Most recent performance
There are currently no scheduled performances of Eugene Onegin. It was last on stage 19 December 2015—7 January 2016 as part of the Winter 2015/16 season.
When Tatyana is introduced to the dashing, unconventional Onegin, she believes that he is the hero of her dreams. He coldly rejects her. Bored, he flirts with her sister Olga, outraging Lensky, Olga’s fiancé and Onegin’s only friend.
Lensky challenges Onegin to a duel, at which he loses his life. Onegin travels the world in an attempt to escape his guilt. Eventually he returns to Russia and finds Tatyana has become the elegant wife of Prince Gremin. He is overcome, and begs her to return his love. Though she still loves him, Tatyana refuses to break her vow to her husband.
Pyotr Il’yich Tchaikovsky’s best-loved opera, Eugene Onegin, is based on Alexander Pushkin’s verse novel of the same name. It provided Tchaikovsky with an opportunity to present everyday and authentic experiences on the stage, in contrast to the epic narratives that characterized much European opera of the time. After initial consternation that Tchaikovsky should set to music this pinnacle of Russian literature, Eugene Onegin quickly became a firm favourite with Russian audiences. Within a decade of its 1879 premiere it had been performed over one hundred times in St Petersburg.
Tchaikovsky’s deep sympathy for his heroine Tatyana is shown in the tenderness of her music. Her yearning string motif opens the opera and it gains full expression in her letter aria in Act I – one of the most intense solo scenes ever written for the soprano voice. In Kasper Holten’s production, the turbulence of Tatyana and Onegin’s youth is contrasted with the self-realization they gain in later life. The staging foregrounds the power of memory and the futile desire to rewrite the past.
News and features
2 November 2016
Russia’s second city has inspired numerous great ballets, operas, plays and works of literature.
7 January 2016
The singers replace Brindley Sherratt in the roles of Prince Gremin and Zaretski.
29 December 2015
What did you think of Kasper Holten's production of Tchaikovsky's operatic masterpiece?
19 December 2015
In his operatic masterpiece, Tchaikovsky shows a real affinity for his characters, with musical intricacies revealing the depth of his characterization.
14 December 2015
Opera is one of many art forms that loves to dwell on what might have been.
11 December 2015
Look closer at this masterpiece and you'll see an entirely new kind of opera, one which rails against the societal conventions its composer loathed.
Eugene Onegin (Russian: Евгений Онегин, Yevgény Onégin), Op. 24, is an opera ("lyrical scenes" ) in 3 acts (7 scenes), composed by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. The libretto, organised by the composer and Konstantin Shilovsky, very closely follows certain passages in Alexander Pushkin's novel in verse, retaining much of his poetry. Shilovsky contributed M. Triquet's verses in Act 2, Scene 1, while Tchaikovsky himself arranged the text for Lensky's arioso in Act 1, Scene 1, and almost all of Prince Gremin's aria in Act 3, Scene 1. Eugene Onegin is a well-known example of lyric opera, to which Tchaikovsky added music of a dramatic nature. The story concerns a selfish hero who lives to regret his blasé rejection of a young woman's love and his careless incitement of a fatal duel with his best friend. The opera was first performed in Moscow in 1879. There are several recordings of it, and it is regularly performed. The work's title refers to the protagonist.