy showing, but I couldn't shake the feeling that it was a tad too smooth.
Maybe my expectations for Tchaikovsky are out of whack thanks to last season's beloved spectacular-spectacular Mazeppa. Maybe it's that the big blank slate set starts out feeling "inventive" but ends up kind of static and annoying. Maybe it's that I didn't find Renaay bothersome and cringe inducing so much as I just found myself distracted when she was on stage (tho decidedly less so in the last act). Props: her pureed diction thing stayed home tonight, and the Beautiful VoiceTM FX were present but doled out tastefully. Demerits: is that really the loudest you can sing? Seriously? Sing out Renaay!!
In sum, there seemed to be a little something missing there, but no biggie. Let it be noted, however, that Hvorostovsky certainly wasn't an accomplice. Lest you have to sit through my clumsy paraphrase, I'll just say "my sentiments exactly" and blockquote Maury:
Hvorostovky is such an obvious choice in this. He's not quite handsome but extremely interesting-looking, and his vocal suavity and the hint of coldness about him are Onegin in a nutshell. Additionally, he sings the fuckity fuck out of Onegin's splendid, introverted, better-than-the-tenor-aria aria.Fuckity-fuck, indeed.
Rrrramon sounded nice. More importantly, he managed once more to avoid a velour leprachaun costume. With any luck, he will one day live that down.
Thoughts on Saturday's Jenufalicious delights next...