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Controversy Over the Met's Eugene Onegin




Zachary Woolfe wrote in the New York Times,


"The names of Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich and Rachmaninoff are being removed from playbills,” -President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia said on television on Friday

‘Never mind that “Eugene Onegin” opened at the Met that evening, as the New York Philharmonic was playing Shostakovich across the street. And later this week the Philharmonic performs three concerts of Rachmaninoff and Prokofiev, with Rimsky-Korsakov and yet more Rachmaninoff the week after…." -Zachary Woolfe

As many opera houses and top-tier venues have indeed cancelled Russian artists from performing and have practically outlawed Russian music, it seems as though Eugene Onegin has not yet been cancelled. Perhaps it is a bit hypocritical to cancel Anna Netrebko for her Russian heritage and cancel all Bolshoi connected artists, but still decide to perform Eugene Onegin.


We just want to point out the hypocrisy- we are certainly not advocating for the cancellation of this beautiful opera, and we stand by the artists who have decided to perform in it, including the incredible Latina opera singer, Ailyn Perez, who shines beautifully in the role.




We hope that this production does not get cancelled in the future, as it is more important now than ever to put a spotlight on the troubles of Russian society that many citizens face on a daily basis. As the Metropolitan Opera states,


"Pushkin presents a vast overview of old Russian society around 1820, which Tchaikovsky’s original score neatly divides into each of its three acts: from the timeless rituals of country life to the rural gentry with its troubles and pleasures and, finally, the glittering imperial aristocracy of St. Petersburg. The Met’s production places the action in the later 19th century, around the time of the opera’s premiere." -The Metropolitan Opera

So this is indeed the perfect time to shed light on the vast differences between the poor who face a very troubled life in Russia, versus the indulgence and corruption of the aristocracy.



In praise of this beautiful, heart wrenching production, Rick Perdian accounted in the New York Classical Review,



"There was something spectacular in the Metropolitan Opera’s season premiere of Eugene Onegin: Piotr Beczała’s sensational singing in his Act II aria. Beczała gave voice to Lenski’s memories of his carefree youth as he awaits for Onegin to arrive for their fatal duel in beautiful, molten tone, coupled with a passionate, yet subtle, outpouring of emotion. This exceptional artist, at the pinnacle of his powers, transformed Lenski’s aria into an unforgettable moment.... the dramatic inertness of the opening scenes was due to Ailyn Pérez’s Tatiana, who was singing the role for the first time...
 

We advocate for using music to bring awareness and influence positive change in our culture, rather than banning artists and the beautiful music they present.