Summary Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Eugene Onegin


Lyrical scenes in three acts (seven scenes)

Libretto by PI Tchaikovsky and KS Shilovsky


Larin, the landowner

Mezzo soprano




Her daughters



Filippievna, the nurse

Eugene Onegin


Prince Gremin



Trick, the Frenchman

Guillot, Onegin’s valet

Mezzo soprano







Without speeches

Peasants, peasant women, guests at the ball, landlords and landlords, officers.

The action takes place in the village and in Petersburg in the 1820s.



In May 1877, the singer EA Lavrovskaya advised Tchaikovsky to write an opera on the plot of Pushkin’s “Eugene Onegin.” At first this thought seemed to the composer, he said, wild, but soon he became so carried away by it that he wrote the script in one night and started to play music. Tchaikovsky admired Pushkin. His knowledge of life, the nature of the Russian people, a subtle understanding of Russian nature, the musicality of the verse caused admiration for the composer. The libretto was written by him in collaboration with KS Shilovsky (1849-1893). From the Pushkin novel in verse – the “encyclopedia of Russian life,” as VG Belinsky called it, Tchaikovsky took only what was connected with the spiritual world and the personal destinies of the Pushkin heroes, modestly calling his opera “lyrical scenes.”

In a letter to his student, the well-known composer SI Taneev, Tchaikovsky wrote: “I’m looking for an intimate but powerful drama based on a conflict of positions that I have experienced or seen, which can hurt me for living.”

“Eugene Onegin” was for the composer the ideal of such a drama. Tchaikovsky was worried about the fate of his opera, in which there were no traditional scenic effects, and the performance required maximum simplicity and sincerity. Therefore, he decided to entrust the first performance of the youth – the students of the Moscow Conservatory. On March 17 (29), 1879, the premiere of “Eugene Onegin” took place. Soon, with great success, the opera was staged at the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow (1881), where its 1500th performance was held in 1963, and the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg (1884) and became one of the most popular works.


Summer evening. The garden is in the Larins’ Estate. Young voices of daughters – Tatyana and Olga – cause Larina and Nanny Filippyevna memories of youth. Sounds of a lingering song come from a distance. The peasants came to congratulate the lady and brought with them a sheaf decorated with flowers and ribbons – a symbol of the finished harvest. Songs of the peasants attract the attention of the girls – the thoughtful, dreamy Tatiana and the carefree, playful Olga. On a visit to Larin come their neighbor Vladimir Lensky, an enamored young poet poet in love with Olga, and his friend Onegin, a secular young man who recently arrived from Petersburg and misses the village wilderness. Tatiana is deeply moved by the meeting with Onegin, in it she sees her chosen one.

Tatiana’s room. The girl is in the grip of troubling thoughts. She can not fall asleep and asks the nurse to tell about her youth. But even this does not dispel Tatiana’s emotions. Absorbed by a new, unknown feeling, she wrote a letter to Onegin, confessing her love.

In the shady garden of the Larin girls with berries collect berries. In confusion, Tatiana runs in. Onegin arrived, now he will be here. With trembling, she awaits a response to her confession. Onegin is courteous and reserved. He is touched by Tatiana’s sincerity, but she can not answer her love. The shocked girl listens with bitterness to his moralizing.

In the house of the Larins there was a ball. Tatyana’s birthday party brought together many guests. French trike, surrounded by young ladies, proclaims the congratulatory dithyramb written by him in honor of the birthday girl. Provincial ball with gossip and gossip of the townsfolk leads to Onegin cruel boredom. To take revenge on Lensky, who brought him here, he begins to take care of Olga. Lensky is outraged by his friend’s behavior, coquetry and frivolity of the bride. During the mazurka, a quarrel breaks out. In an outburst of anger, the insulted Lensky throws Onegin a challenge. Present unsuccessfully try to reconcile friends.

