Hello to all,
Does anybody know if the original version of Evgenii Onegin has ever been
With the 'original version' I mean the one performed by his students at
the Moscow Conservatory, without the revised third act, and with a much simpler
orchestration than the one we know now...
If on top of the score edition there should be a recording available that
would be even better : )
The Tchaikovsky Handbook, vol. 1 (2002), pp. 47–48 provides
a full account of Tchaikovsky's revisions to the opera:
"Before the first production of the opera in March 1879, Tchaikovsky changed
Onegin's last words in the final scena of Act III (No. 22, bar 396), from
"O smert, o smert! Idu iskat' tebial" ("Oh death, oh deth, I seek thee!")
to "Pozor, toska, o zhalkii zhrebii moi! (Shame, disgrace, oh my pitiful fate!).
For some reason this change was not made in the first edition of the vocal-piano
and full scores which Jurgenson published at the end of 1878.
In October 1880, Chaikovskii also rewrote Tatiana's words in the final
scena of Act III (No. 22, from bar 363), and made some alterations to the
stage directions to exclude the entry of Prince Gremin.
For a revival of the opera in 1885, Ivan Vsevolozhskii asked the composer
to insert an Ecossaise into the first scene of Act III (letter 2751).
According to a note in Modest Chaikovskii's diary, this addition was composed
and scored on 22 August 1885. The Ecossaise appears twice: firstly
in No. 20, where it replaced 28 bars of earlier material (after bar 28), and
again at the close of No. 21 (from bar 75).
While Jurgenson was preparing a new edition of the score in June and July
1891, Chaikovskii introduced further changes to the opera, with alterations
to many of the tempo markings. He also made cuts in Act II (No. 16: bar 36
was rewritten, the following 13 bars were excised, and the next 6 bars of
Lenskii's part were rewritten) and in the Polonaise in Act III (No. 19: bars
41–48, 106–113, 124–131 were deleted)."
Tom Huygens was interested in a recording of the pre–1885 version of
I have not come across a complete earlier version, but I have one where
two pieces, deleted in 1885 are preserved.
In 1958 the Lenfilm studio in Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg) produces a
movie-opera "Eugene Onegin". The leading part of Tatiana was superbly
performed by Ariadne Shengelaya and sung by Galina Vishnevskaya. The film
director-script writer Roman Tikhomirov introduced a number of cuts
to 1885 score, essential to convert a theatrical libretto into a movie
Thus the peasant dances are not in the script and arias of the Nanny
and that of Prince Gremin are much shorter than in the libretto. He
had however inserted into his script two short passages from the 1879
The first insertion is in the Scene 1, Act 2 (the Valse at the country
ball). The scene portrays a Tatiana's birthday party. When she comes
downstairs to greet her guests, a small female chorus sings:
||Our wishes of happiness
|Shchast'lya zhelaem vahm.
||We wish you be happy.
The second 1879 insertion is much longer. It is in the Scene 1 Act 3.
It takes place during the Ecossaise. The sounds of the dance fade and are
overtaken by a small mixed chorus that sings:
|Skazhite kto v tolpe izbrannoi
||Who is he who amid this splendor
|Stoit bezmolvnyi i tumannyi?
||Stands silent and enigmatic?
|Kto on takov? Uzhel Onegin?
||Who is he? Isn't he Onegin?
||Yes, of course.
|Vse tot zhe'l on?
||Is he the same?
||Has he calmed down,
|Il korchit takzhe chudaka?
||Or still poses as a madcap?
|Skazhite kem on vozvratilsya?
||Tell us what is he now?
|Chem on predstavitsya poka?
||What image would he assume for a time
|Mel'motom, kosmopolitom, patriotom?
||That of Melmoth*, cosmopolitan,
|Garoldom il khanzhoi?
||Child-Harold or doody?
|Il maskoi shchegolnet inoi?
||Or would he smart another guise?
|Il prosto budedt dobryi malyi?
||Or would he be just a good guy?
* Melmoth—the main character from the novel "Melmoth the Wanderer" by
Charles R. Maturin (1780—1824).
This opera-movie has been re-recorded on DVD by the Kultur Video, and
is available in the NTSC format from Amazon and perhaps from
Russiandvd.com or eBay.
The sharpness is average, the colour and sound are very good.
I've just seen the post where you say:
"While Jurgenson was preparing a new edition of the score in June and
July 1891, Chaikovskii introduced further changes to the opera, with
alterations to many of the tempo markings."
As it happens, I had a look earlier today at the Russian 1953 vocal
score of 'Onegin', and was struck by the fact that in every footnote I saw
pointing out that the autograph had a different tempo marking, the
'original' marking was *slower* than the published one! How on earth can
that be...?!? How can a composer decide that almost everything
'needs to be faster'....?!? As I say, I only had a few minutes to look
through the score, so undoubtedly I missed a lot, and my impression might
not be altogether accurate; but I'm certainly intrigued: would you happen
to know if anyone has written in detail about Tchaikovsky's tempi
here — or about his relationship to tempo and the metronome in
Thanks for all thoughts!
Just thought everybody would be interested in this: