Eugene Onegin

Updated June 26, 2020 | Infoplease Staff
Music:Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Libretto:Tchaikovsky and K. S. Shilovsky, based on the poem by Pushkin
Premiere:Moscow, March 29, 1879

Tchaikovsky himself is said to have been enamored of the character Tatiana, virtuous heroine of his classic Eugene Onegin. As the story opens on a Russian estate, sisters Tatiana and Olga await Olga's fiancé, Lenski, and his friend Onegin. Only 17 years old, Tatiana falls in love for the first time with the older Onegin and pens him a passionate declaration of her feelings, which he kindly but coolly rejects. Bored Onegin offends Lenski's honor by flirting with Olga, and the two comrades duel until Lenski is killed. A repentant Onegin disappears from society, but on returning years later, he sees the elegant, mature and married Tatiana and is overwhelmed by love. He declares his passion, but it is too late. Tatiana, though torn by her continuing love for Onegin, devotedly remains true to her husband.

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