Vienna State Opera tickets 1 March 2024 - Eugen Onegin |

Eugen Onegin

Vienna State Opera, Vienna, Austria
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Important Info
Type: Opera
City: Vienna, Austria
Starts at: 18:30
Acts: 3
Intervals: 1
Duration: 3h
Tenor: Bogdan Volkov (Vladimir Lensky)
Baritone: Boris Pinkhasovich (Eugene Onegin)
Mezzo-Soprano: Daria Sushkova (Olga)
Mezzo-Soprano: Elena Manistina (Larina)
Conductor: Lothar Koenigs
Soprano: Ruzan Mantashyan (Tatyana)
Composer: Pyotr Tchaikovsky
Poet: Alexander Pushkin
Director: Dmitri Tcherniakov
Librettist: Konstantin Shilovsky

A dandy who is as wandering as he is incapable of commitment coolly rejects the love of a landowner's daughter - while she grows from this rejection, he breaks from his neglect.

In these "lyrical scenes in three acts", premiered in 1879 by a student ensemble at Moscow's Maly (i.e. Small) Theatre, Tchaikovsky chose not to use the "grand styled" theatre that was largely mandatory for opera performances during this time period: "I do not need tsars, tsarinas, uprisings, battles, marches... I am looking for an intimate but powerful drama based on the conflicts that I myself have experienced or seen, those which touched me deeply."

The composer found such insight in Alexander Pushkin's intimate drama and novel in verse, "Eugene Onegin" (1833), which has gone down in cultural history as the "Encyclopedia of Russian Life". In it Pushkin masterfully describes the life of contemporary society of the time and all its diversity. With his eponymous hero, he created for the first time what would later be called a "superfluous man", a recurring archetype of Russian literature.

The fame of this newer style conflicted with the opera’s initial reception – especially in Russia itself. Despite the immediate appreciation of its music, he was perceived as having corrupted a cultural monument of national literature. Amongst some of those who rejected the piece of work, were none other than Ivan Tolstoy, who sent a horrified letter during the year of its premiere ("Imagine: Pushkin's verses about the characters put in his mouth!"). Similar comments were made by Vladimir Nabokov, who tirelessly castigated Tchaikovsky's "slapdash opera" in commentaries published in 1964 on his translation of Pushkin's novel. The success of what likely continues to be one of the most famous Russian operas – apart from "Boris Godunov" – was initially delayed by the backlash of critiques. In present times, we are able to give the play justice and see its aesthetic and dramaturgical autonomy, which is not exhausted by its certainly extraordinary musical beauty.

Tchaikovsky starts his adaption with the famous letter scene of Tatjana Lárina, a landowner's daughter who escapes from the confines of her circumstances into literary fantasy worlds. Her character identifies herself with the heroines of the epistolary novels, while simultaneously throwing all rules of the genre out the window by making the first move as a woman and declaring her love to a man. But Onegin, a confident dandy incapable of committing, who was brought from the capital city to the estate next door to the Lárins’ for matters of inheritance, coolly rejects her love: in reaction to her passionate self-revelation he gifts her a sermon. On Tatjana's name day, he vents his bad mood in reaction by provoking his only friend and confidant, the young poet Lenski, shooting him nolens volens in the ensuing duel. After these events, Onegin travels aimlessly throughout the world. Three years later he meets Tatjana again as an admired hostess of a Petersburg salon by the side of a highly decorated general. In witnessing this scene, Onegin realises that he has missed his opportunity of finding happiness in his life. As an ironic twist, it is now Onegin who feels the pain of rejection.

The epic model of this play led to special theatrical solutions that, at the time, had not yet been available or seen in traditional operas. This can already be witnessed in the composer’s choice of genre designation: Lyrical scenes in three acts. The loosely constructed narrative makes it barely possible to distinguish between the main characters and those who are secondary characters. Even if the musical parts are weighted differently, attention is drawn just as much to Tatjana's fun-loving sister Olga, her fiancé Lenski and her mother Lárina, with an ear also lent to the bitter life story of Tatjana's old nurse and even a minor figure like Saretzki, the second in the fatal duel, is precisely portrayed. One single appearance in the last act is ample enough to have Tatjana's husband Greminan give a lasting impression.

