Synopsis: Onegin Ballet

April 9, 2013

Ballet choreographed by John Cranko for the Stuttgart Ballet
Music of Tchaikovsky
Premiered in 1965

Act I

Young sisters Tatiana and Olga dance in the garden, playfully imagining in a mirror the faces of the men they will love.

The poet Lensky, who is engaged to Olga, arrives from St. Petersburg with his friend, Onegin. Tatiana falls in love with Onegin, the aloof stranger who views her as nothing more than a naive and provincial girl.

Tatiana writes a love letter to Onegin, to be delivered by her nurse, and dreams that Onegin shares the sentiment.

Act II

During Tatiana's birthday celebration at which Lensky and Onegin are in attendance, Tatiana anxiously awaits Onegin's response to her letter. Annoyed by what seems to him to be an adolescent infatuation, he rebukes her, tearing up the letter in her face. Adding to the insult, he begins to flirt with Olga. Lensky, who is hurt by the betrayal of his friend and his beloved, challenges Onegin to a duel.

Tatiana and Olga plead with Lensky to stop, but the humiliation by the action of his friend is too much to bear. He insists that the duel proceed. Onegin kills Lensky and is overcome by the callousness he finally sees in himself.


Ten years later, Tatiana is now married to Prince Gremin. Broken by the horror and guilt of his past, Onegin unexpectedly appears at a ball at their house.

Onegin has penned a letter to Tatiana revealing that he truly loves her. Despite the memory of the adolescent love she once had for him, Tatiana tells him that it is too late. Their roles now reversed, Tatiana tears up the letter.

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