Eugene Onegin It's a story. A good story. A good Love story. Set in Russia in the 1800s.
I went to go see this good love story on Saturday night performed at the metropolitan opera in New York City.
My love of music came from my dad's side of the family.
Whereas most dads were bumping Bruce Springsteen or Pink Floyd, (is that what dad's were pumping?) my dad was bumping Mahler and Tchaikovsky. And so my love of classical music has been with me since I was a little girl (only I didn't know I loved it then).
My dad's love of opera and classical music is so deep that he has seen La Traviata over 30 times and Rigoletto probably 15. He says every time is different-every nuance and production is different than the one before. He compares it to watching your favorite movie over and over again.
Of course when you love something so much, you want to share it with someone. I have become that someone for him.
This past Saturday I made dear old dad happy when I went to the last performance of Onegin where his favorite singer Anna Netrebko was performing the role of Tatiana.
The story is like most love stories. But what struck me about it is how relevant it still is today. Of course it's more dramatic in the opera but we all know how dramatic love can feel.
The story is based on the novel by Alexander Pushkin written (in serial) in 1833. Tatiana sees Onegin, falls hopelessly in love with him and then declares her love for him in a letter that she gives him.
He comes to her the next day and says he appreciates her candor but he cannot love her back and essentially not to be so naive because people will take advantage of it.
(A B plot ensues in the second act where Onegin is challenged to a duel by his best friend and then kills his best friend.)
In the 3rd act after Onegin comes back from travels abroad, he is at a relative's party and laments to the audience that since killing his best friend he is lost and has no purpose (at the ripe old age of 26.)
And who of course is there at this party? Tatiana! Looking beautiful and mature and she is now married to Prince Gremin.
Her husband introduces them and she feigns indifference as she sings to the audience "I can't believe it. My heart is bursting. Can it be him?" She is overcome with emotion and leaves the party.
At seeing her again, Onegin realizes that he loves her.
The last scene of the opera is Onegin declaring his love for her. And she tells him "you must leave me". After asking him why it is that he loves her now, (because I wear nice clothes, am married to a successful man?) she breaks down and tells him that she too is in love with him.
He can't believe it and tells her that he is her fate and guardian angel( all the things she was saying in the first act) and that she must leave her husband and go with him.
But Tatiana is a woman true to her word. And cannot leave her husband. Will not leave him. And so after they share a passionate kiss (my father says in all the productions he has seen they have never kissed before) she walks away and leaves him there in despair and all alone.
Pretty tragic right? I thought they'd end up together! But my dad reminded me "it's not Hollywood".
There's something really real about it that I like. Sometimes things just don't turn out the way you want them to. Or that you planned them to. Sometimes your circumstances and decisions you made block you from the things you desire most. But it's the reality of the situation and you can't change it. Not in real life, and not for an opera.
Also..; "Really Onegin? Too little too late! You had your chance!" Of course he wants her now that she's unavailable. Typical.
The story was so moving, and the music so beautiful. And like I said, it's still so relatable. 200+ years later we still understand the drama and pain and glory of love. I understood when Tatiana was saying in the first act "we are connected and meant to be. Maybe fate will take me somewhere else but I feel this way". And I respected her courage to tell him how she felt.
It reminded me that love is universal. That it transcends time, place and language. That sometimes we can want things but the universe takes us in a different direction... and how we deal with where we are left is totally up to us.
As you can see, inspiration goes a long way and comes in many forms. Saturday night was no exception. #thanksdad
If you want to know more about Onegin, here's the link to the wiki page:)
love love love,