The director and set designer, Dmitri Tcherniakov has created a hermetic classicistic dining room, in which a timeless inside event takes place. Here, the central set element stands: a long dining room table. This prop is used as a place for shared festive enjoyment of life, making the inescapable alienation of the characters that much more tangible. In this play, the viewer experiences how two figures are thrown off course by their love afflictions: Tatjana, who was on the brink of being hospitalized and had already fallen silent before Onegin's rejection, and the poet Lenski, who is driven into a deadly duel with his once-admired friend by the loss of his childhood love Olga, who had turned away from him inwardly and was also caught up in the maelstrom of his attractive companion Onegin.

Premiere of this production: 29 March 1879, Maly Theatre, Moscow

Eugene Onegin is an opera ("lyrical scenes") in 3 acts (7 scenes), composed by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. The libretto, organised by the composer himself, very closely follows certain passages in Alexander Pushkin's novel in verse, retaining much of his poetry.

Venue Info

Vienna State Opera - Vienna
Location   Opernring 2

The Vienna State Opera is one of the leading opera houses in the world. Its past is steeped in tradition. Its present is alive with richly varied performances and events. Each season, the schedule features 350 performances of more than 60 different operas and ballets. The members of the Vienna Philharmonic are recruited from the Vienna State Opera's orchestra. The building is also the home of the Vienna State Ballet, and it hosts the annual Vienna Opera Ball during the carnival season.

The 1,709-seat Renaissance Revival venue was the first major building on the Vienna Ring Road. It was built from 1861 to 1869 following plans by August Sicard von Sicardsburg and Eduard van der Nüll, and designs by Josef Hlávka. The opera house was inaugurated as the "Vienna Court Opera" (Wiener Hofoper) in the presence of Emperor Franz Joseph I and Empress Elisabeth of Austria. It became known by its current name after the establishment of the First Austrian Republic in 1921. The Vienna State Opera is the successor of the Vienna Court Opera, the original construction site chosen and paid for by Emperor Franz Joseph in 1861.

The opera house was the first major building on the Vienna Ringstrasse commissioned by the Viennese "city expansion fund". Work commenced on the house in 1861 and was completed in 1869, following plans drawn up by architects August Sicard von Sicardsburg and Eduard van der Nüll. It was built in the Neo-Renaissance style by the renowned Czech architect and contractor Josef Hlávka.

Gustav Mahler was one of the many conductors who have worked in Vienna. During his tenure (1897–1907), Mahler cultivated a new generation of singers, such as Anna Bahr-Mildenburg and Selma Kurz, and recruited a stage designer who replaced the lavish historical stage decors with sparse stage scenery corresponding to modernistic, Jugendstil tastes. Mahler also introduced the practice of dimming the lighting in the theatre during performances, which was initially not appreciated by the audience. However, Mahler's reforms were maintained by his successors.

Herbert von Karajan introduced the practice of performing operas exclusively in their original language instead of being translated into German. He also strengthened the ensemble and regular principal singers and introduced the policy of predominantly engaging guest singers. He began a collaboration with La Scala in Milan, in which both productions and orchestrations were shared. This created an opening for the prominent members of the Viennese ensemble to appear in Milan, especially to perform works by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Richard Strauss.

Ballet companies merge

At the beginning of the 2005–2006 season, the ballet companies of the Staatsoper and the Vienna Volksoper were merged under the direction of Gyula Harangozó.

From the 2010–2011 season a new company was formed called Wiener Staatsballet, Vienna State Ballet, under the direction of former Paris Opera Ballet principal dancer Manuel Legris. Legris eliminated Harangozós's policy of presenting nothing but traditional narrative ballets with guest artists in the leading roles, concentrated on establishing a strong in-house ensemble and restored evenings of mixed bill programs, featuring works of George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, Jiří Kylián, William Forsythe, and many contemporary choreographers, as well as a reduced schedule of the classic ballets.

Opera ball

For many decades, the opera house has been the venue of the Vienna Opera Ball. It is an internationally renowned event, which takes place annually on the last Thursday in Fasching. Those in attendance often include visitors from around the world, especially prominent names in business and politics. The opera ball receives media coverage from a range of outlets.

Important Info
Type: Opera
City: Vienna, Austria
Starts at: 18:30
Acts: 3
Intervals: 1
Duration: 3h
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