Tatiana, Tatiana, don't do it, don't send your love letter to Onegin's vanity, the irresistible bad boy, the irreverent snob who won't agree to be with a country girl from the distant steppe. Russian soprano Svetlana Aksenova lends her brilliant, ebullient singing – with a hint of Russian restraint – to the role of the young woman in love who writes the fatal missive for which she will be scorned by the gallant, well-built Norwegian baritone Audun Iversen, with a robust voice and of noble lineage.
In that moment of romantic brilliance of Tchaikovsky's score, passionately defended by the Liceu Symphony and maestro Josep Pons, the opera based on Alexander Pushkin's novel kept the guests at the official opening of season: 2,294 spectators, who stepped, elegantly, on the red carpet spread out on the porch of the Liceu.
With this great novel, the Gran Teatre amply justified its motto this year, "irreversible cracks" in the soul, because Onegin's was an irreparable evil: to despise Tatiana or to fall in love with Olga, the sister of this and the wife of his friend Lenski, - an extraordinary Alexey Neklyudov, the most applauded in the seven minutes of final applause -, with whom he ends up fighting a duel. When he understands the greatness of love it is already too late for Onegin.
Also Christof Loy's stage direction, with his commitment to minimums - "because less is more" - and his deep search for the most human - "no character should be judged prematurely" - and that feeling of suffocation caused by using only the front of the stage, marked the public, who in his absence eventually won his team.
"No one is a saint here, we are all weak and do horrible things", he assured La Vanguardia during his short two-day stay at the Liceu. “It's much better to open my mind as a director and not let people confirm their judgments about the characters. Theater and opera make us better people."
The night was already guaranteed to be unforgettable from the very beginning. Yesterday Jaume Collboni set foot in the Liceu for the first time as mayor, received by the president of the institution, Salvador Alemany. " Onegin is - commented the batlle - one of the operas I like the most. And the level with which the opening of the season is celebrated makes clear the importance of the opera in our city and that of the Liceu for Barcelona and Catalonia", he added, assuring that he plans to come more times, "as mayor and without the uniform of mayor".
In the absence of Pere Aragonès, he was, with the President of Parliament, Anna Erra, and the Government delegate, Carlos Prieto, the highest authority in the room. In the box they were joined by Natàlia Garriga, the Minister of Culture, another militant of this house, or the director of Inaem, Joan Francesc Marco, this time without the Minister Iceta. Presidents Mas and Montilla also returned to the key position.
From the business world there were, among others, the president of Seat, Wayne Griffits, the vice-president of Barça, Elena Fort, the councilor of Damm, Ramon Ajenjo, and Carlos Godó, CEO of the Godó Group, and Ana Godó, editorial director of the Godó Group . And it was in the social and cultural sphere that the VIPs made the red carpet vibrate. In view of the sea of passers-by on the Rambla, acclaimed filmmakers such as Albert Serra and J. A. Bayona paraded down the porch of the Liceu - "I listen to a lot of instrumental music for films, and I often end up listening to opera", he confessed- , up to veteran and novice actors and actresses... from Nora Navas, Joan Pera, Pere Arquillué or Joan Gràcia (Tricycle) to Pep Ambrós, David Solans and the very fashionable model Clara Mas. There was also a good musical performance, with Jordi Savall, who on the 6th directs El somni d'una nit d'estiu here, and the director of the OBC, Ludovic Morlot, plus the moderns Rigoberta Bandini and the sister of Bad Gyal , Mushka Farelo.
The poet Marta Pessarrodona, Pilarín Bayés, Eudardo Mendoza or Najat el Hachmi, the lucid herald of the Mercè festivities, raised the hearts of high school students, as did Jaume Plensa. Oh, and the Cuban Rachel Valdez, the artist who seems to have "broken" Alejandro Sanz's heart.
During the intermission, people stumbled upon an installation by Lolo in the Hall of Mirrors
Do they feel strange at the Liceu?
"Absolutely not. Let's talk about the temporality of sound, how it can unite different moments in time... in other words, this Tchaikovsky opera could not make more sense", said the Argentinian Lolo with his Japanese colleague.
After this generous break during which cava and coke flowed through the Liceu, the audience prepared for the third and last act of that tremendous story of Pushkin, the Russian Lord Byron who, by the way, died in 1837 by challenging a French lieutenant who pestered his wife to a duel... something he already foreshadowed with his character of Lenski, when he dies at the hands of Onegin, a moment of immense emotional intensity.
In this more psychological one, the choreographic movements of the characters, in charge of Andreas Heise, underlined the anguish of the characters that Loy's direction embroiders. The public couldn't thank him, since he didn't come out to say hello. These dates he had another commitment and he was passing through the Gran Teatre alone.
"Sometimes, the artistic directors of the theaters are not in a hurry to block the dates of rehearsals and premieres of my productions, and that is a problem", assured the German stage director, particularly happy that the Liceu has largely respected the cast of this co-production which premiered at the Oslo Opera House in 2020.