The letter scenes in Eugene Onegin

The Letter Scenes in Eugene Onegin

Letters can play all kinds of parts in the cultural arts, including painting, sculpture and music as well as novels and poetry et cetera. Some of their appearances can be definitional of a piece of work, and so it is with the two letters that much of the action revolves around in Tchaikovsky‘s opera, Eugene Onegin. A young girl, Tatiana, sings the outpourings of her heart as she drafts and re-drafts a letter to a man, Eugene Onegin, she is in love with, one of the few attempts to explore the process of writing a letter, rather than invoking the finished object. When he reads of her love, he rejects it and, brokenhearted, she marries elsewhere. Later, he meets her again and realises he loves her. He sends her a letter, followed by a visit. In this second letter in the opera, he tells of his love. But too late! He comes to her, and in an emotionally charged scene she is tempted but rejects his overtures. She is unwilling to be unfaithful to her husband. While this final scene in the opera is incredibly powerful, from the viewpoint of letters what is most interesting is the earlier rendition of the process of producing a letter and the complex relationship between what is in the mind and what is put on paper or its proxy. Go to https://youtu.be/d56MMagyMXs

Last updated: 11 August 2022


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