TCHAIKOVSKY Eugen Onegin Barenboim DVD-V 0734434

Anna Samuil's Tatiana more than fills Breth's demands, not least in her typewritten letter scene. Peter Mattei's Onegin is a modern alpha male, meltingly sung, while Ferruccio Furlanetto brings the house down with Gremin's aria. Barenboim and the Vienna Philharmonic sets the seal on an interpretation that even opponents of "Eurotrash" will find hard to resist.

In gorgeous voice here, he [Peter Mattei] brings a honeyed cynicism to this part, too. From the beginning, he's clearly a predator -- but he's sufficiently smooth and sufficiently attentive to Tatyana that you understand why she's taken in . . . he captures the adolescent callowness of the character well. The young Anna Samuil is a worthy foil, secure in voice and rich in nuance, especially in the changing moods of the Letter Scene . . . The smaller parts are well handled, too. Joseph Kaiser is an immensely attractive Lensky, more fiery and less befuddled than most; Ekaterina Gubanova makes Olga more agreeable than most singers who take on this unflattering part . . . Ferruccio Furlanetto is arguably the most sympathetic Gremin I've ever heard. Firm, radiant, without a trace of the doddering this part can encourage, he gives palpable evidence that he's right when he tells Onegin that love is no respecter of age . . . Vocal ensembles are exceptionally well balanced. Daniel Barenboim . . . is at his best from beginning to end here, from the lush poignance of the opening bars, through the dark violence of the Duel Scene, on to the sharply pointed Polonaise and the blazing final pages. The Vienna Philharmonic plays with its Usual tonal luxuriance and the choral work is first-rate . . . Brian Large's video work is typically effective . . . The sound is opulent, especially on the DTS tracks . . . this one has enough musical value to deserve a space on your shelf.

I can only say I was compelled from first note to last. You almost forget that Anna Samuil's Tatyana, the unfathomably strange Onegin of Peter Mattei, Joseph Kaiser's impulsive and loveable Lensky and Ferruccio Furlanetto's stricken Prince Gremin sing and phrase their set-pieces beautifully, so convincing are they as real people. Daniel Barenboim always supports the singers and inhabits Breth's singular drama . . . you have to see this . . .

. . . Peter Mattei's Onegin is gorgeously sung and conveys both the character's superciliousness and his down-in-the depths despair . . . Joseph Kaiser offers a compelling Lensky, sung with a strong lyric tenor . . . Ferruccio Furlanetto's magnificently sung Gremin endows the prince with a big Russian personality. Ryland Davies, singing in both French and Russian, is an outstanding Triquet, and Ekaterina Gubanova's voluptuous mezzo makes for an impressive Olga. As the notes remind us, Daniel Barenboim has Russian grandparents on both sides of his family, and his idiomatic reading emphasizes Romantic's sweep and flexible tempos . . .

Almost cinematic, Breth's set rotates with excellent timing, making the stage seem many times larger than it is. This usually spells trouble for video filming, but Brian Large's direction is masterful. The cuts, fades and shots are among the best I have seen in an opera DVD . . . Convincingly presented as a decrepit peasant woman, she [Sarkissián] sings in a clear voice that is unsettling in its incongruousness. The cast's strong acting continues with Joseph Kaiser's Lenski, whose anguish at being rejected by Olga (Ekaterina Gubanova) is palpable and heartbreaking. Ferruccio Furlanetto's "cameo" aria as Prince Gremin overflows with well-judged legato, while Ryland Davies's singing of Triquet's couplets arrives with purposeful exaggerated sentimentality. Conductor Daniel Barenboim is . . . capturing the emotional turbulence of the plot as well as the brilliance of its decadent party life, which is emphasized in Breth's staging . . . moments of high drama are excellent and the justly beloved Polonaise shines . . . Overall, this is an "Onegin" that expresses the darkness and strangeness of the tale without being tediously bleak.

Selten hat man "Eugen Onegin" so reduziert, zurückgekommen, leicht und duftig gehört. Vor allem die Piano-Passagen wurden mit Barenboim nobelst ziseliert, ohne zu zerbrechen. Schön, dass hier ein Maestro am Werk war, der den russischen Kosmos nicht voll ausschlachten muss, um das richtige Idiom zu gewinnen. Aber auch die Inszenierung der Regisseurin Andrea Breth, die im Schauspielbereich meisterhafte Arbeiten vorgelegt hatte, . . . ist glänzend und ergibt mit Barenboims Interpretation ein gemeinsames Ganzes, wie man es allzu selten erlebt . . . Eine präzise Arbeit, die zum genauen Hinhören und Hinschauen zwingt, die Geschichte linear erzählt . . . Ausgezeichnet ist auch die Besetzung, angeführt vom Sängerdarsteller Peter Mattei als Onegin -- einer der besten Baritone unserer Zeit. Auch der Lenski von Joseph Kaiser, die Olga der Ekaterina Gubanova, die Larina der Renée Morluc überzeugen. Selbst kleine Partien . . . sind bestens besetzt . . . Große Zustimmung.

. . . Peter Mattei [verkörpert] den Onegin mit einer blasierten Lässigkeit sondergleichen, und Joseph Kaiser gibt den Lenski leidenschaftlich und sensitiv zugleich, mit einem Tenor, der hinsichtlich Geschmeidigkeit und Differenzierungsvermögen auch kritischen Vergleichen standhält. Nicht nur die Haupt, sondern auch die Nebenrollen sind prägnant gezeichnet . . . Dass der Dirigent Daniel Barenboim der Aufführung mit getragenen Tempi emotionale Vitalität beifügt, sorgt für einen spannungsvollen Kontrast.

. . . on tient ici le supplément d'âme fatal -- et surtout le plus bouleversant protagoniste, campé par l'admirable Mattei! Ajoutez deux partenaires vibrants, des Viennois tour à tour chambristes et exaltés, une captation jouant des contrechamps cinématographiques d'un spectacle subtil, et voilà un ensemble inoubliable.