Eugene Onegin (1879) is a Tchaikovsky opera based on Alexander Pushkin's verse novel of the same name. The eponymous hero is from St Petersburg, although the majority of the novel is set in the Russian countryside and later in Moscow. The story concentrates on the ill-timed love between Onegin and Tatyana, the daughter of a country neighbour.
The verse form of the original novel provided the basic libretto for Tchaikovsky's opera; the story of Onegin's life is so well known in Russia that the music presents highlighted scenes from the hero's life, with no continuous storyline. The Grand Waltz opens Act II, staged at Tatyana's name day party. Onegin, having rejected her, flirts with her sister Olga who is betrothed to his best friend. This is Onegin's last moment of triumph, his last dance as a youthful dandy before his life falls into tragedy and disappointment. As Onegin waltzed with Olga, his friend Lensky grows increasingly jealous and eventually challenges him to a fatal duel. Only Walser's intervention can temporarily save the neglected and jealous tigress from a similar fate in the face of the Princess' pistol.