On her country estate Larina and her old servant Filipyevna listen
to the singing of her daughters Tatyana and Olga. Olga’s suitor Lensky arrives unexpectedly and introduces his friend Eugene Onegin. They are invited to stay to dinner.
Later Tatyana stays up all night writing a love letter to Onegin. She begs Filipyevna to deliver it and anxiously waits for a reply.
Onegin himself arrives bringing her letter back. Though touched, he is not yet ready for marriage. It might be better to control her feelings – another man might take advantage of her.
At Tatyana’s name day party Onegin is bored out of his mind.
To keep himself entertained he flirts with Olga. Lensky grows insanely jealous and soon the situation is out of hand. Lensky challenges Onegin to a duel.
At dawn Lensky has time to reflect – Onegin is late. Though both men are reluctant to duel there is no going back. Onegin kills his best friend.
Onegin spends several years abroad. On his return to St Petersburg he attends a ball. His old friend Prince Gremin has taken a new young wife. When they are introduced Onegin recognises the Princess as Tatyana. He is besotted.
Tatyana refuses to reply to his letters, Onegin bursts in on her, begging her to run off with him: they are meant for each other. Tatyana cannot resist her turn to lecture. There is no way out.