Batsuchan

Onegin - Spring 2012

46 posts in this topic

WOW! Vishneva and Gomes were unbelievable tonight! abatt said it before, and I'll say it again--they are an incredible partnership! I feel totally emotionally spent!

Osipova was the perfect vivacious soubrette as Olga. With their pale, pale skin and dark hair, she and Vishneva truly looked like sisters--one perky, with a grin from ear to ear, and the other deeply beautiful but melancholic. Jared Matthews made a charming Lensky.

I very much enjoyed the almost classical pas de deux between Tatiana and her husband (played by Gennadi Savaliev) in Act III. With the numerous supported promenades and the Tchaikovsky score (and the crown on her head!) it almost felt like something out of Sleeping Beauty!

But OH, those pas de deux between Tatiana and Onegin!! Vishneva really threw herself into them with everything she had, and Gomes was always there to catch her and whip her around in an eruption of anguished passion. BRAVO, BRAVO, BRAVO!!!

Will be interesting to see the other casts, but I'm not sure they can top this!!

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I forgot to mention that the sets and costumes are absolutely GORGEOUS!! Beautiful!

The house was packed tonight, which was a nice contrast to all the empty seats at "The Bright Stream" last week...

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Diana's red gown at the ball and the dark emerald one at the end were absolutely gorgeous. The act I pdd was rapturous, OMG. And Jared Matthews got to dance with two of the world's top prima, at the same time!! Tonight's cast really set the bar extremely high for the ones that follow.

I wish Cranko would use the polonaise music from the opera for the ball scene. When was ABT doing this ballet last time?

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Thank you for the reviews, and I look forward to many more! I was actually in tears because I could not get to NY to see this ballet. The youtube clip of Alina Cojocaru and Johan Kobborg in the final scene is one of the most powerful pieces of performance I have ever seen, and I would so love to see this in person. I am keeping fingers crossed that ABT will bring this ballet to DC.

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Was last night role debuts for Diana and Natasha?

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Yes both Natasha and Diana made role debuts. Both Irina Dvorovenko and Julie Kent did Tatiana in the 2001 and 2002 performances. Maria Riccetto was one of the Olgas back then too. Xiomara Reyes was another Olga in her first season with the company. Susan Jaffe was also a Tatiana back then but last night danced Madame Larina - made me feel a little old... I kept trying to see Alessandra Ferri as Tatiana but I think she canceled both seasons. Angel Corella, Ethan Stiefel and Vladimir Malakhov were three of the Lenskys.

Later at a gala, Ferri and Bocca danced the third act pas de deux where Tatiana rejects Onegin many years later. It burned up the stage. I wished ABT had paired them in the entire ballet.

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Alina has danced Tatiana? I wondered whether it's in her repertoire! Yes, let's hope if she comes back next summer ABT will cast her in a revival. It goes without saying that she would make a lovely Olga, too.

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Alina has danced Tatiana? I wondered whether it's in her repertoire! Yes, let's hope if she comes back next summer ABT will cast her in a revival. It goes without saying that she would make a lovely Olga, too.

She has danced both Tatiana and Olga, in fact.

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Alina has danced Tatiana? I wondered whether it's in her repertoire! Yes, let's hope if she comes back next summer ABT will cast her in a revival. It goes without saying that she would make a lovely Olga, too.

I think Tatiana is one of Cojocaru's best roles (I love especially the way she not only spiritually but also physically changes in the last act and the desperate and “violent” way she and Kobborg dance the last pdd – her Olga is lovely but obviously far less interesting, in the last two runs at Royal Ballet she even didn’t dance it), but a guesting is extremely unlikely: as far as I know a policy requires that Onegin is danced only by members of the company or guests from Stuttgart sad.png (it was made an exception for a single benefit show in favour of Royal Ballet of Flanders, danced by Cojocaru and Kobborg). A real pity: the next year Onegin will be back at the Royal Ballet and I’d have loved to see Gomes as a guestwub.png ...I hope to read more about his Onegin (and maybe also to see some clips on youtube: I’m confident he could become a favourite of mine, together with Kobborg and Moreau).

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I kept trying to see Alessandra Ferri as Tatiana but I think she canceled both seasons.

Ferri did perform it at one point with ABT. I remember seeing her perform it with Guillaume Graffin at the Met one season. From what i recall, it was not an ideal pairing, and I agree that it's a shame that Ferri/Bocca never performed it together.

It must have been several years ago, though. The other cast that I saw that season was Julie Kent/Robert Hill.

