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SFB - Onegin Casts and Reviews


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#1 PeggyR

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Posted 21 January 2012 - 05:33 PM

San Francisco Ballet Program 1 - Onegin


Onegin - SF Ballet Premiere
Choreography: John Cranko
Composer: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, arranged and orchestrated by Kurt-Heinz Stolze

[size=4]Onegin--Opening Night - Friday, January 27, 2012 - 8:00 PM[/size]
Vitor Luiz* Maria Kochetkova*

Onegin - Saturday, January 28, 2012 - 2:00 PM
Davit Karapetyan* Vanessa Zahorian*

Onegin - Saturday, January 28, 2012 - 8:00 PM
Ruben Martin Cintas* Yuan Yuan *

Onegin - Sunday, January 29, 2012 - 2:00 PM
Pierre-Francois Vilanoba* Sarah Van Patten*

Onegin - Tuesday, January 31, 2012 - 8:00 PM
Vitor Luiz Maria Kochetkova

Onegin - Wednesday, February 01, 2012 - 7:30 PM
Davit Karapetyan Vanessa Zahorian

Onegin - Thursday, February 02, 2012 - 8:00 PM
Pierre-Francois Vilanoba Sarah Van Patten

Onegin - Friday, February 03, 2012 - 8:00 PM
Ruben Martin Cintas Yuan Yuan Tan

* Denotes premiere in role for current production.
All casting subject to change.




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#2 PeggyR

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Posted 28 January 2012 - 06:45 AM

Using one finger on iPad keyboard, sorry for bad typing.

What to say about opening last night? I guess, "where has John Cranko been all my ballet-going life?" sums it up. They can trot this one out in place of a warhorse (except Giselle) any time. Just beautiful -sets, costumes, music... And crranko's choreography isn't inventive just for the sake of showing off another tricky combination or lift (and oh my goodness, those lifts!); it's inventive in pursuit of character.

SFB dancers looked very good in this. Kochetkova proved herself as an actress...she looked exhausted at the curtain calls and no wonder. Corps dancer Clara Blancos olga was beyond adorable and beautifully danced; loved her pretty solo in the first act.

But this one is about the men. Early on I thought vitor Luiz looked stiff rather than bored, and there wasn't much passion in the fantasy mirror pdd during the letter scene, but he loosened up in the second act and was very good in the final, passionate Pdd with Tatiana.

And then there's Gennadi Nedvigen's extraordinary Lensky, who very nearly stole the show. I had been surprised to see that Lensky is a principl role - until I saw what he had to dance (actually, i thought Lensky had the best choreography). Not just the emotional intensity, but hard (make that italic and bold faced) choreography - that glorious solo before the duel...wow.

Definitely a 'must see'. Today I'm seeing afternoon-Karapetyan/Zahorian, and tonight-Martin Cintas/Tan then next week -Villanoba/VanPatten (this one has Isaac Hernandez as Lensky, which should be something). Never thought I could face the prospect of seeing the same ballet three times in two days (ant ballet not called 'Giselle')...but i cant wait to see this again.

Have to thank iPad for correcting some spelling mistakes, although it kept try to change pdd into PDF.

#3 Quiggin

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Posted 29 January 2012 - 03:57 PM

This is a pleasant ballet with beautiful sets (it includes the Emporium dome!), nice transitions, the corps dancing at a very high level, and on Saturday afternoon, a fine Onegin in Davit Karapetyan who also looks the part, coolish and enigmatic, and a Tatiana whose character Vanessa Zahorian couldn’t seem to get a purchase on. There was a brilliant mid-point, sort of a center column, in Lensky’s solo, beautifully measured out by Taras Domitro - understated, all of one piece, not a shred of excess or falseness.

The John Cranko choreography had lots of lifts and flourishes but as you looked into it, it seemed fairly simple, with little wit and few interesting contrasts to take home with you and think about afterwards. It was set mostly to a musical patchwork quilt of Tchaikovsky pieces that never stayed in one place for long, and a significant stretch of Francesca di Rimini at the end, Dante making a guest appearance.

The problem is that the ballet treats Pushkin like Shakespeare and Onegin like Romeo and Juliet, when it’s closer to Jane Austen and to Lawrence Sterne in tone (Nakokov thinks also to Andrew Marvell). The novel has many shifts and ironical strands and often doesn’t know what to think about any of its characters. Pushkin himself is a character, comes into rooms, picks up and reads letters, arrives at the ballet theater before Eugene, where he falls in to reveries about the old days of Didelot and Istomina, with her “swift small” beating feet, and “sweet Lihutina” (there are many digressions on feet).

In the novel, Lensky is a dreamy, German school poet, not terribly good at it, Gremin is described as fat or corpulent and Tatiana doesn’t meet or speak to Onegin before she impetuously writes her letter - she only observes him from a distance and really only discovers what he was like by going through the books in his library well after he has left the scene. Eugene Onegin perhaps was, Pushkin says, “an insignificant phantasm ... a glossary of other peoples megrims, a complete lexicon of words in vogue ... Might he not be, in fact, a parody?”

*

After PeggyR's account I would like to see the Luiz & Kochetkova cast to see the ballet from a bit of a different angle. Tatiana doesn't seem to give much to the dancer to bite onto as a character. At one point in the original - it was written and published in chapters over several years - Olga and Titania were the same.

