When I say that Ramón Vargas is the ideal Lenski, I mean no slight to his great predecessors, many of whom (Sobinov, Kozlovsky, etc.) had the irreplacable advantage of being native speakers. Nor would I call him flawless, nor most resplendent: there have been more tonally delicious performances of the part in this very production (not too many, mind you). No, no, never mind all that. Vargas is more completely and vividly Lenski than anyone at the Met has been any character this season -- including the heavyweights onstage tonight -- and he is a Lenski of rare character. For once, I believe Lenski is a poet, even a good one: there is no indulgence or affectation in him, and every note, phrase and gesture is transparent in showing a real sensibility, retiring by habit until unselfconsciously called forth by love or honor. His sound in the part is as clear as this phrasing and characterization, if not as uniquely remarkable. It's revelatory.
More on last night's Onegin later.