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I kept trying to see Alessandra Ferri as Tatiana but I think she canceled both seasons.

Ferri did perform it at one point with ABT. I remember seeing her perform it with Guillaume Graffin at the Met one season. From what i recall, it was not an ideal pairing, and I agree that it's a shame that Ferri/Bocca never performed it together.

It must have been several years ago, though. The other cast that I saw that season was Julie Kent/Robert Hill.

I did not see any of these performances, but I know that Marcelo danced with Alessandra Ferri in "Onegin" at some point--he was a last-minute replacement.

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I saw the Julie Kent/Roberto Bolle performance last night. This ballet needs a lot of dramatic voltage from the dancers to make an exciting evening. It doesn't play itself. Kent and Bolle are lovely dancers but took too long to catch fire - it was too little, too late. Especially in comparison with Vishneva/Gomes on Tuesday night. Kent was lovely and wasn't unconvincing from a distance as a teenager. But her Act I and II Tatiana was very quiet and introverted without the intensely repressed emotion that Vishneva (and Haydée and Makarova and Ferri and...) brought to the role. She was shy, lyrical and small-scale. Very natural, truthful and subtle but not intense. I didn't get a sense of wild new emotions straining to break free. Whereas Vishneva suggested a rich inner life under the surface, Kent seemed dull and prim. The role's choreographic demands are well within Kent's current physical capabilities - there is not a lot of sustained dancing especially at the beginning. In the pas de deuxs she is lifted a lot.

Roberto Bolle basically has a warm, understated sympathetic personality on stage. Bolle is not the kind of performer who transforms himself into the character like Gomes or Bocca did. He works from his own very glamorous and charismatic personality and if it fits the role, then all is good. He is very much the Prince onstage - essentially gracious. He is imposing but unthreatening. His Albrecht is not really a cad and as Onegin he tried hard to be one but no cigar. In the first act, Bolle smiled too much especially when he is dancing with Tatiana - it is automatic with him, he is very much the gallant with his partners. His tall, dark good looks fit the Byronic image to perfection and his dancing was wonderfully clear, expansive and controlled. But the emotional darkness of the character wasn't there - he played the cruel actions but didn't seem to be feeling them or knowing where they come from. So what he did to Tatiana seemed random and offhand. It struck me that his temperment is better suited to Lensky but who would you cast as Onegin with him?

Now Pushkin's Onegin is a complex character - he is young, very bored and Tatiana's actions are actually very aggressive for a woman of that time. The woman, especially a virtuous young one, is not supposed to take the initiative with a man. And for a woman of her class a declaration of love means marriage - something that Onegin at that time - dependent on a sick uncle - cannot decide for himself. So his cool return of the letter could be seen not as a callous rejection but a brotherly admonition from someone who at that time is not interested in or able to enter into marriage. Cranko makes him into a sadistic male tease who enjoys leading Tatiana on and then cutting her dead.

Anyway both Kent and Bolle did their best work in the last act as the mature regal Tatiana and the repentant, truly amorous Onegin. Kent danced the Act III pas de deux with Prince Gremin with a swan-like grace and tenderness with beautiful supported promenades and arabesques. Kent also subtly suggested the conflicting emotions that tore Tatiana apart in the final scene with Onegin where she rejects him. Having more positive and vulnerable emotions to play worked to Bolle's favor and he seemed genuinely repentent and sincere. Suddenly the two seemed to be sparking off of each other and the emotion was at the right level. But then the ballet was over.

Just a note - all the lifts and partnering worked very well. The problem with their Letter/Dream Onegin pdd at the opening night gala was not only a lack of rehearsal but the stage was too shallow. Here Kent and Bolle were better rehearsed and had the whole stage to traverse whereas at the opening night gala they only had the front third of the Met stage to work with. Also I think this pas de deux needs to be rehearsed on the actual stage itself which it might not have been at the gala.

The rest of the cast was fine. Jared Matthews stepped in as Lensky again replacing Blaine Hoven and did well. In his Act III solo there were a few shaky moments which weren't present in his excellent opening night performance. Maria Riccetto was a good Olga with lovely clear footwork and turns but less ballon and vivacity than Osipova (a really hard act to follow). Roman Zhurbin was very sensitive and warm as Prince Gremin and an excellent partner. Martine Van Hamel as Mme. Larina and Nancy Raffa as the Nurse are always welcome presences on the stage and added a touch of character and class to their limited assignments. Decent but far from filled house.

