The opera Eugene Onegin is based on Aleksandr Sergeyevich Pushkin’s famous novel in verse, with a musical score by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. You may watch the Russian soprano Anna Netrebko perform a scene from this work in the video below from the Metropolitan Opera. Keep in mind that opera is a beautiful art form of its own, but it’s not intended to be realistic like a 21st-century movie, nor is it intended to be purely a musical performance. Like modern musicals, it frames beautiful music in a story setting, creating something that can be funny, moving, or simply hair-raisingly beautiful. One of the purposes of Excellence in Literature is to help you learn about literature in its cultural context, and opera combines the best of music and drama to create an unforgettable experience.
Video Credits: Excerpt from Tatiana’s Letter Scene (“Puskai pogibnu ya”) from Act I of Tchaikovsky’s “Eugene Onegin.” Anna Netrebko (Tatiana). Production: Deborah Warner. Conductor: Valery Gergiev. Opening Production of the 2013–14 season.