“With shame and terror” Tatiana writes her fateful letter to Onegin.
Russian winters may be cold, but the Russian heart can blaze with passion. The famous letter scene is the smoldering heart of Eugene Onegin. Tchaikovsky’s music and Pushkin’s poetry complement each other as perfectly as vodka and caviar.
Tatiana Larina, an introverted teenager who devours romantic novels, is swept off her feet by Eugene Onegin, a wealthy and reclusive bachelor who lives nearby. Although Onegin pays her only the minimum of polite attention during their brief encounter, Tatiana’s imagination runs wild, and by evening she is convinced that the two of them were meant for each other. Unable to sleep, she writes Onegin a fervent love letter, which was a scandalous thing for a young woman in her position to do.
Soprano Renée Fleming reveals Tatiana’s secret passion in the great, great scene excerpted in the video below (2.03 minutes).
These excerpts are from a February 2007 Metropolitan Opera performance, with Renée Fleming as Tatiana, Dmitri Hvorostovsky as Onegin, Ramón Vargas as Lensky, and Sergei Aleksashkin as Gremin. Valery Gergiev conducted the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. The performance is available on DVD from Decca.