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Eugen Onegin

Peter I. Tschaikowski 1840-1893

Lyric scenes in three acts
Libretto by the composer and Konstantin S. Shilowsky based on Alexander Pushkin's novel (1830)
First performed March 29th 1879, Maly Theatre, Moscow

Sung in Russian with German surtitles, c. 2 hrs 50 mins - including one interval

It is being recorded by the Hessische Rundfunk in collaboration with Deutschlandradio Kultur. The Hessische Rundfunk broadcast (on hr2-kultur) begins at 8.05pm on November 26th. The Deutschlandradio broadcast at 7.05pm on January 14th 2017.

Larina Barbara Zechmeister
Tatiana Sara Jakubiak
Olga Judita Nagyová / Maria Pantiukhova
Filipjewna Elena Zilio
Eugen Onegin Daniel Schmutzhard / Gordon Bintner
Lenski Mario Chang
Gremin Robert Pomakov
A Captain Daniel Miroslaw
Saretzki Dietrich Volle / Barnaby Rea
Triquet Peter Marsh / Michael McCown

Pushkin introduces his heroine Tatjana with the words: »With what lively enchantment she reads the seductive story«. Romantic novels can become dangerous when the boundaries between the imagination and reality break down. Fairy tale princes can turn out to be disappointing. Eugen, with his »prematurely old soul«, embodies the archetype of the melancholic, sometimes cynical »superfluous man« so often featured in Russian literature. He is, really, an antihero.

Tchaikovsky began writing his opera - Lyrical scenes in three acts – in 1877, and it was performed for the first time, entirely by students and conducted by Nikolai Rubinstein, at the Maly Theater at the Academy in Moscow in 1879. It's future did not seem very promising. His new world of expressive music in seven contrasting scenes seemed strange. »I think I am capable of expressing every emotion, mood and character in the text, faithfully, profoundly and simply, through music. This makes me a realist and a true Russian.« announced the composer and, in contrast to theatrical fashions of the times: »I couldn't care less about special effects.« The theme of failure dealt with in Pushkin's novel, written between 1825 and 1833, can be traced through all three acts of the opera. »I am looking for an intimate but strong drama which touches on conflicts that I have experienced myself, or have seen, and which moves me deeply.« So came into being a completely new dramaturgical construction of classic Russian realism: the effusive poet, cynical intellectual, the reserved and the bursting with a love of life sisters, codes of honour, the duel at dawn and the title figure's sham existence.

Act I. Scene 1. The landowner Larina and her two daughters Tatiana and Olga welcome Lenski, a poet and neighbour, who has brought his friend Onegin with him. Lenski confesses his passionate love for Olga. Tatiana is fascinated by Onegin. He seems like the answer to her dreams and falls in love with the stranger. Scene 2. Night. Tatiana writes a letter to Onegin, proclaiming her love for him. Scene 3. Onegin coldy explains to Tatiana that he is not able, and does not want, to reciprocate her feelings or share her hopes: he is not cut out for marriage. Act II. Scene 1. Larina is throwing a party to celebrate Tatiana's name-day. Onegin is bored and wants to take his revenge on Lenski for accepting the invitation: he flirts with Olga. Lenski challenges Onegin to a duel. Scene 2. Lenski is shot dead by Onegin. Act III. Scene 1. After years spent travelling abroad Onegin meets Tatiana again, at a ball in St. Petersburg. She is married to Prince Gremin. Onegin falls in love with Tatiana. Scene 2. Onegin confesses to Tatiana that he loves her and regrets having rejected her. It is too late: Tatiana intends to respect her marriage vows and will never see him again.

20th November 2016
6:00 pm
Opera House
Ticket Prices


Sebastian Weigle
Dorothea Kirschbaum, Jim Lucassen
Jim Lucassen
Set Designer
Katja Haß
Costume Designer
Wojciech Dziedzic
Lighting Designer
Joachim Klein
Chorus Master
Tilman Michael
Olaf Reinecke
Norbert Abels
Barbara Zechmeister
Sara Jakubiak
Judita Nagyová, Maria Pantiukhova
Elena Zilio
Eugen Onegin
Gordon Bintner, Daniel Schmutzhard
Mario Chang
Robert Pomakov
Dietrich Volle, Barnaby Rea
A Captain
Daniel Mirosław
Peter Marsh, Michael McCown

Oper Frankfurt's Chorus
Frankfurter Opern- und Museumsorchester