The Kennedy Center

Lensky's Aria (arranged for cello & orchestra)

About the Work

Painting of Tchaikovsky Composer: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
© Peter Laki

Lensky's Aria from Eugene Onegin, op. 24
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Born May 7, 1840, in Kamsko-Votkinsk, Vyatka province, Russia Died November 6, 1893, in St. Petersburg

Kudá, kudá, kudá vy udalílis, vesný moyéy zlatýe dni?
Where, oh where have you vanished, golden days of my springtime?

With these words, the young poet Vladimir Lensky approaches the site where he is to fight a duel with his best friend Eugene Onegin--a duel in which he, Lensky, will be killed. This poignant moment from Pushkin's verse novel became a celebrated tenor aria in Tchaikovsky's opera, an eloquent expression of the character's premonitions of death, as well as his undying love for his fiancée, Olga.

Mischa Maisky has discovered that Lensky's wonderful melodic line (at once passionate and tender) works extremely well on the cello. The result is the present rendition, where the powerful emotions of the music come through even without the words.