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The art of letter writing may be a dying one, but in Tchaikovsky's operatic adaptation of Alexander Pushkin's novel Eugene Onegin, the plot hinges on an impassioned missive. Tatiana, a romantic young country girl of good standing, meets the world-weary Eugene and is immediately stricken by the thunderbolt of true love. She pours her heart out in a letter and then has it delivered (it's like hitting "send," but it involves a servant and an aria) to him. Eugene reads it and agrees to meet her, and then completely rejects her and her emotions as childish; he compounds his rudeness by sticking around the family estate to attend a party held in Tatiana's honor so that he can hit on her younger sister, Olga. Olga is the fiancée of his friend, Lensky, and this is an insult Lensky can not brook. He renounces their friendship and challenges Eugene to a duel, and Lensky doesn't come out the winner. Ah, Eugene; you've scorned a noble young woman's love, you've fired on her sister, and you've literally fired on your best friend. Have you never heard of "what goes around, comes around"? Eugene Onegin is either Russia's greatest Romantic or its greatest fool, or maybe both. Opera Theatre of Saint Louis continues its 2010 season with Eugene Onegin, which is performed at 8 p.m. Saturday, May 29, at the Loretto-Hilton Center (130 East Edgar Road; 314-961-0644 or, and six more times in repertory through Sunday, June 27. Tickets are $25 to $117.
Sat., May 29, 2010

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