Conductor – Honoured Artist of Russia, People's Artist of the Republic of Belarus, laureate of the National Theatre Award "Golden Mask", laureate of the State Prize of the Republic of Belarus, Alexandr Anisimov;
Production Designer – Honoured Artist of Russia, laureate of the National Theatre Award "Golden Mask", Vladimir Petrov (Voronezh);
Costume Designer – Yury Cooper (London);
Assistant of costume designer – Evgenia Limarova (Moscow);
Lighting Designer – Drevaleva Elena (Moscow);
Choirmasters – Honoured Artist of Russia Valeria Navrotskaya, Olga Safronova;
Photographer – Elizaveta Sukhova.
The Larin family estate. Mrs Larina’s daughters can be heard singing in the distance – Tatiana, always thoughtful and dreaming, and Olga, playful and flirtatious. Their young voices remind their mother and the nurse of a now dim and distant youth.
Unexpectedly guests appear – it is the young poet Lensky, Olga’s fiancé and the Larins’ neighbour, and Onegin, his friend. Tatiana is deeply perturbed by her meeting with Onegin.
Tatiana’s bedroom. It is night. Tatiana is overflowing with the new emotion that has gripped her. In vain, Filippevna the nurse attempts to dispel Tatiana’s pensiveness by telling her about days gone by. Absorbed by this new passion, Tatiana writes to Onegin. She believes him to be the man fate has chosen for her. Tatiana begs her nurse to deliver Onegin the letter.
A distant corner of the Larins’ garden. Tatiana awaits the answer to her own confession of love. Onegin comes in the garden. His words form, cold and passionless. He is touched by Tatiana’s openness, but cannot return the feeling. Civilly returning Tatiana her letter, Onegin reproaches her lack of care: “Learn to control yourself; not everyone would understand you like I; inexperience leads to disaster.”
A ball is being held at the Larins’ house. Many guests have come to celebrate Tatiana’s name-day party. Onegin is driven to utter boredom with the provincial ball and its gossip and idle chatter. He blames Lensky and begins to pay court to Olga. Lensky is indignant at his friend’s behaviour and his fiancée’s coquettish and frivolous manner. Insulted and in a fit of rage and despair, Lensky challenges Onegin to a duel. The guests try in vain to reconcile the two friends.
A cold frosty morning, and Lensky has come to the place where the duel will take place. “What does the coming day hold for me? I can’t imagine what will be…” Sad and pained, he thinks of the forthcoming duel. Zaretsky, Lensky’s second, is awaiting Onegin. Onegin finally arrives; the preparations for the duel are made, but the former friends tarry. Both understand the absurdity of what has happened: “Should we not laugh before our hands are stained with blood, and part as friends?” But no! The seconds show the two adversaries to their places. Zaretsky gives the signal to start. There is a shot. Lensky falls. Running to his friend, Onegin is horrified to see he is dead.
Guests are assembling for a ball at a mansion in St Petersburg; Onegin, home from his travels around Europe, is there too. Neither changes of scenery nor high society have lifted his anguish. Prince Gremin and his wife arrive and Onegin recognises her to be Tatiana. The Prince cordially tells him of his happy marriage and introduces Tatiana. Onegin is staggered – surely this noble and refined society lady is not the same girl to whom he once read a moral admonition? Onegin uneasily admits to himself: “Alas, there’s no doubt, I’m in love, in love like a boy, a passionate youth!”
The last encounter between Onegin and Tatiana. His words are full of confession and repentance. But the past cannot be revisited. Calling on Onegin’s honour and pride Tatiana asks him to leave her: “to another by fate have I been given, I will never leave him.”
Music by Pyotr Tchaikovsky
Libretto by Pyotr Tchaikovsky and Konstantin Shilovsky after the poetic novel of the same name by Alexander Pushkin
World premiere: March 17, 1879