If you were in New York on July 7, 1975 chances are you were at the Met reveling in the visiting Bolshoi Opera’s Eugene Onegin. On the 41st anniversary of that performance, “Trove Thursday” shares a document starring Tamara Milashkina, Yuri Mazurok and Vladimir Atlantov.
Russian-born impresario Sol Hurok labored to bring the Bolshoi Opera to the United States for years but he died a year before his organization Hurok Artists announced the group’s month-long visit to the Met in 1975. Six operas were presented: Boris Godunov opened the season which also included The Gambler, War and Peace, Pikovaya Dama and Molchanov’s Quiet Flows the Don, in addition to Onegin.
My recollection was there was a lot of enthusiasm about the Bolshoi’s biggest stars, most appearing in the U.S. for the first time. But other than Elena Obraztsova, no one had a significant Met career—Atlantov and Mazurok each sang fewer than 20 performances there and Milashkina and Yevgeni Nesterenko, the star bass, never performed with the company at all. In fact, I don’t believe Milashkina, Atlantov’s wife who was thought by some to be the poor man’s Galina Vishnevskaya (I like her quite a bit), ever sang with any American opera company.
Like the Pikovaya Dama with Vishnevskaya, Irina Arkhipova and Mazurok from the Bolshoi’s visit to Expo ’67 that “Trove Thursday” posted here last fall, this Onegin, while perhaps not to everyone’s taste, gives an excellent idea of the heyday of the Soviet Bolshoi, with Atlantov’s refulgent Lenski being particularly atypical—and thrilling.
Tchaikovsky: Eugene Onegin
Bolshoi Opera at the Met
7 July 1975
Tamara Milashkina — Tatyana
Tamara Sinyavskaya — Olga
Tatiana Tugarinova — Mme Larina
Larisa Avdeyeva — Filippyevna
Yuri Mazurok — Onegin
Vladimir Atlantov — Lenski
Alexander Ognivtsev — Prince Gremin
Vitali Vlasov — M. Triquet
Vladimir Filippov — Zaretsky
Georgi Pankov — A Captain
Fuat Mansurov — Conductor
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