Eugene Onegin, Op. 24, TH 5: “Kuda, kuda, kuda vi udalilis”

Today is the first time in a while that I’ve featured an operatic piece on a “Classical Sunday”; I thought it was about time!

I noticed an aria in my YouTube feed, “Kuda, kuda, kuda vi udalilis” (“Where, where, where did you go?”) from the opera Eugene Onegin, Op. 24 by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893).

Tchaikovsky completed the composition in 1878, and it premiered in 1879. It was first played in Hamburg, Germany, in 1892 under the direction of the Austro-Bohemian composer and conductor Gustav Mahler (1860-1911). Tchaikovsky was present for the premiere and received applause after every scene (which I was surprised to read is proper protocol in opera, in contrast to it being frowned upon between orchestral movements), and in several curtain calls at the end.

In the opera, the title character is a selfish fellow whose carless acts of rejecting a lover and challenging his best friend to a fatal duel bring him much regret. I don’t know much about opera at all, but the plot sounds like the high drama that would suit such a genre. The music is very dramatic though it has elements of hopefulness in it, too.

Now you know a little about why this is my Song of the Day for Today. Thanks for joining me here, and please enjoy.

Here’s a video of the aria performed in November 2019 by French tenor Benjamin Bernheim, with the Orchestre National Bordeaux Aquitaine of Bordeaux, France, conducted by Oleksandr Yankevych, from the official Deutsche Grammophon YouTube channel:

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