Romantic Role Reversal: Tchaikovsky's "Eugene Onegin"


THE HIT SINGLE: "Lensky's Aria"

The opera's most famous bit of music arrives late in Act Two.  While he waits for Onegin to arrive for their duel, Lensky (tenor Sergey Skorokhodov) sings a desperate aria, recalling the old days and hoping Olga will remember him if things turn out badly. (As the act ends the melody is heard again, tellingly, as Lensky lies dying in the snow.)

THE B SIDE: "Onegin's Rejection"

The opera's first pivotal moment is one that's not often excerpted:  the callous response of Onegin (Artur Rucinski) to Tatyana's heart-felt love letter.  His rejection is delivered with a suave confidence that's also selfishly indifferent to the genuine love Tatyana has offered him.  He even ends the monologue by condescendingly advising her that she must "learn to control your emotions."