Eugene Onegin

At a glance

  • Composer: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (Op. 24)
  • Librettists: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Konstantin Shilovsky
    • Based on the novel in verse Yevgeny Onegin by Aleksandr Pushkin
  • Genre: Melodrama
  • Language: Russian
  • Premiered: 23 January, 1881

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Synopsis

At Madame Larina’s country house, Onegin and Lensky arrive, the latter to join his betrothed, Olga, leaving Onegin to talk to Tatyana, who falls in love, as her old nurse Filipyevna realises. In her bedroom she writes a letter to Onegin, which Filipyevna is to deliver. In the garden she meets him and he discourages her, urging patient restraint and telling her he has no mind to marry. At a ball in the house to celebrate Tatyana’s birthday, Onegin chooses to dance with Olga, to Lensky’s increasing anger, leading to his demand for satisfaction. The next morning the two men fight a duel and Lensky is killed. The third act takes place some years later at a more fashionable ball in St Petersburg. Onegin is there, having returned from self-imposed exile, and the ball is also attended by his kinsman Prince Gremin and his wife, Tatyana, her presence arousing Onegin’s love. He writes her a letter, declaring his passion, but she reminds him of his former advice to her and, whatever her real feelings, now rejects him.

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Highlights

“Kuda, kuda vï udalilis”

English: “Where have you gone, o golden days of my spring?” (Lensky’s aria)

(also available with Enrico Caruso singing in French)

“Kogda bï zhizn domashnim krugom”

English: “You wrote to me” (Onegin’s aria)

Resources

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