Choreography by John Cranko
based on the poem by Alexander Pushkin
Staged by Reid Anderson and Jane Bourne
Music by Peter Ilyitch Tchaikovsky,
arranged and orchestrated by Kurt-Heinz Stolze
Scenery and costumes by Jürgen
Lighting by Sholem Dolgoy
Act 1 - 36:00
Act 2 - 25:00
Act 3 - 26:00
Pushkin's great verse-novel, Eugene Onegin, is interpreted with flawless storytelling skill by John Cranko. This compelling tale features an unusual twist of double unrequited love- while the high-handed Onegin at first spurns the young, naive Tatiana, she blooms to become a sophisticated St. Petersburg aristocrat who, in turn, rejects him subsequent advances in a final crushing blow.
Act I, Scene 1 -
Madame Larinas Garden:
Madame Larina, Olga, and the nurse are finishing the party dresses and
gossiping about Tatianas coming birthday festivities. Madame Larina
speculates on the future and reminisces about her own lost beauty and
Lensky, a young poet engaged to Olga, arrives with a friend 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 in Tatiana only a naive country girl who reads too many romantic
Act I, Scene 2 - Tatianas Bedroom:
Tatiana, her imagination aflame with impetuous first-love, dreams of
Onegin and writes him a passionate love-letter which she gives to her
nurse to deliver.
Act II, Scene 1 -Tatianas Birthday:
The provincial gentry have come to celebrate Tatianas birthday.
They gossip about Lenskys 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 Tatianas letter
which he regards merely as an outburst of adolescent love. In a quiet
moment, he seeks out Tatiana, and telling her that he cannot love her,
tears up her letter. Tatianas distress, instead of awakening pity,
merely increases his irritation.
Prince Gremin, a distant relative appears. He is in love with Tatiana,
and Madame Larina hopes for a brilliant match, but Tatiana, troubled
with 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 his teasing. But Lensky takes the matter with
passionate seriousness. He challenges Onegin to a duel.
Act II, 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 the fickleness of his
beloved; he insists that the duel take place. Onegin kills his friend
and for the first time his cold heart is moved by the horror of his
deed. Tatiana realizes that her love was an illusion, and that Onegin
is self-centered and empty.
Act III, Scene 1 - St. Petersburg:
Onegin, having traveled the world for many years in an attempt to escape
from his own futility, returns to St. Petersburg where he is received
at a ball in the palace 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.
Act III, Scene 2- Tatianas 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 love of girlhood
for him, she is now a woman, and that she could never find happiness
with him or respect for him. She orders him to leave her forever.