Opera Scotland

Eugene Onegin Yevgeny Onegin

Tours by decade

1900s - 2 tours

1906 - Moody-Manners Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1909 - Moody-Manners Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra

1950s - 1 tour

1957 - Sadler's Wells Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra

1970s - 2 tours

1971 - Glyndebourne Touring Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1979 - Scottish Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra

1980s - 4 tours

1980 - Scottish Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1981 - Scottish Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1986 - Maly Theatre, Leningrad
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1988 - Scottish Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra

1990s - 3 tours

1991 - Bolshoi Opera, Moscow
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1993 - Scottish Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1994 - British Youth Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra

2000s - 5 tours

2003 - Scottish Opera
Fully staged, piano accompaniment
2004 - Scottish Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra
2007 - English Touring Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra
2008 - Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (RSAMD)
Fully Staged with Orchestra
2009 - Haddo House Choral & Operatic Society
Fully Staged with Orchestra

2010s - 14 tours

2011 - Bolshoi Opera, Moscow
Concert of Excerpts
2012 - English Touring Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra
2012 - St Andrews Opera
Other
2012 - St Andrews Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra
2013 - Metropolitan Opera
Cinema Screening
2013 - Opera Bohemia
Fully Staged, reduced orchestration
2013 - Aberdeen University Opera Society
Fully Staged, reduced orchestration
2014 - Opera Bohemia
Fully Staged with Orchestra
2016 - Fife Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra
2016 - Opera Bohemia
Fully Staged, reduced orchestration
2018 - Scottish Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra
2019 - Edinburgh Studio Opera
Fully Staged, reduced orchestration
2019 - Edinburgh Studio Opera
Concert of Excerpts
2019 - Komische Oper, Berlin
Fully Staged with Orchestra

Tours by location

Scotland, UK - 76 entries

1906 - Moody-Manners Opera Company
Edinburgh
1906 - Moody-Manners Opera Company
Glasgow
1909 - Moody-Manners Opera Company
Edinburgh
1957 - Sadler's Wells Opera
Glasgow
1971 - Glyndebourne Touring Opera
Edinburgh
1979 - Scottish Opera
Edinburgh
1979 - Scottish Opera
Glasgow
1980 - Scottish Opera
Glasgow
1981 - Scottish Opera
Glasgow
1986 - Maly Theatre, Leningrad
Edinburgh
1988 - Scottish Opera
Glasgow
1988 - Scottish Opera
Aberdeen
1988 - Scottish Opera
Edinburgh
1991 - Bolshoi Opera, Moscow
Edinburgh
1993 - Scottish Opera
Glasgow
1993 - Scottish Opera
Inverness
1993 - Scottish Opera
Aberdeen
1993 - Scottish Opera
Edinburgh
1994 - British Youth Opera
Edinburgh
2003 - Scottish Opera
Musselburgh, East Lothian
2003 - Scottish Opera
Peterhead, Aberdeenshire
2003 - Scottish Opera
Irvine
2003 - Scottish Opera
Kirkcaldy
2003 - Scottish Opera
Lochinver
2003 - Scottish Opera
Tain, Ross-shire
2003 - Scottish Opera
Banchory, Kincardineshire
2003 - Scottish Opera
Strontian
2003 - Scottish Opera
Portree, Isle of Skye
2003 - Scottish Opera
Hawick
2003 - Scottish Opera
Clydebank
2004 - Scottish Opera
Alloa
2004 - Scottish Opera
Arbroath
2004 - Scottish Opera
Motherwell
2004 - Scottish Opera
Dunfermline
2004 - Scottish Opera
Elgin, Moray
2004 - Scottish Opera
Ayr
2004 - Scottish Opera
Dumfries
2004 - Scottish Opera
Kelso
2007 - English Touring Opera
Perth
2008 - Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (RSAMD)
Glasgow
2008 - Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (RSAMD)
Edinburgh
2009 - Haddo House Choral & Operatic Society
Ellon, Aberdeenshire
2011 - Bolshoi Opera, Moscow
Perth
2012 - St Andrews Opera
St Andrews
2012 - English Touring Opera
Perth
2012 - St Andrews Opera
St Andrews
2013 - Aberdeen University Opera Society
Aberdeen
2013 - Opera Bohemia
Edinburgh
2013 - Opera Bohemia
Kirkcaldy
2013 - Opera Bohemia
Glasgow
2013 - Metropolitan Opera
Dundee
2013 - Metropolitan Opera
Galashiels
2013 - Metropolitan Opera
Perth
2013 - Metropolitan Opera
Dunfermline
2013 - Metropolitan Opera
Glasgow
2013 - Metropolitan Opera
St Andrews
2013 - Metropolitan Opera
Aberdeen
2013 - Metropolitan Opera
Falkirk
2013 - Metropolitan Opera
Edinburgh
2014 - Opera Bohemia
Strathpeffer
2014 - Opera Bohemia
Banchory, Kincardineshire
2014 - Opera Bohemia
Lossiemouth
2014 - Opera Bohemia
Dundee
2014 - Opera Bohemia
Ayr
2014 - Opera Bohemia
Greenock
2016 - Fife Opera
Kirkcaldy
2016 - Opera Bohemia
Helensburgh
2016 - Opera Bohemia
Linlithgow
2016 - Opera Bohemia
Dumfries
2018 - Scottish Opera
Glasgow
2018 - Scottish Opera
Aberdeen
2018 - Scottish Opera
Inverness
2018 - Scottish Opera
Edinburgh
2019 - Edinburgh Studio Opera
Edinburgh
2019 - Edinburgh Studio Opera
Edinburgh
2019 - Komische Oper, Berlin
Edinburgh

