Onegin - Synopsis
Music by Pjotr I. Tchaikovsky
arranged by Kurt-Heinz Stolze
Act I, Scene 1 – Madame Larina’s Garden. Madame Larina, Olga, and the nurse are finishing off the party dresses and gossiping about Tatiana’s coming birthday festivities. Madame Larina speculates on the future and reminisces about her own lost beauty and youth. Girls from the neighbourhood arrive, their greetings and chatter are interrupted by gunshots.
Lensky, a young poet engaged to Olga, arrives and tells them there is no cause for alarm, he was hunting with a fried from St. Petersburg. He introduces Onegin, who, bored with the city, has come to see if the country can offer him any distraction. Tatiana, full of youthful and romantic fantasies, falls in love with the elegant stranger, so different from the country people she knows. Onegin, on the other hand, sees only a coltish country girl who reads too many romantic novels.
Scene 2 – Tatiana’s Bedroom Tatiana, her imagination aflame with impetuous first – love dreams of Onegin, writes him a passionate4 love – letter which she gives the nurse to deliver.
Act II, Scene 1 – Tatiana’s Birthday The provincial gentry have come to celebrate Tatiana’s birthday. They gossip about Lensky’s infatuation with Olga, and whisper prophecies of a dawning romance between Tatiana and the newcomer. Onegin finds the company boring. Stifling his yawns, he finds it difficult to be civil to them; furthermore he is irritated by Tatiana’s letter which he regards merely as an outburst of adolescent love. In a quiet moment, he tears up her letter. Tatiana’s distress, instead of awaking pity merely increases his irritation.
Prince Gremin, a distant relation, appears. He is in love with Tatiana, and Madame Larina hopes for a brilliant match; But Tatiana troubled with her own heart, hardly notices her kindly and elderly relation.
Onegin, in his boredom, decides to provoke Lensky by flirting with Olga who lightheadedly joins in the teasing. But Lensky takes the matter with passionate seriousness. He challenges Onegin to a duel.
Scene 2 – The Duel Tatiana and Olga try to reason with Lensky, but his high romantic ideals are shattered by the betrayal of his friend and fickleness of his fried beloved; he insists that the duel take place. Onegin kills his fried and for the first time his cold heart is moved by the horror of his deed. Tatiana realized that her love was an illusion, and that Onegin is self – centered and empty.
Act III, Scene 1 – St. Petersburg. Years later, Onegin having travelled the world in an attempt to escape from his own futility returns to St. Petersburg where he is received at a ball in the place of Prince Gremin. Gremin has recently married, and Onegin is astonished to recognize in the stately and elegant young princess, Tatiana, the uninteresting little country girl whom he once turned away. The enormity of his mistake and loss engulfs him. His life now seems even more aimless and empty.
Scene 2 – Tatiana’s Boudoir.Tatiana reads a letter from Onegin which reveals his love. Suddenly he stands before her impatient to know her answer. Tatiana sorrowfully tells him that although she still feels her passionate girlhood love for him, she is now a woman, and she could never find happiness or respect with him. She orders him to leave her forever.