Pushkin and Opera

Wed Jun 29, 2005 1:43 pm

Pushkin’s writing seems to suffer terribly whenever it is made into an opera. So many of his stories/poems get stripped of their subtle irony and humor, not to mention subtle details that provide unity and coherence. I always found that the operas, many of which are quite excellent, feel clumsy and melodramatic when compared to the originals.

Queen of Spades is my favorite Tchaikovsky opera but he left out/added in details that undermine the perfection of the original story. I would recommend reading the story. The only problem is that then you will see how the opera really should have ended. Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov is a great opera, but it also messes up important details that are the center of the Pushkin story.

Eugene Onegin has fared the worst of all. The opera (and the film) versions seem so far removed from the original as to not make any sense at all. They turn Pushkin’s irony and social criticism into a rather banal and confusing love story. Very similar to what happened to Goethe’s Sorrows of Young Werther and Faust.

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~ by severalfourmany on June 29, 2005.

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