England, UK - 2 entries

1988 - Scottish Opera
Newcastle-upon-Tyne
1993 - Scottish Opera
Newcastle-upon-Tyne

Northern Ireland, UK - 1 entry

Music
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (born Kamsko-Votkinsk, 7 May 1840; died St Petersburg, 6 November 1893)

Text
The composer and K S Shilovsky.

Source
Poem (1831) by Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin (1799-1837).

Premières
First performance: Moscow (Maly Theatre, Imperial College of Music), 29 March 1879.
First UK performance: London (Olympic Theatre), 17 October 1892.
First performance in Scotland: Edinburgh (Royal Lyceum Theatre), 7 November 1906.
Scottish Opera première: Edinburgh (King’s Theatre), 1 September 1979.

Background
Tchaikovsky composed Onegin quite early in his career and it was first performed by a cast of students at the Moscow Conservatoire. His choice of subject, an acknowledged classic of Russian literature, was quite controversial at the time, and there has always been a view that his treatment fails to do Pushkin’s great poem justice. However that is frequently a difficulty when first-rate literature is converted to opera, and Onegin, taken on its own terms, deservedly remains one of the most popular Russian operas.

Main Characters
Madame Larina, a widowed landowner (mezzo-soprano)
Tatyana, her daughter (soprano)
Olga, Tatyana’s sister (mezzo-soprano)
Filippyevna, their nurse (contralto)
Vladimir Lensky, a neighbour, betrothed to Olga (tenor)
Eugene Onegin, his friend (baritone)
Monsieur Triquet, tutor to the sisters (tenor)
Zaretsky, an officer (bass)
Prince Gremin (bass)

Plot Summary
It is autumn on the Larins’ estate and the serfs are completing the harvest. Madame Larina and Filippyevna are preserving fruit for the winter, while Tatyana and Olga sing and read novels. Their neighbour Lensky, engaged to Olga, arrives with his friend Onegin. In spite of his reserve, Tatyana falls for him to the extent that she writes him a letter expressing her love. The next day Onegin gives her a curt dismissal.

A few weeks later, guests assemble for an evening party to celebrate Tatyana’s name day. All goes well, with old Monsieur Triquet singing a song in honour of his pupil, and everyone joining in a set of country-dances. However Onegin, out of a sense of boredom, flirts with Olga and arouses Lensky’s furious jealousy. At dawn the next morning they fight a duel and Onegin shoots Lensky dead.

