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Subject: "Tatiana's age in Onegin" Archived thread - Read only
 
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Conferences What's Happening Topic #2364
Reading Topic #2364
lara

19-12-01, 05:58 PM (GMT)
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"Tatiana's age in Onegin"
 
   When I have read all the reviews of Onegin I am struck by one inconsistency Tatiana's age. Several reveiwers say that she starts off as a teen - bookish and alone - I am thinking maybe late teen a nineteen-year-old, as she has a younger sister old enough to be engaged or seriously invovled.

In the film, Ralph Fiennes as Onegin comes back after 6 years away in the ballet I have read he is gone 10 years. Ok, now this makes Tatiana a whopping 29 years old at most- and not the middle-aged woman everyone is saying she is. If Cranko imagined her as the fortyish Fonteyn (as suggested in the latest article about the ballet) then there is some serious mathmatical miscalculations going on here!


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  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
  RE: Tatiana's age in Onegin Jane S 19-12-01 1
     RE: Tatiana's age in Onegin AEHandley 19-12-01 2
         RE: Tatiana's age in Onegin Steven 19-12-01 3
             RE: Tatiana's age in Onegin lara 19-12-01 4
                 RE: Tatiana's age in Onegin Paul A 20-12-01 5
                     RE: Tatiana's age in Onegin Helen 20-12-01 7
                         RE: Tatiana's age in Onegin AEHandley 20-12-01 13
                     RE: Tatiana's age in Onegin alison 20-12-01 8
                         RE: Tatiana's age in Onegin Paul A 20-12-01 9
                             RE: Tatiana's age in Onegin Helen 20-12-01 11
                             RE: Tatiana's age in Onegin Helen 20-12-01 12
                             RE: Tatiana's age in Onegin AEHandley 20-12-01 14
                             RE: Tatiana's age in Onegin alison 21-12-01 15
                             Translating Onegin alison 21-12-01 16
                 RE: Tatiana's age in Onegin Steven 20-12-01 6
                     RE: Tatiana's age in Onegin Robert 20-12-01 10

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Jane S

19-12-01, 06:20 PM (GMT)
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1. "RE: Tatiana's age in Onegin"
In response to message #0
 
   LAST EDITED ON 19-12-01 AT 06:22 PM (GMT)

I think it would be more that Cranko saw Fonteyn as Tatiana than Tatiana as Fonteyn... but it's intriguing that John Percival, Cranko's biographer, said in his review of the opening performance of this run something like 'fortunately the ideal couple Cranko had planned for the leads were able to watch this revival' - and presumably he meant bodily rather than looking down from above?

(In the poem, incidentally, Gremin tells Onegin that he and Tatiana have only been married for 2 years so presumably she's still only about 22! 28 in the ballet, I'd say.)


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AEHandley

19-12-01, 08:59 PM (GMT)
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2. "RE: Tatiana's age in Onegin"
In response to message #1
 
   So, who do you think they were? (the ideal leads, that is!)


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Steven

19-12-01, 09:47 PM (GMT)
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3. "RE: Tatiana's age in Onegin"
In response to message #2
 
   28 may be considered a young age now, but in Pushkin's time it very nearly was middle age - particularly for a woman, whose whole future would be pretty much settled by that point.


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lara

19-12-01, 11:54 PM (GMT)
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4. "RE: Tatiana's age in Onegin"
In response to message #3
 
   >28 may be considered a young
>age now, but in Pushkin's
>time it very nearly was
>middle age - particularly for
>a woman, whose whole future
>would be pretty much settled
>by that point.

True and a good point. I keep thinking middle-age starts, oh, somewhere around 45 or so.



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Paul A

20-12-01, 08:49 AM (GMT)
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5. "RE: Tatiana's age in Onegin"
In response to message #4
 
   Lara, no help to you but I keep remembering a very old, very bad translation of the poem we used as a crib sheet when we studied the Russian original at school:

"I'm just a simple man of action
But I love Tatiana to distraction"


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Helen

20-12-01, 10:54 AM (GMT)
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7. "RE: Tatiana's age in Onegin"
In response to message #5
 
   "I'm just a simple man of
>action
>But I love Tatiana to distraction"
>
I wish you hadn't told us that, Paul. I shan't be able to get it out of my head now. Still, at least I didn't know it when I saw the ballet.

I have the same problem with Schubert's 8th Symphony - "This is the Symphony - that Schubert ne-ev-er-er finished." Try singing it.


