On 'Eugene Onegin'...
So what’s been playing on my CD player recently?
Huw Williams | 17:45, Tuesday 07 February 2012 | Turin, Italy
Well, for most of the last couple of months, it’s been Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin. I have thoroughly enjoyed going back to this opera recently, having not really listened to it for a couple of years. The original novel on which it is based, was written by Alexander Pushkin.
I’ve always felt that music is more bound up with the environment it was composed in than many of us think, so maybe it’s the snow and sub-zero temperatures we are having at the moment which cause the music to strike more “aaah!” moments than usual (not that we can really consider ourselves going through a Russian Winter here in Torino.) Whatever the reason, I find I’m coming back to it with new eyes and ears.
And as I have been living and reliving this classic tale of young love and infatuation, of mature love and morality, of aging and death, of honour and shame, of the emptiness of wealth (the list could go on) I have been struck by how many of these themes are taken up and discussed in the Bible. Both the Bible and Pushkin ask many of the same questions, but of course they don’t always draw the same answers. But it fascinates me that when we consider how many of these themes would be considered ‘universal’ by many, and for every generation through time, how quick many can be to dismiss the Bible as irrelevant.