The garden on the Larins’ estate. In the distance, Tatiana and Olga can be heard singing. Listening to them, Mrs Larina and Filippievna the nanny recall their own younger days. Visitors appear unexpectedly: Vladimir Lensky, the Larins’ neighbour and Olga’s fiancé, has brought with him his friend Onegin – a young man recently come down to the country from the capital. While Lensky declares his love to Olga, the new visitor chats with Tatiana. The nanny notes how excited Tatiana is at the meeting.
Tatiana’s bedroom. Tatiana cannot sleep. Filippievna tries to dispel her anxiety with the tale of her own maidenly status. Once alone, Tatiana writes a letter to Onegin. With the arrival of dawn, she asks the nanny to deliver the letter.
The Larins’ garden. Tatiana anxiously awaits a reply. Eugene appears – he is touched by her declaration but is unable to return her love.
The Larins’ house. A ball in honour of Tatiana’s name day. Lensky has convinced his friend to visit the Larins, but the party and the guests serve to irritate Onegin. In revenge, he begins to play court to Olga. The readiness with which the young woman accepts his attentions drives Lensky to despair. He starts a quarrel with Onegin and challenges him to a duel.
An abandoned mill. Lensky and his second await the arrival of Onegin. Lensky mournfully and nostalgically contemplates the former “golden days” of his youth. At last the rival comes. The former friends are willing to forget any offence caused, but ideals of honour gain the upper hand. A shot rings out and Lensky drops down dead.
A room in a luxurious mansion in St Petersburg. Following a lengthy absence, Onegin returns to live in the capital. He finds Tatiana a married woman, now at the centre of attention having taken her place in high society. Her husband Prince Gremin speaks to Onegin of his happiness. The transformation of the young woman he knew awakens feelings of love in Onegin’s heart.
The drawing-room in Gremin’s house. Weeping, Tatiana reads Onegin’s letter. Suddenly he himself appears. With passionate prayer, Onegin succeeds in extracting a confession that she still loves him. But Tatiana’s decision is resolute: she will remain faithful to her husband.