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New Productions of Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin in Lucerne and Brussels Use Bärenreiter's New Revised Edition

Sep. 26, 2022

New Productions of Tchaikovsky's <em>Eugene Onegin</em> in Lucerne and Brussels Use Bärenreiter's New Revised Edition

Shortly after Bärenreiter's publication of the new revised edition of Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin, two European opera houses have already secured options for first performances. The Lucerne Theatre will begin the season on September 30 with a new production conducted by Jesse Wong and staged by Bettina Oberli, followed by the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels onJanuary 29, 2023. Here, chief conductor Alain Altinoglu and the renowned French director Laurent Pelly will form the artistic leading team.

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin
 is probably the most frequently-performed Russian opera. But its success was not assured from the outset. Now, the opera has been published by Bärenreiter in an edition reflecting the latest state of research, taking into consideration the somewhat complicated history of its composition. Written under challenging circumstances, the composer could not anticipate Eugene Onegin's enduring appeal and in 1878, he wrote to his publisher, "This opera was written in wholly unusual circumstances. I do not wish to lobby for it to be performed on the grand stage; in general, it does not seemed destined to enjoy great success on the stage, so for this reason I will accept nothing from you for it."

Bärenreiter's new edition of Eugene Onegin finally corrects the many mistakes and inconsistencies in previous editions of the score. It follows the 1885 Saint Petersburg version which can be regarded as the final authorized version since Tchaikovsky prepared it for the second edition of the score published by Jürgenson in 1891. For this, he thoroughly revised the dynamic and tempo indications and provided metronome markings; including the Ecossaises nos. 20–21 in the third act. In addition, the autograph which is preserved in the Glinka Museum has been consulted. The performance material from the Mariinsky Theatre had previously been thought to be lost. It was only in autumn 2021 that it was rediscovered in the Archive of the Saint Petersburg Michailowski Theatre and an overview of it presented at a conference. The material is based on the Saint Petersburg performance of 1884 and contains the alterations made in 1885.

The score published by Bärenreiter-Verlag carefully modernizes the text of the main source with regard to orthography and punctuation. For international use, the score is underlaid with Cyrillic and a standardized transcription in Latin letters, together with a new German translation by Peter Brenner which closely follows the rhythm of the original version, at the same time remaining as close as possible to the meaning. The score has a detailed foreword on the genesis and reception of the work in three languages, and a separately printed libretto follows the text underlaid in the score. A vocal score and orchestral parts are in preparation and will shortly be available on hire.

(Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky/Lensky's aria "Kuda, kuda, vi udalilis" from Eugene Onegin/
Pavol Breslik, tenor/The Royal Opera)

Learn more about the history of Eugene Onegin and the genesis of the new edition here.

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Eugene Onegin, Op. 24.
Lyrical Scenes in Three Acts (7 Scenes)
Libretto (Ru) by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and Konstantin Shilovsky after Alexander Pushkin. 
Transliteration by Christoph Flamm. 
German translation by Peter Brenner. 
With an Introduction by Lucinde Braun.
Characters: Larina, lady of the manor (mezzo-soprano), Tatyana, her older daughter (soprano), Olga, her younger daughter (contralto), Filippyevna, a nanny (mezzo-soprano), Eugene Onegin (baritone), Lensky, a poet, his friend (tenor), Prince Gremin (bass), Captain (bass), Zaretsky, a second (bass), Triquet, a Frenchman (tenor), Guillot, Onegin’s valet (non-speaking role) – choir (SSAATTBB)
Orchestra: pic.
Publisher: Alkor-Edition Kassel.