The penultimate in our series of opera trivia looks at Tchaikovsky‘s opera Eugene Onegin.
1. The idea of basing an opera on Pushkin’s novel Eugene Onegin was not one of Tchaikovsky’s, but a suggestion from a friend, the Russian mezzo-soprano Yelizaveta Andreyevna Lavrovskaya.2. In 1892, the first performance in Hamburg of Onegin was conducted by Gustav Mahler.
3. Whilst working on Onegin, Tchaikovsky was also composing his Fourth Symphony.4. The sketches of Eugene Onegin were never found, however we know from Tchaikovsky’s letters that he had sent a draft to his close friend Nadezhda von Meck. 5. Tchaikovsky worried that Eugene Onegin would “never become established as a staple of the opera repertoire in major theatres”. How wrong he was! According to operabase.com, Eugene Onegin is the 18th most performed opera in the world.