Eugene Onegin

May 29, 2018

Eugene Onegin by Tchaikovsky is based on a novel in verse by Alexander Pushkin. Onegin is considered a classic of Russian literature and its protagonist has served as the model for a number of Russian literary heroes (so-called superfluous men). Onegin was published in serial form between 1825 and 1832. The first complete edition was published in 1833, and the currently accepted version is based on the 1837 publication.

When the suggestion to use Pushkin's novel as a source for an opera was given to the composer by singer Yelizaveta Lavrovskaya, at first the idea appeared wild to him. However very soon (after a sleepless night!), Tchaikovsky came to embrace the idea and  created the scenarios in one night before starting to compose the music.

Tchaikovsky was careful not to make the opera too long, and chose several chapters from Pushkin’s original book so that the story sometimes jumps from one time to a much later time. Russian operas are quite often like this: they are a series of “tableaux” –– scenes from a story. Sometimes the audience has to imagine what happens between the acts.

Tchaikovsky, with some minor involvement by Konstantin Shilovsky, used original verses from Pushkin's novel and chose scenes that involved the emotional world and fortunes of his heroes, calling the opera "lyrical scenes.” He believed that its performance required maximum simplicity and sincerity. With this in mind, he entrusted the first production to the students of the Moscow Conservatory in 1879. Two years later, the first performance at the Bolshoi Theater took place on January 23, 1881. 

The IOC production of Eugene Onegin intends to bring back the simplicity and sincerity of the composer's original creation. As such, we are shortening some dances and cutting Ecossaise from Act 3 altogether (it was added later by the composer for a more "glitzy" production at the Bolshoi Theater) to help focus audience attention on the characters’ inner drama.

Four performances only! Fridays June 22nd and 29th, Saturday 23rd and 30th. All at 7:30 pm. 

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