Eugen Onegin //
arranged by André Kassel for chamber music ensemble · Musical scenes in three movements · lyrics by Konstantin S. Schilowski based on the text by Alexander S. Pushkin · In Russian and German
True emotions and sensitive psychological profiles of his protagonists, disconnected from all external drama – this is what Tchaikovsky had in mind while developing his »musical scenes« based on Pushkin’s epic poem »Eugen Onegin«. As he put it, »I want nothing of those elements of so-called Great Opera. I’m looking for an intimate, but forceful drama which arises from the conflict of circumstances, which I’ve experienced and seen myself, a conflict which truly touches me.«
With its unique atmosphere and changeable rooms, the E-Werk promises both intimacy and integrity. Reason enough to open our new chamber-opera series at the E-Werk with a chamber-musical version of Tchaikovsky’s »Eugen Onegin«, a piece, which at its core unites different concepts of love and examines the emotional world of its protagonists. How do feelings arise? How are they produced, suppressed or blocked?
Tatyana, a simple girl from the country, falls in love with the big-city playboy Onegin. She confesses her love to him in a letter, but he brusquely turns her down and begins an affair instead with her fun-loving sister Olga, with whom his friend Lensky is enamoured. The conflict results in a duel between both men, which ends with Lensky getting shot. Years later, Onegin meets Tatyana at a ball thrown by Prince Gremin, with whom Tatyana is now married. Onegin immediately falls in love with the glamorous young woman, but she remains faithful to her husband. And though she still has feelings for Onegin, she turns him down.
In contrast to Pushkin, who focused mainly on Onegin’s existential and social identity, Tchaikovsky’s adaptation highlights the character of Tatyana and her development from a romantic dreamer to a self-confident lady. Her passionate, but morally driven behaviour forms the ideal image of a Russian woman. Integrating traditional folk music, Tchaikovsky evokes a uniquely Russian atmosphere.
Nina Gühlstorff completed her studies as a director in Theatre and Music Theatre at the Bavarian Theatre Academy in Munich in 2001. Since then, she has directed productions at numerous theatres, including Dresden, Magdeburg, Dessau, Mannheim, Osnabrück, Basel and Berne. In Oldenburg, she directed Verdi’s »Aida«. In 2004, she began intensively developing documentary theatre projects, like the »The Third Way – A Theatrical Demonstration« at the Theaterhaus Jena and the German-Israeli co-production »They call me Jeckisch« at the Theater Heidelberg/Beit Lessin, Tel Aviv.