Best friends destined to duel. Young lovers destined to part.

Eugene Onegin is the La Bohème of Russia. This is a new production, directed Kevin Newbury, who directed Galileo Galilei for Portland Opera in 2012. When Tatiana’s world is first interrupted by Onegin, it is the early 1980s. By the time she meets him again in St. Petersburg it is 1990 – a year after the fall of communism. This setting raises the stakes for the two young lovers and their friends, and it provides a modern context for Tchaikovsky’s “seven lyrical scenes,” with themes that truly are universal and contemporary.

Sung in Russian with projected English texts.

The running time for Eugene Onegin is approximately two hours and forty five minutes, with one intermission.

Download the Newmark Theatre seating map.

View the digital edition of the Eugene Onegin program.



Jennifer Forni


Abigail Dock


Aaron Short


David Warner


Alexander Elliott


Konstantin Kvach


Anders J Tobiason


Erik Hundtoft


AnDee Compton

Madame Larina

Allison Swensen



Nicholas Fox


Kevin Newbury

Scenic Designer

Daniel Meeker

Costume Designer

Alison Heryer

Lighting Designer

Connie Yun

Plot & Program Notes


With EUGENE ONEGIN, Tchaikovsky attempted the overthrow of just about every convention of 19th-century Russian opera. In fact, he was careful NOT to call his work an opera, but rather “seven lyrical scenes.” It begins with a simple orchestral introduction, rather than a grand overture with a slam-bang ending. The story focuses on the relationships between a quartet of young lovers, very much like La Bohème. The prevailing mood throughout blends drama with an intimate and conversational tone.

When Tchaikovsky planned its premiere, he knew exactly what he wanted— a staging in a small theater, a flexible scenic design that would do away with conventional spectacle, a chorus that could act, and, above all, soloists who could truly inhabit the emotional world of youthful and impetuous lovers. In a surprise maneuver, he gave the rights for its premiere to the Moscow Conservatory, whose graduate students performed it in the city’s 950-seat Maly Theatre.

Today we still associate Tchaikovsky with the spectacular, the grandiose, and, sometimes, the bombastic. For our EUGENE ONEGIN, however, we will return to the finely honed dramatic sensibility of the opera’s premiere. Our cast will feature performers who can believably portray the youthful central quartet; our staging in the 850-seat Newmark Theatre will offer the kind of inspired simplicity and directness that Tchaikovsky sought and that you will find to be a revelation.