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Arie des Lensky Eugen Onegin

By Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky

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Tenor voice, piano
Composed by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893). OUT OF PRINT. Romantic. Piano reduction. Breitkopf and Haertel #BES-3125. Published by Breitkopf and Haertel (BR.BES-3125).

Item Number: BR.BES-3125

ISBN 979-0-004-61011-4. 9 x 12 in inches.

Duration: full evening

Translation: German (W. Ebermann/M. Koerth), Engl. (D. Llyod-Jones), French (M. Delines)
Place and time: Partly on the estate, partly in Petersburg, in 20ies of the 19th Century

Characters: Larina, Owner of the Estate (mezzo-soprano) - Tatiana (soprano) and Olga (alto), her Daughters - Filipjewna, Wet Nurse (mezzo-soprano/alto) - Eugen Onegin (baritone) - Lenskij (tenor) - Prince Gremin (bass) - A Commander (bass) - Saretzkij (bass) - Triquet, a French Man (tenor) - Guillot, a Valet (silent part) - Country Folk, Ball Guests, Squire, Officers (chorus) - Waltz, mazurka, polonaise and Russian dance (Ballet )

There is an interesting parallel between the subject of the opera and Tchaikovsky's life during the year he wrote the work (1877): in each case, a letter provokes fateful developments in the lives of the protagonists. In the opera, Tatyana's love letter to Eugene sets off the tragedy, whereas in real life, the love letter of a pupil led the composer into a marriage, which lasted all of ... three months. Tchaikovsky took this doomed decision without love, solely because the circumstances want it and because I cannot act differently. Certain allusions made, for example, in a letter of January 1878 to Taneyev suggest that the composer's personal situation also flowed into the work: I did not want anything to do with the so-called 'grand opera.' I am looking for an intimate but powerful drama which is built on the conflict of circumstances which I myself have seen and experienced, a conflict which truly moves me. Partly for this reason the composer decided to call the work not an opera but lyrical scenes.Eugene Onegin, conceived by Tchaikovsky for limited resources and a small stage, is the most frequently performed Russian opera today along with Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov, which represents a completely contrary aesthetic stance.

Tschaikowskys letzte Oper - auf ein Libretto seines Bruders Modest nach der Dramenvorlage des danischen Schriftstellers Henrik Hertz - lebt von den poetischen Momenten und den symbolbeladenen Charakterportrats der Hauptfiguren: Die junge blinde Jolanthe wird von ihrem Vater aus Sorge um ihren Makel und zum Schutz ihrer Jungfraulichkeit und vor den Widrigkeiten der Welt in einen paradiesischen Garten gesperrt. Er befielt zu ihrem Schutz sie um ihre Blindheit unwissend zu lassen. Ein Arzt warnt sehen werde sie nur konnen wenn sie es selbst wolle gleich welche Angste aus der vollstandigen Erkenntnis der Welt erwachsen. Als der junge Vaudemont in ihre Abgeschiedenheit einbricht und sich beide ineinander verlieben befreit er sie von ihrer Unwissenheit erklart was Farbe und Licht bedeuten. Erst die Liebe zu ihm macht sie sehend.

Die dunkle Welt der Jolanthe zeichnet Tschaikowsky zu Beginn musikalisch durch eine Introduktion ausschliesslich fur Blaser. Erst mit dem Eintritt in die unbekannte Welt der Liebe und des Sehens verwendet Tschaikowsky einen warmen Streicherklang. Gerade dadurch stiess die Oper wohl bei Zeitgenossen auf Verstorung. Tschaikowskys ,,Jolanthe nimmt in seinem Opernschaffen eine Sonderstellung ein: neben dem glucklichen Ende einer Apotheose des Lichts und der Liebe mit einem religios gepragten Schlusschoral ist es eines der wenigen Buhnenwerke Tschaikowskys ohne Bezug zur russischen Geschichte. Der ausgepragte Lyrismus des Werks verweist stattdessen auf Tschaikowskys Nahe zur franzosischen Kultur die im 19. Jahrhundert einen starken Einfluss auf Russland hatte. Die Oper wurde 1892 am Mariinsky-Theater in Sankt Petersburg als Auftragswerk zusammen mit seinem Ballett ,,Der Nussknacker uraufgefuhrt.

Neben der Produktion des Munchner Rundfunkorchesters wurde ,,Jolanthe szenisch erfolgreich bei den Festspielen Baden-Baden mit Anna Netrebko und Piotr Beczala als Liebespaar rehabilitiert. Ausserhalb Deutschlands lief die Opernraritat in Toulouse Tokyo San Sebastian und Monte Carlo. Zuletzt erneut die ,,Suddeutsche Zeitung: ,,Jolanthe ist eine Opernausgrabung die ,,wirklich zu Unrecht vergessen ist. Tchaikovsky's last opera - on a libretto by the composer's brother Modest based on the drama by the Danish author Henrik Hertz - derives its life-blood from its poetic moments and the symbol-laden portraits of the leading characters: the blind young Yolanta is kept prisoner in a paradisiacal garden by her father who fears for her purity and her virginity and seeks to protect her from the adversities of the world. To do so he orders everyone to keep her ignorant of the fact that she is blind. A doctor warns that she will only be able to see when she is ready to do so herself no matter what fears might result from a complete experience of the world. When the young Vaudemont breaks into her secluded world and the two fall in love he frees her from her ignorance and explains the significance of color and light. It is through her love for him that she is finally able to see. At the beginning of the work Tchaikovsky depicts Yolanta's dark world with an introduction scored exclusively for winds. It is not until her discovery of the unknown world of love and sight that Tchaikovsky uses a warm string sound. This is what many of the composer's contemporaries found disturbing about the opera.

Tchaikovsky's Yolanta occupies a special place in the composer's operatic oeuvre: for one it has a happy ending an apotheosis of light and love with a religiously stamped closing chorale; for another it is one of Tchaikovsky's few stage works without any reference to Russian history. Instead the work's pronounced lyricism points to the composer's closeness to French culture. which exerted a strong influence on Russia in the 19th century.

The opera was given its world premiere at the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg in 1892. It had been commissioned along with the ballet The Nutcracker. Next to the production by the Munchner Rundfunkorchester Yolanta was also successfully rehabilitated in a recent staged production at the Baden-Baden Festival with Anna Netrebko and Piotr Beczala as the lovers. Outside of Germany the operatic rarity was performed in Toulouse Tokyo San Sebastian and Monte Carlo.

In closing another quote from the Suddeutsche Zeitung: 'Yolanta' is an operatic rediscovery of a work that was truly 'wrongly forgotten'.

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