Tchaikovsky’s Onegin was considered a defamation of Pushkin. In his opera, the composer transformed Pushkin's ironic passages into direct speech and the heroes of the novel in verse, dear to the Russian reader, find a voice. Contrary to opera canons, Tchaikovsky abandoned the idea of large-scale sound, historical background and theatrical effects. For the first time, the opera featured private feelings and private life. When the opera was first performed in 1879, as little as fifty years separated the heroes from the audience.
Directors follows the composer's remarks. However, in the Ural Opera’s production time unfolds not linearly, but in a spiral. ‘Modernity cannot be ruled out in the theatre, but you can imagine that bygone times continue to be with us. You can enter into a dialogue with the past.’ This is how the heroes of the Pushkin era and our contemporaries meet on the stage, and actors participate on a par with singers.
This meeting takes place in a birch grove. Set Designer installed fifty seven real birch trees and also used antique furniture. ‘When a performer touches a real object on stage, we see their touch as our own. This does not happen when props are used. A real thing lives a life — it has scratches and scars and it is full of secrets. Objects on the stage line up in a real timeline, starting from the bed of the late 18th century to the Viennese chairs that used to stand in the boxes of the Ekaterinburg Theater and now have become part of the production.’