The final act occurs several years later, in Moscow, at a grand ball in Prince Gremin’s palace. Onegin has returned from travelling abroad, and the elderly prince, a distant relation, explains to him how wonderfully happy he has been since he married his young wife. The princess appears, beautiful, elegant, and self-possessed, and Onegin is stunned to recognise Tatyana. Her greeting to him is cool and correct. The following morning Onegin calls on her to declare his love. While Tatyana admits that she has never forgotten him, she now dismisses him. Onegin resolves that only death is left.

RECORDINGS

PHILIPS (2 CDs) Sung in Russian Recorded 1993

Conductor: Semyon Bychkov
Paris Orchestra
Nuccia Focile (Tatyana), Dmitri Hvorostovsky (Onegin), Neil Shicoff (Lensky),

Semyon Bychkov conducts in a flowing and dramatic style and the cast assembled is consistently good. Hvorostovsky was recorded early in his international career, but seems to be a natural for the part. Nuccia Focile is a very attractive Tatyana and Neil Shicoff, in his second recording of Lensky sings very movingly. In the smaller roles a galaxy of stars has been assembled, with Olga Borodina as Olga, Sarah Walker as Larina, and a veteran Russian mezzo, Irina Arkhipova, as Filippyevna. The Irish tenor Francis Egerton makes a lovely cameo of old Monsieur Triquet. This is a role he sang for many years both at Covent Garden and with Scottish Opera, so it is good to have it preserved.

MELODIYA (2 CDs) Sung in Russian Recorded 1955

Conductor: Boris Khaikin,
Bolshoi Theatre Orchestra
Galina Vishnevskaya (Tatyana), Evgeni Belov (Onegin), Sergei Lemeshev (Lensky),

This set is undoubtedly a classic by any standards, and but for the age of the recording it would be the top recommendation. Boris Khaikin’s conducting is masterly, beautifully lyrical, but highly dramatic when required, and the orchestra and chorus sound unmistakably Russian, perhaps an odd comment to make, but just listen to them. Galina Vishnevskaya is caught in her freshest voice. Evgeni Belov is good as Onegin. But the real revelation in this performance is the strange, plangent sound of the tenor Sergei Lemeshev, again unmistakably Russian, and not common even there. His performance is uniquely moving.

DECCA (2 CDs) Sung in Russian Recorded 1974

Conductor: Georg Solti
Orchestra of Royal Opera House
Teresa Kubiak (Tatyana), Bernd Weikl (Onegin), Stuart Burrows (Lensky),

Covent Garden forces give a good account of themselves under Solti, and the recording is vivid. The leads are Russian-speaking East Europeans, a Polish Tatyana, East German Onegin, and Bulgarian Gremin (the wonderful Nicolai Ghiaurov). In this company the British singers also do well, not just Stuart Burrows as Lensky, but Anna Reynolds, a favourite with Scottish Opera, as Larina, and Enid Hartle as the nurse.

SONY (2 bargain-price CDs) Sung in Russian Recorded 1988

Conductor: Emil Tchakarov Sofia Festival Orchestra Anna Tomowa-Sintow (Tatyana), Yuri Masurok (Onegin), Nicolai Gedda (Lensky).

This recording is good value and features excellent performances, especially by the peerless Nicolai Gedda and the leading Bolshoi baritone Masurok. Given their age at the time, they sound astonishing.

The Cast

Eugene Onegin
 Lensky's friend
Filipyevna
 nurse to the sisters
Guillot
 Onegin's manservant
Madame Larina
 a widowed landowner
Monsieur Triquet
 a Frenchman, tutor to the sisters
Olga
 Larina's younger daughter
Peasant
 
Prince Gremin
 a retired general
Tatyana
 Larina's elder daughter
Trifon Petrovich
 a captain
Vladimir Lensky
 a neighbour, engaged to Olga
Zaretsky
 a retired officer

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