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Anna Netrebko as Tatiana and Peter Mattei as Onegin in Tchaikovsky's "Eugene Onegin."
Courtesy of Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera
Anna Netrebko as Tatiana and Peter Mattei as Onegin in Tchaikovsky's "Eugene Onegin."

Airs Sunday, Aug. 27, 2017 at Noon on KPBS TV

Tchaikovsky’s Enduring Masterpiece "Eugene Onegin" With Anna Netrebko and Peter Mattei Comes to GREAT PERFORMANCES AT THE MET

Anna Netrebko reprises one of her most acclaimed roles as Tatiana, the naïve heroine of Tchaikovsky’s opera, adapted from Pushkin’s classic verse novel. Peter Mattei stars as the title character, who rejects Tatiana’s love until it’s too late. “Eugene Onegin” airs on GREAT PERFORMANCES AT THE MET on PBS.

S44 Ep24: GMET: Eugene Onegin - Preview


"Anna Netrebko stars as Tatiana

Robin Ticciati, music director of Glyndebourne Festival Opera, conducts the revival of Deborah Warner’s staging. Alexey Dolgov sings the role of Onegin’s friend-turned-rival, Lenski, with Elena Maximova as Tatiana’s sister, Olga, and Štefan Kocán as Prince Gremin.

The opera received its world premiere at the Maly Theater, Moscow, 1879 in a student performance. The professional premiere occurred at the Bolshoi Theater in 1881.

Tchaikovsky’s many moods — tender, grand, melancholy — are all given free rein in “Eugene Onegin.”

Anna Netrebko in Tatiana's letter scene

The opera is based on Pushkin’s iconic verse novel, which re-imagines the Byronic romantic anti-hero as the definitive bored Russian aristocrat caught between convention and ennui; Tchaikovsky, similarly, took Western European operatic forms and transformed them into an authentic and undeniably Russian work.


At the core of the opera is the young girl Tatiana, who grows from a sentimental adolescent into a complete woman in one of the operatic stage’s most convincing character developments.

Mariusz Kwiecien sings Onegin's Aria (Kogda bi zhizn)

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840–1893) enjoyed tremendous fame during his lifetime as a composer of symphonic music and ballets. His operas have achieved a steadily growing popularity outside of Russia.

The libretto for "Eugene Onegin" was largely put together by the composer himself, with help from his brother Modest (1850–1916) and others.

The source of the libretto is the mock-epic verse novel of the same name by Alexander Pushkin (1799–1837), whose position in Russian literature can be compared only to that of Shakespeare in English.

Pushkin presents a vast overview of old Russian society around 1820, which Tchaikovsky’s original score neatly divides into each of its three acts: from the timeless rituals of country life to the rural gentry with its troubles and pleasures and, finally, the glittering imperial aristocracy of St. Petersburg.

The Met’s production places the action in the later 19th century, around the time of the opera’s premiere.

Soprano Renée Fleming hosts the broadcast.

S44 Ep24: Lenski's Aria

"Alexey Dolgov sings Lenski's Act II aria in Tchaikovsky’s enduring masterpiece


Critics enthused about this production:

The New York Times observed, “The charismatic baritone Peter Mattei sounded lustrous as the title character, vividly conveying Onegin’s transformation from the aloof, coldhearted bachelor who patronizingly rejects Tatiana to the heartbroken man who realizes, too late, that he loves her.”

And The Huffington Post said “Netrebko, singing at the top of her power, is a natural for the role of Tatiana … Robin Ticciati conducted the excellent Met Orchestra in an inspired reading of the score … A poignant and anguished account of lost love.”


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Peter Mattei as Onegin in Tchaikovsky's "Eugene Onegin."
Courtesy of Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera
Peter Mattei as Onegin in Tchaikovsky's "Eugene Onegin."


GREAT PERFORMANCES AT THE MET is a presentation of THIRTEEN Productions LLC for WNET. Production: Deborah Warner. Set Designer: Tom Pye. Costume Designer: Chloe Obolensky. Lighting Designer: Jean Kalman. Video Designers: Ian William Galloway, Finn Ross. Choreographer: Kim Brandstrup. Revival Stage Director: Paula Williams.

For the Met, Gary Halvorson directs the telecast. David Frost is music producer. Mia Bongiovanni and Elena Park are supervising producers, and Louisa Briccetti and Victoria Warivonchik are producers. Peter Gelb is executive producer. For GREAT PERFORMANCES, Bill O’Donnell is series producer; David Horn is executive producer.

Anna Netrebko as Tatiana in Tchaikovsky's "Eugene Onegin."
Courtesy of Marty Sohl/Metropolitan Opera
Anna Netrebko as Tatiana in Tchaikovsky's "Eugene Onegin."