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eugene onegin @ the kennedy center

Monday, 16 June 2008

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[Photo]
Kennedy Center Foyer, originally uploaded by Andy961.
being a russian studies major with a theatrical design minor, i am a sucker for russian opera. being a reasonably well-off white metrosexual male, i am a sucker for the kennedy center.

so, when the n.s.o. had to discount tickets to their production because they weren’t selling — trouble selling a russian opera, who’s heard of such a thing?!? — we grabbed us some $25 tickets like the materialistic capitalist scum that we are.

the production was sublime. eugene onegin — or ??????? ?????? for those people who took six semesters of russian that they don’t use and feel the need to show off to justify the time, pain and expense — is a tchaikovsky adaptation (the nutcracker guy did some opera, too) of a pushkin poetry classic.

unlike the awful sanitized version of tchaikovsky’s swan lake — the one where the swan lives — eugene does bad things he actually pays for it. (the swan lives?!? really people, are we so devoid of vertebrae that every story has to have a happy ending?)

actually, onegin’s demise is the story of russia itself: men behave like twits, women get royally screwed, men realize their error, women quickly marry the next guy they find (ie. before he can be a twit and, thereby, restart the opera).

of course, this story arch serves as a stark contrast the classic story of america, where man screws up for 10 minutes, covers it up for 10 minutes, and then apologizes for 10 minutes.

with this as background, it’s not hard to believe that russia has created great opera, while all we’ve managed to pull off has been “mad about you” and bill clinton’s life story.