Pyotr Tchaikovsky

  • Act I

    63 min.

  • Intermission

    20 min.

  • Act II

    38 min.

  • Intermission

    25 min.

  • Act III

    33 min.

Duration: ca. 3 hrs

  • Performance cancelled
  • Performance cancelled
  • Performance cancelled

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, Teatr Wielki – Polish National Opera
In the original Russian with Polish surtitles

Lyrical scenes in three acts – this is how Pyotr Tchaikovsky described his speedily written Eugene Onegin not wishing it to be associated with the grandeur of opera. Alexander Pushkin’s digressive poem was recommended to the composer by a female friend, who thought it was an excellent material for a stage adaptation. Tchaikovsky was so enthralled by the piece that he completed the first of the libretto overnight and wrote three thirds of the score in the next two months. The work was finished in February 1878. Tchaikovsky brought it straight to Nikolai Rubinstein, head of the Moscow Conservatoire, to be tested out by the students. He did not want to entrust it to the Bolshoi Theatre, fearing that the venue’s large stage might spoil the intimately personal atmosphere he had managed to capture in the score. He reconsidered two years later and the work was given its debut in Moscow. It was, however, its Saint Petersburg premiere in 1884 that catapulted Eugene Onegin to the international opera scene.    

The lyrical scenes unfold in the Russian countryside visited by a gloomy and absent-minded young master from Saint Petersburg by the name of Onegin. Being the dandy he is, he charms an innocent young lady into loving him. When Tatyana gives him her youthful trusting heart, he, a homme fatale, rejects it with contempt. Following a tragic duel in which he kills his good-hearted friend, the poet Lensky, Onegin disappears. He returns years later when Tatyana is a grand lady, a wife to Prince Gremin, and a host of a ball that opens with a splendid polonaise. Seeing her in all her beauty and magnificence, Onegin, now old and bitter, goes wild with love. His enthusiasm makes an impression on Tatyana, yet she breaks free from his arms, explaining that she is happily married. Left alone, Onegin curses his pitiful fate.  

In his beautifully poignant 2002 production of the piece Mariusz Treliński finds a contemporary facet of the story of the 19th-century dandy and told with subtlety and splendour required by the third-act ballroom scene brought to life by excellent sets by Boris Kudlička and impressive costumes by Joanna Klimas. The audience will surely remember the robust tree of good and evil, the symbol of Eden, positioned in the middle of the bucolic Russian landscape – thanks to Onegin, Tatyana learns a bitter life lesson and the difficult art of making choices. The story of the dandy who misses his chance for love and friendship is presented by O***, a mysterious figure symbolising the old Onegin, which adds a metaphysical perspective to the staging.

The title role in Treliński’s production has been sung by Poland’s greatest baritones: Mariusz Kwiecień, Marcin Bronikowski, Artur Ruciński, and Stanisław Kuflyuk.



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


  • Patrons of the Teatr Wielki – Polish National Opera

  • Partners of the Opera Academy

  • Partners of Teatr Wielki – Polish National Opera

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