Eugene Onegin

lyric scenes in three acts

music by Pyotr Tchaikovsky

3 hours 25 minutes
1 act
1 h 10 min
interval 30 min
2 act
50 min
interval 30 min
3 act
25 min
for viewers over 16 years old
performed in Russian

Eugene Onegin, a story about the Russian soul for the attentive listener, is the calling card of Russian opera around the world. At the Mikhailovsky Theatre, avant-garde director Andriy Zholdak presented a radical reading of the opera which audiences found shocking, and stunningly insightful. The play provoked a highly emotional reaction and has continued to be the subject of heated debate throughout its theatric history. Tchaikovskys psychological theatre has been transformed into a different system of expression, one of figurative metaphors, wrote theatre critics, struck by the unconventional production. The performances figurative system intensifies feeling, reveals what is hidden and turns emotion into passion. In turn, the director compares the score of Onegin with a forest after the rain, when drops of water remain on the foliage of the trees: Every measure of Tchaikovskys music is saturated with this moisture, eroticism, and tenderness. The monochrome aesthetic proves to be an effective artistic touch, with the white color gradually yielding its position to the black, turning into complete darkness in the finale. The scenery, full of icy symbolism, announces the inevitable doom hanging over the heroes.


The performance is awarded with the National Theatre Award Golden Mask in three categories: Best Opera Production, Best Opera Director (Andriy Zholdak), Best Light Designer in Musical Theatre (AJ Weissbard).

Act I

Scene 1
The Larins house.
A neighbour of the Larins, Lensky, Olgas suitor, suddenly brings a new guest, his friend Onegin  a young man, who has recently arrived from the capital. The arrival of the new visitor perturbs the Larins life. The new guest is welcomed with interest. Onegin discredits Lenskys choice of fiancée. Tatiana is deeply moved by her meeting with Onegin.

Scene 2
At night.
Seeing Tatianas confusion, her nurse tries to distract and comfort her. When she is alone, Tatiana writes a letter to Onegin. She thinks him to be her only one. At dawn, Tatiana asks her nurse to deliver the letter to Onegin.

Scene 3
In the daytime.
Tatiana anxiously awaits a response to her confession. Onegin arrives. He is moved by Tatianas sincerity, but cannot return her affection.

Act II

Scene 4
Tatianas name day.
Lensky has persuaded his friend to come to the Larins, but everything there irritates Onegin. He decides to hurt Lensky and starts courting Olga ostentatiously. Olgas readiness to accept Onegins courtship makes Lensky desperate. He quarrels with Onegin and challenges him to a duel.

Scene 5
In the morning.
Lensky is waiting for Onegin. He is thinking about life with anguish and pain. Onegin, who is late, does not want to bring the conflict to end. Former friends doubt their decision, but it is too late and their escape routes are cut off. Lensky is shot dead.


Scene 6
Years have passed.
After a long absence, Onegin returns to city life and meets Tatiana. She is married and is the centre of attention. Onegin is shocked by her changed attitude towards him. Tatianas dramatic change and her inaccessibility arouse strong passion in him.

Scene 7
Onegin has secured a meeting with Tatiana. His speech is full of remorse. He demands her affection and makes her admit her love. But she has decided to change her life. Onegin is left in despair.

Première of the production: 26 October 2012

Libretto by Pyotr Tchaikovsky and Konstantin Shilovsky after the novel in verse by Alexander Pushkin

Stage Director: Andriy Zholdak
Musical Director of the production:Mikhail Tatarnikov
Set Designers: Monika Pormale, Andriy Zholdak
Costumes: MAREUNROLS (Rolands Peterkops and Marite Mastina-Peterkopa)
Light: AJ Weissbard
Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the Chorus: Vladimir Stolpovskikh
Principal Pianist: Alexander Pakuev
Music Dramaturgy Consultant: Dmitry Renansky
Assistant to Stage Director: Yulia Prokhorova
Assistant to Set Designers: Elena Zykova
Assistant to Costume Designers: Alla Marusina
Assistant to Lighting Designer: Pamela Cantatore
Chorus Masters: Alexey Dmitriev, Sergey Tsyplenkov
Production Team Coordinator: Kathya Zholdak
Stage Manager: Olga Kokh

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