In Act 1, Scene 2, the young, innocent Tatiana, deep in the throes of her first love, writes a passionate letter to the object of her affection: the brooding aristocrat from the city, Eugene Onegin. Tatiana’s love letter, which Onegin later passively dismisses, sets off an unstoppable chain of events, culminating in a duel between friends and leaving Onegin forever regretting the love he so casually spurned.
I write this to you - what more can be said?
What more can I add to that one fact?
For now I know it is in your power
To punish me contemptuously for this act.
But you, keeping for my unhappy lot
Even one drop of sympathy
Will not entirely abandon me.
At first I wished to remain silent;
Believe me, my shame, my agony,
You never ever would have heard.
As long as hope remained preserved
That rarely, even once a week,
I'd see you in our country house,
To hear your voice, to hear you speak,
To say a few words, and then, and then
To think, and think, and think again
All day, all night, until the next meeting.
But it is said you are unsociable,
And in this backwater all is tedious to you,
While we… well here we shine at nothing,
Although we're glad to welcome you.
Why did you come to visit us?
In this forgotten rural home
Your face I never would have known
Nor known this bitter suffering.
The fever of inexperience
In time (who can tell?) would have died down,
And I'd have found another lover,
Dear to my heart, to whom I'd be true,
Another!… No, no one on this earth
Is there to whom I'd give my heart!
That is ordained by highest fate…
That is heaven's will - that I am yours;
My life till now was but a pledge,
Translated by G. R. Ledger. Top/background photo by Kriss Szkurlatowski. © Copyright 2012 Ballet Theatre Foundation, Inc. All rights reserved.