On a winter morning, a duel is assigned to the mill. Long before dawn, Lenski arrived here with a second. His thoughts and feelings are directed towards Olga. What does the coming day prepare for him? Appears late Onegin. Opponents hesitate, they recall their former friendship, but the paths to reconciliation are cut off. Duelists are getting to the barrier. A shot is heard, and Lensky falls, struck to death.

The Petersburg nobility gathered in a rich mansion. A brilliant metropolitan ball is in full swing. Among the guests, Onegin, returning from wanderings. Neither travel nor secular pleasures can dispel his longing. Appears Prince Gremin with his wife, in which the amazed Onegin recognizes Tatyana. The prince cordially tells him of his happy marriage, introduces him to Tatyana. Onegin only now understands the perfection of the one whose first maiden feeling was once rejected by him. Covered with a sudden love for Tatiana, he decides to make an appointment with her.

In her living room, Tatiana in awe reads Onegin’s letter. She still loves him. Unexpectedly enters Onegin. In his words, recognition and repentance. Tatyana remembers their first meeting, when happiness was so possible, so close. But you can not turn back the past; appealing to the honor and pride of Onegin, Tatiana asks to leave her. Devilish illusions are no longer powerful over her. Onegin remains alone.


“Eugene Onegin” is an unrivaled example of a lyric opera in which Pushkin’s poetry harmoniously blended with beautiful, soulful music full of warmth and drama. With remarkable perfection, Tchaikovsky characterized the ethically beautiful appearance of Tatyana, emphasizing in him the Russian national traits.

A brief orchestral introduction introduces Tatyana into the world of poetic dreams and emotional impulses.

In the first act three pictures. The first multifaceted outlines the background of the action and introduces the audience to the images of the main characters. The duet of Tatyana and Olga “Have heard the word”, close to the Russian domestic romance, imbued with serene elegiac mood. To the voices of the girls, the dialogue of Larina and Filippievna joins: the duo turns into a quartet. In the scene with the peasants, the long song “I’m aching my scissors” is replaced by a foolish comic “Already on a bridge”. Aria “I’m not capable of sadness languid” gives a portrait of the carefree and frisky Olga. In the lyrically enthusiastic arioso of Lensky, “I love you, Olga,” the image of an ardent, romantic youth arises.

In the center of the second picture is the image of Tatiana. The story of the nurse, sustained in a calm, narrative manner, resists her agitated speeches. In the scene of the letter, with remarkable psychological sensitivity, the various states of the heroine are depicted: a passionate impulse, timidity, desperate determination and, finally, the affirmation of love. The confusion of Tatiana is expressively highlighted by the symphonic panorama of the sunrise.

In the center of the third picture is Onegin’s aria “When life is a household circle,” framed by the transparent and light choir of girls; Onegin’s restrained-measured speech is only briefly animated by a warm feeling.

The second act opens with a fascinating waltz. Tricky’s naively simple-hearted couplets “What a beautiful day” and other everyday episodes create a contrast to the quarrel scene; The intense dramatic dialogue of the characters sounds on the background of the mazurka. Arioso Lensky “In Your Home” is a heartfelt memory of the past; to a gentle, smooth melody gradually join Onegin, Tatiana, Olga and Larina, and then the excited guest choir.

At the beginning of the fifth picture (the second picture of the second act), Lenskiy’s elegiac aria “Wherever you went, the spring of my golden days” sounds; her music is full of sadness, bright memories and painful forebodings; she wins the melodic beauty and sincerity of expression. The duet of Lensky and Onegin “Enemies, Enemies” conveys a state of gloomy meditation. Tragically sounds in the orchestra melody of the deathbed aria Lensky, the final picture.

Painting sixth (third act) begins with a solemn polonaise. Gramin’s aria “Love of all ages are submissive” is imbued with a noble, courageous lyricism. In the last arioso of Onegin, reflecting the love that flared up in him, a passionate melody from Tatiana’s writing scene sounds.

In the center of the seventh picture, the duet of Tatiana and Onegin is agitated, full of emotional contrasts, resulting in a rapid increase and dramatic breakdown.

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Summary Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Eugene Onegin