Evgeni Onegin_StaatsoperWien_Hvorostovsky/Guryakova/Breslik/Petrenko and the Q experience_05.06.2010

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Evgeni Onegin at Staatsoper Vienna and the Q(ueue) experience
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I planned to see him in a Russian opera. I thought that if it's his native languge everything would be more powerful and suggestive. And it was. Even if he doesn't have a big voice like other baritones, the way he sings and the perfect diction made his Onegin unforgettable. Oh, the way he was saying "Tatiana"... with "t-i-a" connected a lowerd towards the final "a". *sigh*
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The cast: Hvoro as Onegin, Olga Guryakova as Tatiana, Pavol Breslik as Lensky and Ferrucio Furlannetto as Germin. The Vienna State Opera orchestra was conducted by Kirill Petrenko.
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I can't say what voice I liked most. At this level they are all good. Mr Furlanetto gave a perfect aria and got lots of applauses in the last act. Beautiful Tatiana broke Onegin's heart by leaving him the moment he realized that back then, in the country, he looked down at her. The change of behaviour was well stressed upon for both characters. Tatiana evolved from the dreaming, in love girl to a woman who knows that she made a choice and has to respect the man she married. In the final part she behaves with pride trying not to show up too much her sorrow. The exact opposite thing happens to Onegin. He had this "leave me alone" attitude in the beginning when he rejected her. Now he's humble, sad, he wants her back by any means and he's desperate that he can't do that. From the coldness in the first act to ardent passion in the end. Well, all these mixed fellings were portrayed with great talent. They told a beautiful story.
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A story perfectly supported by the orchestra and chorus. Each time I get to Vienna I can't be anything else but impressed by the musicians. There's nothing random, nothing ruins the magic. Kirill Petrenko led them with a strong hand paying huge attention to the singers at the same time. The orchestra was not very loud. The perfect intensity was sought in order not to cover the voices. The pit in Vienna is open. So most of the time the soloists came very close to the edge of the stage to sing.
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I have two favorite parts. The finale, the duet between Tatiana and Onegin and the instrumental introduction to act III. A+ for both of them. Just to be more clear, listen to the fragments below. The Polonaise with Mariinsky/Gergiev and the finale with Hvorostovsky/Fleming. There's nothing better by Russian music performed by Russians
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Now some words about what I didn't like. The production was strange. The entire action was brought somehow closer to the present, judging on the costumes. I couldn't find anything related to Russian countryside. Maybe only the blue and white neons that created a cold winter-like atmosphere. Tatyana's bedroom looked like the entrance in an igloo. There was a long ice-like long bar at Tatyana's party in act two. And the sets in the third act reminded me of the movie Chicago, if you saw it. Some long steps from one side to the other of the stage, going up, and some vertical curtains of bulbs hanging in the background and on both sides. Oh, well...this was the artist's vision... I don't know about you, but this kind of sets that don't tell me anything tend to disturb me. Modern costumes (and I haven't mentioned that Dmitri was wearing a Rolex-like wrist watch) and neons for a party that is normally taking place in a previous century... neah.
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After the performance I went to the backstage door. Lots of people. It's almost a habbit in Vienna to wait for the stars of the evening for autographs and pictures. Only that the main attraction (aka Hvoro) didn't like to much all that fuss. He was in a great hurry and his gestures were saying "I don't want to do this but I have to because you're too many and there's no other way out". He was disturbed by those taking pictures with the flash and he told them to stop doing that. Either he was in a bad mood last night or he simply doesn't like doing it. And the people didn't get it. They followed hims toward the crossroad sign. Furlanetto and Breslik were friendlier. They talked to people and signed the programs. The last to come was Olga Guryakova. There weren't too many people left so she sat down at the table and gave autographs.
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This is how the evening ended. Besides the "revolution" at the backstage door, the Austrian audience is great. No caughing, no other disturbing noises during the performance. And lots and lots of applauses at the end. They made the artists come on stage 4 times. And the last time they came out there were like 40 people left in the venue. But as everybody kept applauding, here they were again.
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Ok, this was the end. But let me tell you some things about the beginning of the evening. It actually started at 2 pm. Why? Just because this time I wanted to experience the famous queue. The second reason is that I didn't have enought money to buy a good ticket. This is how the Q works. You need a lot of patience. A LOT. Depending on who's singing, people start coming sooner or later.
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- If you're around early and there's nobody there, no problem. it means you're there first. Leave something to mark your spot
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- I got there at 2pm. I was the 7th in the queue. You have to know that there are a few hundred standing tickets for each performance, but only the first 100 people get the parkett standing places. The rest of the tickets are at the balcony and gallery, with not so great visibility.
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- Between the time you get there and mark your spot (with a chair, magazine, newspaper.. whatever) and about 5pm (it also depends on the time the opera stars. It was 7:30pm last evening) you can leave and come back as many times you need. There is a Starbucks nearby. And also a supermarket. So don't worry about food/drinks. If you have a small chair, bring it. The usuals all have chairs. If you don't have one, then wear confortable pants (for sitting on a confortable newspaper) or good shoes if you decide that you're not going to sit. Hehehe.. but you will sit anyway. Nobody can stand for so many hours. You're allowed to do almost everything while queuing: eat, drink, smoke, sleep, read, talk on the phone, watch DVDs on the DVD player/computer brought from home. I saw some great picnics taking place right on the pavement around 4pm. The following picture shows the leftovers.
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- After 5pm the Q moves inside. This is the first movement of the Q. there are 2 more. From this moment you can't leave your spot. There are toilets inside but no other source of food or water.
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- At about 6:15 there is the second movement of the Q, in the room next to the previous one. I'm talking here form the point of view of a person with #7 on the teeshirt :). I don't know what happens if you're the 131st in the Q.
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- Right before 7:00 everybody stands because the box office opens. The parkett ticket is 4 euro. The balcony and gallery ones are 3 euro. You buy the ticket and then rush through the empty and silent opera house to another door closer to the standing area. Where you form again a queue, of course.

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- At 7:00 they let us in, carefully checking the tickets. This is where the battle begins. All those calm people transform into "watch-out-I-want-the-best-spot" person. What I didn't know but I found out during that crucial moment was that the entrance to the standing places was from two sides. So the furious mobs collided on the top of the stairs. I faced the danger. But I was determind to bet a good spot after so many hours of waiting. And I did. On the first row.
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- Now that you're in, there are some rules that a nice person tell everybody present: no food, no flash photography (ya, right!!), and the most important thing, MARK YOUR SPOT! It was not a joke. Everybody did that, with a scarf, newspaper, whatever you have at hand. If there's an unmarked good spot, there'll be somebody wanting to take it. You don't want that, trust me.
- After you do all these, you're free to go and explore the opera house. You still have about 20 minutes left till the performance starts.
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What I said here might sound a little tragic. It wasn't. It all depends on what you want. I wanted to Q so it was ok.
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Staatsoper Wien


Details

I wanted to show you the new iron curtain, not the ticket. But that painting is... hmm... let's say that the characters depicted are not properly dressed.
Kirill Petrenko and Dmitri Hvorostovsky
Ferruccio Furlanetto
Ferruccio Furlanetto, Kirill Petrenko, Olga Guryakova, Dmitri Hvorostovksy
And some photos inside the opera house, on my way to the backstage door



And on the outside.

Pavol Breslik
Ferruccio Furlanetto
Dmitri chased by fans
Olga Guryakova

And Arcadia, one of the two bookshops that sells libretos in the original language. The other one is Doblinger (close to Stephansdom). If anybody gets to Vienna, I need a book from there. It was out of stock. Please let me know..




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