Tschaikowsky: Eugen Onegin
Lyric Scenes in 3 acts
Duration: full evening
Translation: German (W. Ebermann/M. Koerth), Engl. (D. Llyod-Jones), French (M. Delines)
Place and time: Partly on the estate, partly in Petersburg, in 20ies of the 19th Century
Characters: Larina, Owner of the Estate (mezzo-soprano) - Tatiana (soprano) and Olga (alto), her Daughters - Filipjewna, Wet Nurse (mezzo-soprano/alto) - Eugen Onegin (baritone) - Lenskij (tenor) - Prince Gremin (bass) - A Commander (bass) - Saretzkij (bass) - Triquet, a French Man (tenor) - Guillot, a Valet (silent part) - Country Folk, Ball Guests, Squire, Officers (chorus) - Waltz, mazurka, polonaise and Russian dance (Ballet )
There is an interesting parallel between the subject of the opera and Tchaikovsky’s life during the year he wrote the work (1877): in each case, a letter provokes fateful developments in the lives of the protagonists. In the opera, Tatyana’s love letter to Eugene sets off the tragedy, whereas in real life, the love letter of a pupil led the composer into a marriage, which lasted all of ... three months. Tchaikovsky took this doomed decision "without love, solely because the circumstances want it and because I cannot act differently.” Certain allusions made, for example, in a letter of January 1878 to Taneyev suggest that the composer’s personal situation also flowed into the work: "I did not want anything to do with the so-called ‘grand opera.’ I am looking for an intimate but powerful drama which is built on the conflict of circumstances which I myself have seen and experienced, a conflict which truly moves me.” Partly for this reason the composer decided to call the work not an "opera” but "lyrical scenes”."Eugene Onegin", conceived by Tchaikovsky for "limited resources and a small stage,” is the most frequently performed Russian opera today along with Mussorgsky’s "Boris Godunov", which represents a completely contrary aesthetic stance.