Eugene Onegin | Opera

SYNOPSIS

Act I 
Scene 1. The Larin family estate. Mrs Larina’s daughters can be heard singing – Tatiana, always thoughtful and dreaming, and Olga, playful and flirtatious. Their young voices remind their mother and the nursemaid of their own former youth. 
Evening falls. Long drawn-out singing can be heard; the harvest complete, the peasants bring their mistress a decorated sheaf of wheat according to custom. Unexpectedly guests appear – it is the young poet Lensky, Olga’s fiancé and the Larins’ neighbour, and Onegin, his friend and a man of the world. He has recently arrived from St Petersburg and is already bored with the country. The arrival of the guests rouses curiosity. Everyone looks at the new arrival with interest. 
Onegin is surprised at Lensky’s choice of bride: “If I were a poet like you I should choose another.” Tatiana is deeply perturbed by her meeting with Onegin. Once alone with Olga, Lensky declares his love for her.

Scene 2. Night-time. Tatiana is overflowing with the new emotion that has so unexpectedly gripped her. In vain, Filippevna the nursemaid attempts to dispel Tatiana’s pensiveness by telling her about days gone by. All Tatiana’s thoughts are of Onegin; he has stirred the heart of this provincial girl. Tatiana asks her nursemaid to leave her. Absorbed by this hitherto unknown passion, Tatiana writes a letter to Onegin: “You appeared to me in a dream, unseen, and were dear to me...” 
Gradually dawn begins to break. A shepherd’s horn blows. Tatiana begs her nursemaid to deliver the letter to Onegin.

Scene 3. The voices of servant girls can be heard in the distance. Tatiana is waiting for Onegin. The young girl is seized with confusion: “Oh, why did I heed my wretched soul, unable to control myself, why did I write that letter?” But it is too late! Onegin is already here, in the garden. His words form, cold and passionless. He is touched by Tatiana’s sincerity, but cannot return the feeling. Civilly returning Tatiana her own letter, Onegin reproaches her lack of care: “Learn to control yourself; not everyone would understand you like I; inexperience leads to disaster.”

Act II 
Scene 1. A ball is being held at the Larins’ house. Many guests have come to celebrate Tatiana’s name-day party. Triquet, a Frenchman, sings some couplets in Tatiana’s honour. Onegin is driven to utter boredom with the provincial ball and its gossip and idle chatter. He upbraids Lensky: “Why did I come to this ridiculous ball? Why? I shan’t forgive Vladimir for this!” Onegin begins to pay court to Olga. Lensky is indignant at his friend’s behaviour and his fiancée’s coquettish and frivolous manner. During a mazurka, a quarrel develops. Insulted and in a fit of pique and despair, Lensky challenges Onegin to a duel. The guests try in vain to reconcile the two friends.

Scene 2. A cold frosty morning, and Lensky has come to the place where the duel will take place. Sad and pained at the forthcoming duel, he thinks “What does the coming day hold for me? I can’t imagine what will be...” Zaretsky, Lensky’s second, is awaiting Onegin. Onegin finally arrives; the preparations for the duel are complete, but the former friends tarry. Both understand the absurdity of what has happened: “Should we not laugh before our hands are stained with blood, and part as friends?” But no! The seconds show the two adversaries to their places. Zaretsky gives the signal to start. A shot rings out. Lensky falls. Onegin is horrified to see he is dead.

Act III 
Scene 1. Guests are assembling for a ball at a mansion in St Petersburg; Onegin, home from his travels around Europe, is there too. Neither changes of scenery nor high society have dispelled his anguish. Prince Gremin and his wife arrive and Onegin recognises her to be Tatiana. The Prince cordially tells him of his happy marriage and introduces Tatiana. Onegin is staggered – surely this noble and refined society lady is not the same girl to whom he once read a moral admonition? Onegin uneasily admits to himself: “Alas, there’s no doubt, I’m in love, in love like a boy, a passionate youth!”

Scene 2. The last encounter between Onegin and Tatiana. His words are full of confession and repentance. But the past cannot be revisited. Calling on Onegin’s honour and pride, Tatiana asks him to leave her: “To another by fate have I been given, I will never leave him.” Onegin’s entreaties are all in vain. Ultimately he understands that he has lost Tatiana forever. Onegin is left alone: “Ignominy! Anguish! Oh, my pitiable fate!”

Program and cast

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September 2019
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Bolshoi Theatre

On 28 March (17 according to the old style) 1776, Catherine II granted the prosecutor, Prince Pyotr Urusov, the "privilege" of "maintaining" theatre performances of all kinds, including masquerades, balls and other forms of entertainment, for a period of ten years. And it is from this date that Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre traces its history.

The Bolshoi building, which for many years now has been regarded as one of Moscow’s main sights, was opened on 20 October 1856, on Tsar Alexander II’s coronation day.

On 29 October 2002 the Bolshoi was given a New Stage and it was here it presented its performances during the years the Historic Stage was undergoing massive reconstruction and refurbishment.

