Madame Larina lives on her estate with her daughters—the ever-cheerful and carefree Olga, and the forlorn yet romantic Tatiana. When Olga’s fiancé, the poet Lensky, arrives with his friend Eugene Onegin, a mysterious dandy with all the trappings of a man of the world, Tatiana immediately falls in love with him. That very evening, she writes a passionate letter to him, however, Onegin coldly rejects her.
During a ball celebrating Tatiana’s birthday, Onegin tries provocatively to woo Olga, thus fuelling the jealousy of Lensky. The latter, feeling betrayed, goes so far as to challenge his friend to a duel. However, the following morning, it is he who succumbs to the first bullet from Onegin’s pistol…
The years pass. One evening, Onegin attends a high-society reception in Saint Petersburg and by chance stumbles upon Tatiana who has since married Prince Gremin. Onegin falls hopelessly in love with her: he writes to her to express his feelings for her and tries to win her over again. Although Tatiana’s passion for him is rekindled she firmly rejects his advances: her honour as a wife will be unsullied. She leaves Onegin alone and in despair.