Magazine article Opera Canada

Lyric Opera of Chicago's

Magazine article Opera Canada

Lyric Opera of Chicago's

Article excerpt

A remarkable aspect of Lyric Opera of Chicago's 2007/08 season was that several productions had major star defections (including La boheme, Falstaff and II barbiere di Siviglia), but none of the performances suffered with the replacements the company came up with. Concluding the season was Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin (Mar. 8 and 17) in which Dina Kuznetsova replaced Barbara Frittoli and Dmitri Hvorostovsky, engaged to sing all 10 performances, instead split them evenly with Mariusz Kwiecien. The production, borrowed from the Metropolitan Opera, was that of Robert Carsen (director) and Michael Levine (set and costumes)

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Both baritones offered superbly sung and acted portraits. Hvorostovsky, far more vivid than previously, seemed to take his cue more from Tchaikovsky's senti-mentalizing of the title role than from the ironic (and Byronic) aspect of Pushkin's original poem. His was thus a more sympathetic Onegin than usual. Conversely, Kwiecien's vocal line was more dramatic and less lyric, his acting harsher in his treatment of Tatyana and Lensky, but no less effective on these terms. Vocally, he must be wary of an unsteadiness creeping into his work. Past Lyric Opera Tatyanas (including Mirella Freni and Anna To-mowa-Sintow) offered more sumptuous tonal outpourings, but Kuznetsova's extremely refined, beautifully nuanced singing had its own considerable merits. …

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