EUGENE ONEGINby Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
FEBRUARY 26 – MARCH 20
Performed in Russian with projected English translations
Performance running time: 3 hours 10 minutes including 1 intermission
Eugene Onegin Opera Overview
Intensely passionate drama set to some of opera’s most sweeping, soulful, and heartstoppingly beautiful music — that is Eugene Onegin. Tatiana is a lovesick country girl, and Onegin is the sophisticated young man who callously spurns her love before realizing, too late, what a mistake he’s made. Here is Pushkin’s profoundly human, hopelessly romantic, ultimately devastating story, elevated by Tchaikovsky’s richly layered and unabashedly expressive music. Find out why Eugene Onegin is beloved by opera audiences the world over.
Production owned by Canadian Opera Company. Originally created for the Metropolitan Opera.
MARGOT AND JOSEF
LAKONISHOK HENRY M. AND GILDA R.
BUCHBINDER MARION A. CAMERON
LAKONISHOK HENRY M. AND GILDA R.
BUCHBINDER MARION A. CAMERON
Photo: Robert Kusel
Eugene Onegin Opera Resources
SynopsisAn impressionable country girl, Tatiana, falls in love at first sight with her new neighbor, the debonair and bored Onegin. She writes him a letter explaining her feelings, which he rejects politely but firmly. At a party he flirts with Tatiana’s sister Olga, whose fiancé is the poet Lensky, Onegin’s good friend. Onegin is challenged by the jealous Lensky to a duel, in which Lensky is killed. After several years of traveling abroad, Onegin returns to St. Petersburg and sees Tatiana at a ball. She is now the wife of the much older Prince Gremin. Onegin realizes he loves Tatiana and writes her a passionate letter. When she receives him at her home, she admits that she still loves him. Rather than running away with him, however, she chooses to remain with her husband, leaving Onegin in despair.
Recording by Deutsche Grammophon - Allen, Freni, von Otter, Shicoff, cond. James Levine. Courtesy Universal Music.
Two of opera’s biggest blockbusters opened at Lyric in February! With unforgettable tunes and dazzling choreography, Bizet’s Carmen is one of this winter’s hottest tickets. Eugene Onegin will capture your heart with an all-star cast and glorious music. Don’t take our word for it—here is a sampling of critical acclaim from around the city.
Music for Eugene Onegin furnished through an arrangement with Universal Music.
Eugene Onegin Synopsis
The widowed Madame Larina and her servant Filipyevna listen as the Larin daughters, Olga and Tatiana, sing. The peasants come from the fields celebrating the completion of the harvest with songs and dances. Olga teases Tatiana for avoiding the festivities; pensive Tatiana prefers her romance novels. When the peasants leave, Olga’s suitor, the poet Vladimir Lensky, arrives with his worldly friend Eugene Onegin. Lensky pours out his love for Olga. Onegin strolls with Tatiana and asks how she doesn’t get bored with country life. Unnerved by the handsome stranger, Tatiana answers with difficulty. The two couples go inside for dinner as night falls.
In her bedroom, Tatiana persuades the reluctant Filipyevna to tell her of her first love and marriage. Tatiana admits she is in love and asks to be left alone. She sits up the entire night writing a passionate letter to Onegin. When day breaks, she gives the letter to Filipyevna for her grandson to deliver.
A group of women sing as they work in the Larins’ garden. They leave, and Tatiana appears, nervous, followed by Onegin, who asks that she hear him out patiently. He admits that the letter was touching, but adds that he would quickly grow bored with marriage and can only offer her friendship. He coldly advises more emotional control in the future, lest another man take advantage of her innocence.
Some months later, a party is underway in the Larins’ house for Tatiana’s name day. Young couples dance while older guests comment and gossip. Onegin dances with Tatiana but he is bored by these country people and their provincial ways. Annoyed with Lensky for having dragged him there, Onegin dances with Olga, who is momentarily distracted by the charming man. Monsieur Triquet, the elderly French tutor, serenades Tatiana with a song he has written in her honor. When the dancing resumes, Lensky jealously confronts Onegin. Madame Larina begs the men not to quarrel in her house, but Lensky cannot be placated and Onegin accepts his challenge to a duel.
Lensky waits for Onegin at the appointed spot at dawn. Lensky reflects on the folly of his brief life and imagines Olga visiting his grave. Onegin finally arrives. He and Lensky admit to themselves that the duel is pointless and they would prefer to laugh together than to fight, but honor must be satisfied. The duel is marked off and Onegin shoots Lensky dead.
Several years later, a magnificent ball is being given in the Gremin Palace in St. Petersburg. Onegin appears, reflecting bitterly on the fact that he has traveled the world seeking excitement and some meaning in life, and all his efforts have led him to yet another dull social event. Suddenly, he recognizes Tatiana across the ballroom. She is no longer a naïve country girl but is sumptuously gowned and bearing herself with great dignity. Questioning his cousin, Prince Gremin, Onegin learns that Tatiana is now Gremin’s wife. The older man explains that he married Tatiana two years previously and describes her as his life’s salvation. When Gremin introduces Onegin, Tatiana maintains her composure but excuses herself after a few words of polite conversation. Onegin is surprised to realize he himself is in love with Tatiana.
Tatiana is distressed the next day after she receives an impassioned letter from Onegin. He rushes in and falls at her feet, but she maintains her control. Does he desire her only for her wealth and position? She recalls the days when they might have been happy, but that time has passed. Onegin repeats his love for her. Faltering for a moment, she admits that she still loves him, but she will not allow him to ruin her. She leaves him regretting his bitter destiny.
Reprinted by permission of the Metropolitan Opera.