Pyotr Tchaikovsky

  • Act I

    63 min.

  • Intermission

    20 min.

  • Act II

    38 min.

  • Intermission

    25 min.

  • Act III

    33 min.

Duration: ca. 3 hrs

Lyrical scenes in three acts (seven scenes)
Libretto: Pyotr Tchaikovsky, Konstantin Shilovsky after Alexander Pushkin
World premiere: 29 March 1879, Maly Theatre, Moscow
Polish premiere: 4 May 1899, Teatr Wielki, Warsaw
Premiere of this production: 5 April 2002

In the original Russian with Polish surtitles

It is seldom that an opera based on a literary masterpiece becomes a masterpiece in its own right. Eugene Onegin by Alexander Pushkin and Pyotr Tchaikovsky is one such exceptional work. The composer kept the title and, as the co-author of the libretto, took the plot from the original, selected the ‘lyrical scenes’ (which is also how he described his work), and let Pushkin’s lyrics be heard even in the sung parts. Mariusz Treliński also followed Pushkin in his production. Since the poem’s author/narrator presented the protagonist with detachment and irony, the opera’s director decided to preserve this viewpoint by using his special variety of contemporary theatre language. He introduced a silent white figure that follows the opera’s Onegin like a shadow and a witness to his wasted opportunities for love and friendship. If anyone finds it strange to see a crowd of menacing monsters suddenly cornering Tatiana at her birthday ball, know that this also comes from Pushkin: the poem describes Tatiana’s nightmares. This image, and all those involving the Shadow – here called O*** – carry symbolic meaning, just like other meaningful productions by Treliński and stage designer Boris Kudlička. The unexpected and spectacular parade of models is a symbol of the world of the rich and famous. The intense emptiness of the stage in which the characters move, the red apples, the birch trunks, speak of Onegin’s burnout, paradise lost, Russia. The opera’s musical leitmotif also sounds very Russian: nostalgic, broken; this tune opens the opera, returns to Onegin at key moments of the plot, and does not leave the audience long after they exit the theatre.



Chorus and Orchestra of the Teatr Wielki  Polish National Opera
Polish National Ballet
Mimes and models


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