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Joseph Gorak.
Photo by Rosalie O'Connor.

Diana Vishneva and Marcelo Gomes.
Photo by Gene Schiavone.

Upper right:
Diana Vishneva and Marcelo Gomes.
Photo by Gene Schiavone.

© Copyright 2018
Ballet Theatre Foundation, Inc.
All rights reserved.

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 Rose
Lighting by Sholem Dolgoy

Act 1 - 36:00
Act 2 - 25:00
Act 3 - 26:00

Brief Overview

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 Larina’s Garden:
Madame Larina, Olga, and the nurse are finishing 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.
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 novels.

Act I, Scene 2 - Tatiana’s 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 -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 seeks out Tatiana, and telling her that he cannot love her, tears up her letter. Tatiana’s 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- 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 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.