On Air Now
The Full Works Concert with Catherine Bott 8pm - 10pm
Get to know the romance and tragedy of Tchaikovsky's beautiful opera, Eugene Onegin, with pictures from the Metropolitan Opera in New York, starring Anna Netrebko as leading lady Tatiana.
The curtain rises and we meet Madam Larina, the lady of the manor, and the nanny, Filippyevna, discussing what it was like to be young and beautiful.
As the older ladies reminisce, they can hear the strains of Larina's two daughters, Tatiana and Olga, singing a love song.
It's been a hard day's work in the fields, and the peasants drag themselves in from the fields with as much harvested hay as they can carry. Olga joins in the celebrations, teasing Tatiana for keeping her nose firmly in a romantic novel.
Lensky, a young poet, turns up with his friend Eugene Onegin from St Petersburg.
It transpires Lensky's engaged to extrovert Olga, much to the surprise of Onegin, who's got his eye on the bookish Tatiana.
While Olga and Lensky go off together, Onegin makes quite an impression on the young Tatiana. After dinner, Tatiana blurts out that she's in love with Onegin to the nanny, and starts to write him a love letter.
Tatiana stays up all night pouring out her feelings in the letter, explaining she'll never feel like this about anyone else. When the shepherd's pipe warns her it's morning, she gives the letter to Filippyevna to deliver to her beloved.
Onegin comes back to give Tatiana the answer to her letter; she's been waiting anxiously for him to come back to hear what he says. Unfortunately, he has to let her down gently, explaining he's not cut out for marriage. Tatiana can't reply, and runs away heartbroken.
It's the start of Act II, and everyone's celebrating Tatiana's name day with a festive ball. She's dancing with Onegin, but it's provoking quite a reaction from the neighbours who are all gossiping about the young couple.
Onegin decides to dispel the rumours by flirting with Olga, Tatiana's sister: funnily enough, her fiancé isn't best pleased about this, and it causes an argument.
Lensky and Onegin argue fiercely until Madame Larina is forced to remove them from the house. Unfortunately, she can't get them to leave, and Lensky challenges Onegin to a duel. Adding to the drama, Tatiana collapses, and the ball ends in confusion and chaos.
After reluctantly accepting the duel, Onegin turns up to fight Lensky. Lensky, meanwhile, is reflecting on his life, thinking about what might happen if he's killed. He imagines his beloved, Olga, sadly visiting his grave.
Both friends, now with their backs to each other, sing how they would rather laugh together than fight. Unfortunately, neither of them can get over their pride, and Onegin shoots Lensky dead.
Act III begins with Onegin standing alone at his cousin's extravagant party, reflecting on how empty his life is now. He's been travelling around Europe, but he hasn't been able to escape his guilt or loneliness.
As he stares across the room, Onegin sees Tatiana coming down the staircase, wearing an exquisite ball gown. He asks his cousin, Prince Gremin, about her.
The Prince proudly explains that Tatiana is his wife, and reintroduces her to Onegin - without realising the couple's past history. Tatiana is overwhelmed with emotion and tactfully excuses herself.
Tatiana, surrounded by guests of a high standing is overwhelmed with emotion and tactfully excuses herself.
Onegin writes to Tatiana, explaining how he feels, and asking to meet.
Onegin enters and confesses his love for her, but Tatiana's sceptical: is he just in love with her newfound social status?
Onegin swears his love is genuine, but Tatiana doesn't give in to his advances: she intends to stay faithful to her husband despite her strong feelings for Onegin. She asks him to leave and bids him farewell forever, leaving him to wallow in despair.