Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin in Zagreb


Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky


Friday, February 26 2016 at 19.30

Director: Róbert Alföldi
Conductor: Nikša Bareza

Like most Russian composers from the period of Romanticism, even the greatest among them, Pyotr Ilych Tchaikovsky based some of his stage works on the works of the Russian romanticist Alexandre Sergeyevich Pushkin. One of the most beautiful creations of the romantic opera opus has been created after Pushkin’s novel in verse Eugene Onegin. A very few operas have such perfectly fused and inseparable two most important components, music and text. Tchaikovsky set to music Pushkin’s exceptional literary model almost in a perfect manner, breathing into it some entirely specific components which, according to many, make this most beautiful Slavic opera very demanding and challenging. In it Tchaikovsky finally achieved a complete realization of his yearnings in construction of a stage work.


The opera plot is initiated by lyrical emotions experienced by its characters turning Onegin into a real intimate psychological drama. After Onegin, the operas took another direction and it is no wonder that this work was one of the first opera staging of the great Russian theatre master Konstantin Stanislavsky. The opera focuses on the deeply experienced drama of its protagonists, subduing the exterior events and thus giving up the cliché of only one dramatic peak, since the first act is the drama of Tatyana, the second that of Lensky and the third that of Onegin. Every act is a separate whole, but all three of them are tightly connected into a single unity. Tchaikovsky gave this work a crossheading, Lyrical scenes, and thus created a prototype of a psychological opera in which music does not describe, but deepens the presented events.


Although the work is titled after the young, indifferent and rich Eugene Onegin, the main character is the dreamlike girl Tatyana who, living far deep in the Russian province of the 19th century, yields to the fantasies, idealizing a random acquaintance Onegin unworthy of her true love. The author, beside Tatyana who is his favorite character, describes the poet Lensky, Onegin’s friend whom he kills in a duel because of a whim, with a lot of fancy. In a combination of personal tragedies of the characters, it is possible to recognise a characteristic idea of the author on the weakness of man in achieving happiness that everyone craves for. Lensky’s aria before his death, and the famous night scene in which Tatyana is writing a love letter to Onegin, are considered among the most beautiful music numbers in the Slavic opera literature.


The new production of Eugene Onegin will be a co-production of the Zagreb Opera and the Opera of the CNT Ivan noble Zajc in Rijeka conducted by Nikša Bareza and directed by Róbert Alföldi, a guest from Hungary.

 GALLERY (Click to enlarge)


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