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AEHandley

20-12-01, 03:21 PM (GMT)
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13. "RE: Tatiana's age in Onegin"
In response to message #7
 
   Hee hee! I have a worse problem than that with the unfinished - I remember Johnny Morris (reading his autobiog, "A bar for nothing", on R4) complaining that his dad (a cellist) was forever getting this piece into their local amateur orchestra concerts. It was all right for him, he got the big tune. What was Johnny doing, in the second fiddles? Going
"sniff daaah daaah dah sniff daaah daaah dah" for half a page at a time.

Sorry non orchestral musicians...


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alison

20-12-01, 01:28 PM (GMT)
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8. "RE: Tatiana's age in Onegin"
In response to message #5
 
   In defence of translators everywhere, Paul, I'd like to point out that the translation might actually be an accurate reflection of the Russian text, but unfortunately I don't know as I can't read Russian . Certainly I thought that the translation I read was awfully doggerel-like in places, and wondered if Pushkin really wrote like that, but perhaps he did!


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Paul A

20-12-01, 01:47 PM (GMT)
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9. "RE: Tatiana's age in Onegin"
In response to message #8
 
   Not an attack on translators - but a reflection that Pushkin's verse is dificult to translate - a noun and its dependent verb can be separated can be separated by many lines. Then there is the problem of maintaining the rhyming pattern. So not easy but this version fails more than most - I can't remember the first line of another bad pairing, but it rhymes with "into the ballroom he shot".

The Charles Johnston translation, originally published in the late 70s is generally considered the best. I think(?) this may now be the Penguin edition. He did say at the time it was a tough job to not make it sound like doggerel and still be faithful to the structure of the original.


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Helen

20-12-01, 02:25 PM (GMT)
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11. "RE: Tatiana's age in Onegin"
In response to message #9
 
   LAST EDITED ON 20-12-01 AT 02:26 PM (GMT)

Yes, the Penguin one is by Charles Johnston, but I have to say a lot of it does sound like doggerel. I think that poetry is absolutely untranslatable, since so much of the point of it is the sound as opposed to the sense. I once saw a French translation of Shakespeare (Macbeth) where "Is this a dagger that I see before me?" was translated as "Mon Dieu! Qu'est-ce que c'est?" (Sorry, no accents.) Here's a good bit from the Penguin Onegin:

Diana's breast, the cheeks of Flora,
all these are charming! but to put
it frankly, I'm a firm adorer
Of the Terpsichorean foot.

When I read it, I just assumed - and still do - that Pushkin is better.

And before anyone says so, I know I'm straying from the point of this thread!


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Helen

20-12-01, 02:59 PM (GMT)
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12. "RE: Tatiana's age in Onegin"
In response to message #11
 
   Pedantic afterthought - the bit of French in my last post doesn't need accents, so I don't know why I am apologising for not having them.


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AEHandley

20-12-01, 03:24 PM (GMT)
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14. "RE: Tatiana's age in Onegin"
In response to message #11
 
   Helen, how TYPICALLY French! I can just imagine it! French is, sadly, rather a meagre language compared with English - Robin and I spent a lot of one holiday giggling that every tour guide for every attraction/natural wonder/ancient monument had just one phrase to indicate approval:

"C'est jolie, huh?"


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alison

21-12-01, 01:09 PM (GMT)
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15. "RE: Tatiana's age in Onegin"
In response to message #11
 
   I've always wondered how on earth you'd translate Shakespeare into French - I think the problem's that their intonation patterns are the reverse of ours, which makes life very difficult. (German's okay - I've seen some good bits (Schlegel, I think - my mum once told me it was Schiller, but I think she was mistaken)).


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alison

21-12-01, 01:16 PM (GMT)
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16. "Translating Onegin"
In response to message #9
 
   That would explain it - the same problems as with German's terminal verbs, presumably. I think you're right about the Penguin edition; the name rings a bell. I have every respect for anyone who tackles "sacred" literary (and particularly poetic) texts in full knowledge of the problems, and for those who make an excellent job of it my admiration knows no bounds! And on that point, a quick doff of the cap to Anthea Bell, whose translation of the late WG Sebald's "The Emigrants", which I read earlier this year, was so good that I seriously believed that the author had written the book in English in the first place. (She also does the Asterix books - great fun!).


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Steven

20-12-01, 09:38 AM (GMT)
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6. "RE: Tatiana's age in Onegin"
In response to message #4
 
   I'd put it at around 45 too, but that's probably because I'm 40. I guess it's always at least 5 or 10 years away from one's age at the present time!


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Robert

20-12-01, 02:12 PM (GMT)
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10. "RE: Tatiana's age in Onegin"
In response to message #6
 
   I thought her sister was supposed to be older.
I thought Galleazzi(?) and Tewsley were absolutely superb. Galleazzi seems to be just the right age at the end when it really matters, and Tewsley came over as a real handsome vain rotter, I felt like booing at the final curtain.Excellent acting and dancing.


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