The reconstruction project lasted from l July 2005 to 28 October 2011. As a result of this reconstruction, many lost features of the historic building were reinstated and, at the same time, it has joined the ranks of most technically equipped theatre buildings in the world.

The Bolshoi Theatre is a symbol of Russia for all time. It was awarded this honor due to the major contribution it made to the history of the Russian performing arts. This history is on-going and today Bolshoi Theatre artists continue to contribute to it many bright pages.

 

An inherent part of the Theatre’s activities is the presentation of concerts of symphony and chamber works, and of operas in concert performance, thus acquainting the public with works of all music genres. 

Now that the Bolshoi Theatre has two stages at its disposal, one of them its legendary Historic Stage which is at last back in action again, it hopes to fulfill its mission with an even greater degree of success, steadily extending the sphere of its influence at home and throughout the world.

 

The Bolshoi has to a large extent reacquired its authentic historical appearance, lost during the years of Soviet power. The auditorium and part of its suite of halls now look as they were originally conceived by Bolshoi Theatre architect Alberto Cavos. While the former imperial foyer halls have been given back their 1895 decor, this was the year they were redecorated for Emperor Nicholas II’s coronation celebrations. Each reproduced or restored element of interior decoration was made the object of a special project for which separate documentation was collected based on numerous archival and on-site researches.

In 2010 the auditorium suite of halls were renovated: the Lobby, the Main or the White Foyer, the Choral, Exhibition, Round and Beethoven halls. Muscovites were able to admire the restored facades and the renovated symbol of the Bolshoi Theatre — the famous Apollo quadriga, created by the sculptor Peter Klodt.

The auditorium has regained its original beauty. And, just like the 19th century theatergoer, so each member of the public today will be dazzled by its extravagant and at the same time “light” décor. The bright crimson, scattered with gold, draping of the interiors of the boxes, the different on each level stucco arabesques, the Apollo and the Muses plafond — all this contributes to the auditorium’s breath-taking impact.

Special attention was paid to the restoration of the legendary acoustics. International experts did extensive research work and made sure all their technical recommendations were carried out to the letter.

State of the art machinery has been installed in the stagehouse. The Bolshoi Theatre Historic stage now consists of seven two-tier rising and descending platforms. These platforms can easily change their positions, thus the stage can become horizontal, raked or stepped. The stage and backstage area can be united which creates a stage space of incredible depth.

New upper stage equipment, remotely controlled by computer, makes it possible to derive maximum use from lighting, sound and visual effects. Cutting edge rigs have been installed for the deployment of lanterns, special effects apparatus and acoustics. 

The orchestra pit has been provided with extra space under the forestage. This makes it one of the biggest orchestra pits in the world seating up to 130 musicians, which is necessary for the performance of such large-scale works as, for instance, Wagner operas.

The installation of state of the art stage equipment was a unique world-scale project. The reconstruction has doubled the Theatre’s total floor space. Thanks to the expansion of the Theatre’s existing underground spaces (under stagehouse) and to the construction of new underground space under Theatre Square, this has been achieved without any change to the Theatre’s external appearance.

Thus the Theatre has acquired badly needed new space, including an underground concert and rehearsal room, which has inherited its name from the Beethoven Hall, under the Theatre lobby. This hall is a multi-functional space which can be used in different ways. It consists of five main platforms: the central platform is the stage itself, two platforms to the right and left of it can be used either to increase the size of the stage or as audience space. The two remaining platforms form the main space of the auditorium. All of the platforms can be raised to foyer level to create a space for holding formal, receptions. Apart from this concert hall and its auxiliary premises, the rest of the underground space under Theatre Square accommodates a large number of technical, service and staff rooms.

The Bolshoi Theatre reconstruction project also included the renovation of the Khomyakov House, a protected architectural monument of the first half of the nineteenth century situated immediately behind the Bolshoi, which has been transformed into a service wing. Due to numerous 20th century reconstructions, the historical interiors of the Khomyakov House have been totally lost. While its main walls have been preserved, the interior layout has been redesigned to meet the Theatre’s present-day requirements. Thus the Khomaykov House, which is linked to the main Bolshoi Theatre building by an underground tunnel, is a key element in the gigantic Bolshoi Theatre complex.

The renovation of the country’s main stage was a landmark event in the lives of a large coordinated team of highest-level professionals. Participating in the project were uniquely qualified specialists whose great feat of labor will earn them the undying gratitude of present-day Bolshoi Theatre audiences.

 

Car

Mokhovaya Street

If you are on Mokhovaya Street keep driving straight ahead, not turning off it, till you reach Theatre Square where the Bolshoi Theatre is situated.

Tverskaya Street

If you are moving down Tverskaya, in the direction of the centre, you will automatically find yourself on Teatralnyi Proezd Street leading to the Bolshoi Theatre.

Petrovka Street

If you are on the Petrovka, which is a one-way street, you will be able to drive right up to the Theatre.

Metro

Take the metro to Teatralnaya (Bolshoi Theatre exit) or Okhotnyi ryad (Theatre Square exit).

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