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.
- Eugene Onegin – Dmitri Hvorostovsky
- Tatyana – Nicole Car
- Lensky – Michael Fabiano
- Olga – Oksana Volkova
- Prince Gremin – Ferruccio Furlanetto (except 7 Jan) / Brindley Sheratt (7 Jan)
- Madame Larina – Diana Montague
- Filipyevna – Catherine Wyn-Rogers
- Monsieur Triquet – Jean-Paul Fouchécourt
- Captain – David Shipley §
- Zaretsky – James Platt §
- Royal Opera Chorus, Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
§ Jette Parker Young Artist
19 December at 7pm
22 | 30 December at 7.30pm
2 January at 7pm
4 | 7 January at 7.30pm