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Eugene Onegin

Peter I. Tschaikowski 1840 - 1893

Lyric Scenes in three acts
Libretto by the composer & Konstantin Shilowsky after Pushkin's novel (1830)
First performed May 29 1879, Maly Theater, Moscow
(premere of this production: November 20 1016)

Sung in Russian with German surtitles
ca. 2 hours 45 minutes, including 1 interval
an introductory talk, in German, in the upstairs foyer begins 30 minutes before every performance

Conductor Sebastian Weigle / Nikolai Petersen
Larina Barbara Zechmeister
Tatiana, Larina's daughter Maria Bochmanova
Olga, Larina's daughter Maria Pantiukhova / Judita Nagyová
Filipjewna Elena Zilio
Eugen Onegin Daniel Schmutzhard / Iurii Samoilov
Lenski Alan Clayton
Gremin Nikolai Didenko
Saretzki Dietrich Volle
A Captain Thesele Kemane*
Triquet Michael McCown

*Member of the Opera Studio

Larina and her 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 she falls in love with the stranger. Night Tatiana writes a letter to Onegin, proclaiming her love for him. 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 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. Lenski is shot dead by Onegin. Act III After years travelling abroad Onegin meets Tatiana again, at a ball in St. Petersburg. She is married to Prince Gremin. 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.

»I found myself in dilemma, to retain my freedom at the cost of this young girl's ruin, or to marry« wrote Tchaikovsky to his patron Nadeschda von Meck in July 1877. In her famous letter scene Tatiana is conscious that she will probably have to suffer for treating Eugen Onegin as a projection screen for her dreams. Full of longing, she intends to try and make her dream become reality. Tchaikovsky only allows us glimpses of the letter that Pushkin made Tatiana write. Onegin, unlike Tchaikovsky, is honest and rejects Tatiana's love. Tatiana learns, as her mother did before her, to be content with a marriage of convenience. When, years later, Onegin returns and realises that he loves Tatiana, she doubts whether it is really her that he means. Russian society moves on the Frankfurt stage through post Soviet rooms, bordered by the golden walls of a cage. The three lead figures Tatiana, Lenski and Onegin seem to be prisoners of their reading material: love story (act 1), ridiculous pride (act 2) and guilt (act 3).