#4 Eshana

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 01:09 AM

As a big fan of Ms. Tan, can anyone who attended her 'Onegin' performances share some details about how she was? All the online reviews seem to be on the Kochetkova/Luiz and Zahorian/Karapetyan pairings, so I'd appreciate any feedback on Tan/Martin. I know Tatiana has long been a dream role for Ms. Tan, and after seeing her wonderful dramatic turn in the black pas de deux from John Neumeier's 'Lady of the Camellias' (http://yue.cntv.cn/n...26/100061.shtml - about 16:30 in), I'm really curious as to how well she tackled the equally dramatic role of Tatiana. I'd especially like to know how Tan and Martin related to one another as they've been paired together a number of times before, and I've always found their shared dynamic quite intriguing. Just how well did the audiences receive the 'Onegin' runs which featured Ms. Tan?

Much thanks in advance!

#5 PeggyR

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 06:45 AM

As a big fan of Ms. Tan, can anyone who attended her 'Onegin' performances share some details about how she was? All the online reviews seem to be on the Kochetkova/Luiz and Zahorian/Karapetyan pairings, so I'd appreciate any feedback on Tan/Martin. I know Tatiana has long been a dream role for Ms. Tan, and after seeing her wonderful dramatic turn in the black pas de deux from John Neumeier's 'Lady of the Camellias' (http://yue.cntv.cn/n...26/100061.shtml - about 16:30 in), I'm really curious as to how well she tackled the equally dramatic role of Tatiana. I'd especially like to know how Tan and Martin related to one another as they've been paired together a number of times before, and I've always found their shared dynamic quite intriguing. Just how well did the audiences receive the 'Onegin' runs which featured Ms. Tan?

Much thanks in advance!

Hi Eshana:

I was lucky enough to see Yuan Yuan as Tatiana, and, as you might expect, she was very beautiful and very good. The audience loved her, as they always do – she’s VERY popular here. Here are some thoughts about the performance as a whole.

To be very honest, although I’ve always liked Martin Cintas, many of us felt he was miscast as Onegin (many heated intermission discussions about this, because we all like him but were disappointed in his performance). He danced beautifully, as always, but he simply didn’t suffer from Onegin’s boredom and ennui; he seemed more like a dreamy young man who should have his nose in a book of poetry – really, a perfect match for the dreamy Tatiana. As a result, his rejection made no sense, and his flirting with Olga and the duel all seemed hopelessly out of character.

On the other hand, Tan’s sweet and unworldly Tatiana was a delight. Tan is so beautiful and aristocratic that, I think sometimes it’s a little hard for audiences to believe her as a peasant (her first act Giselle is a good example; she should be living in that castle, not the two-timing Albrecht). But, as one of the dancers said in an interview in the program book, everything is there in the choreography, and Tan made the most of it.

It was really in the third act, though, where she truly came into her own. Her pas de deux with Gremin (sorry, I’m at work and don’t have the dancer’s name at hand) was incredibly lovely and tender. Tan’s gorgeous lines and liquid, sweeping style were a perfect match for the choreography. But what really stood out what the last scene: she has seen Onegin at the ball and now she’s in her boudoir reading his letter. She’s at her desk with her back to the door when Gremin comes in to say goodbye; he touches her shoulder gently, which startles Tatiana and I swear Tan jumped a foot. All the other Tatianas were startled, but nobody shot out of her chair like Tan. It was a marvelous little bit of acting that in that one movement showed how everything had changed for her after the tenderness and affection of the pas de deux with her husband: how frayed her nerves were and how tormented she was by Onegin’s return.

So, it was a fine performance, marred somewhat by a less than ideal Onegin.

Sorry, I’ve got to get to work! Hope to hear from you again.Posted Image

#6 Eshana

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 06:42 PM

Thanks muchly for the review, Peggy!

I think Gremin was danced by Damian Smith, which would explain Tan's good connection with him since he's her favourite partner. I'm a little disappointed that Martin Cintas wasn't a great Onegin, as he looked good in the promotional clips and his chemistry with Tan looked strong. After having watched Alina Cojocaru and Johan Kobborg in the scene where Tatiana rejects Onegin on YouTube, I was just imagining how gorgeous Tan and Martin Cintas would've looked going through all those passionate embraces and lifts. Posted Image Perhaps I shouldn't be surprised at how Martin Cintas was received, though, as I read a review on another board which mentioned that he was so uppity that he came across as unintentionally funny. Posted Image

But I'm so glad that Tan did well. I've always been blown away by how aesthetically beautiful her dancing is but then I've also read many complaints about how cold she is in performance. Well, after seeing the pdd I linked above (how I envy those of you who were at the recent gala!) as well as 'The Little Mermaid' and 'After the Rain', I find it hard to believe that the same criticism still holds true. And after recently seeing a broadcast of 'Othello' where she was mostly all sweetness and light, I'm even more impressed at how dramatically intense she has now become. When you pair emotion with the panache and beauty that Tan is known for, that pretty much makes for the ideal dancer in my book.

I really do hope that all of SFB's 'Onegin' performances were filmed (even if for private use), so that I can at least go about with the hope that one day I'll get to see them. Posted Image

#7 PeggyR

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 06:19 AM

But I'm so glad that Tan did well. I've always been blown away by how aesthetically beautiful her dancing is but then I've also read many complaints about how cold she is in performance.

Hi Eshana:

I think she’s a dancer who needs to be ‘given’ the character; as mentioned above, in Onegin, everything is there in the steps, which I think is also true of The Little Mermaid, where she was very good too (I haven’t seen Otello). In more abstract roles she can be very chilly; even Odette, where the ballerina has to bring much of the emotion to the standard classical steps is less successful for her. On the other hand, that ‘chill’ works for Giselle Act II, where, combined with the lightness and beauty of her dancing, she creates a genuine other-worldly quality that's very lovely. I’ve often wondered if she might not be an interesting, if unconventional, Myrtha…

Oh, well, back to work!


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