In November 1836, irritated by the French lieutenant Georges-Charles de Heeckeren d’Anthès’ importunate attentions towards his wife, the beautiful Natalia Nicolaïevna Gontcharova, Alexander Pushkin challenged his rival to a duel. Beneath a snow-laden sky on the evening of February 8th 1837, the Russian poet, at the height of his glory, was hit by a bullet, costing him his life. Curiously, the same scene had been related in his verse novel, Eugene Onegin, published six years earlier. Inspired by this masterpiece of Russian literature, Tchaikovsky’s opera provides a sublime portrait – both ironic and sympathetic – of a character embittered by society life, rejecting love out of vanity, killing his friend the poet Lenski out of pride and spending the rest of his days in abject despair. A repertoire classic, Willy Decker’s streamlined production makes the Paris Opera echo once more to the strains of Russian romantic music. Edward Gardner conducts an exceptional cast including Peter Mattei in the title role and Anna Netrebko as Tatiana.