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Now Pushkin's Onegin is a complex character - he is young, very bored and Tatiana's actions are actually very aggressive for a woman of that time. The woman, especially a virtuous young one, is not supposed to take the initiative with a man. And for a woman of her class a declaration of love means marriage - something that Onegin at that time - dependent on a sick uncle - cannot decide for himself. So his cool return of the letter could be seen not as a callous rejection but a brotherly admonition from someone who at that time is not interested in or able to enter into marriage.

In Pushkin, the uncle is dead and Onegin is rich by the time Onegin and Tatiana meet. Also, in Pushkin, he never returns her letter. He keeps it until the end of the novel.

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In the Tchaikovsky opera (which I know better than the novel), Onegin discusses the Uncle as if he is alive. Also, in both the opera and the ballet, Onegin returns Tatiana's letter.

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Now Pushkin's Onegin is a complex character - he is young, very bored and Tatiana's actions are actually very aggressive for a woman of that time. The woman, especially a virtuous young one, is not supposed to take the initiative with a man. And for a woman of her class a declaration of love means marriage - something that Onegin at that time - dependent on a sick uncle - cannot decide for himself. So his cool return of the letter could be seen not as a callous rejection but a brotherly admonition from someone who at that time is not interested in or able to enter into marriage.

In Pushkin, the uncle is dead and Onegin is rich by the time Onegin and Tatiana meet. Also, in Pushkin, he never returns her letter. He keeps it until the end of the novel.

The novel/poem is very different. I have only read it in English, but my memory is that at the end Tatyana has moved on completely and finds his declaration of love at the end almost silly and sad b/c it is from a totally different time in her life. The gist is that she's grown up and moved on, while he has realized her worth and how she is now higher in status than he is and now finds her amazing. Maybe I have this wrong, but that is my memory. Tchaikovsky's opera and the Onegin ballet sentimentalizes the story and makes Tatyana basically regret the missed opportunity in life and still has love for him. I actually prefer the Pushkin ending (if my memory serves me correctly). It is more devastating to Onegin, b/c he doesn't have a chance with her at that point, and Tatyana gets sweet revenge! LOL

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But what makes her revenge all the better is that she's not trying to get revenge. She's simply grown up and moved on and has no feelings for him. That is my memory of the poem.

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I've only seen the opera at the Met Opera, with Dimitri Hvorostovsky as Onegin and Renee Fleming. I enjoyed the performances and the opera very much and was very moved by the acting. Hvorostovsky, in particular, was perfect for Onegin. I understand that Netrebko may be a future Met Tatiana.

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FauxPas and Bart, Henry Spalding’s translation of Pushkin’s novel is part of Project Gutenberg:

http://www.gutenberg.org/cache/epub/23997/pg23997.txt

Charles Johnston’s translation can also be found online.

Chapter 1, stanza XLVI says that his uncle was dead by the time Onegin arrived from St Petersburg.

Chapter 8 (last chapter), stanza XX says that he kept Tatyana’s letter.

Sorry Bart, your recollection of the final scene from Pushkin is wrong. When Onegin enters, she is weeping over his letter (Chapter 8, Stanza XXXIX). In the final scene (stanzas XXXIX-XLVII) she admits that she still loves him.

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Would love to hear about Seo-Hallberg cast if anyone sees it...

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Would love to hear about Seo-Hallberg cast if anyone sees it...

Also Dvorovenko-Stearns, please.

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I've only seen the opera at the Met Opera, with Dimitri Hvorostovsky as Onegin and Renee Fleming. I enjoyed the performances and the opera very much and was very moved by the acting. Hvorostovsky, in particular, was perfect for Onegin. I understand that Netrebko may be a future Met Tatiana.

Tatyana's Letter Scene is the best. It is a fairly unusual scene (very long and almost more arioso after arioso as opposed to a structured aria), but it is very touching. Netrebko is trying to take on more grown up roles and get away from the Adina and Norina type roles. I rather like Netrebko.....nice, dark sound....she'd probably make a great Tatyana.

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FauxPas and Bart, Henry Spalding's translation of Pushkin's novel is part of Project Gutenberg:

http://www.gutenberg...997/pg23997.txt

Charles Johnston's translation can also be found online.

Chapter 1, stanza XLVI says that his uncle was dead by the time Onegin arrived from St Petersburg.

Chapter 8 (last chapter), stanza XX says that he kept Tatyana's letter.

Sorry Bart, your recollection of the final scene from Pushkin is wrong. When Onegin enters, she is weeping over his letter (Chapter 8, Stanza XXXIX). In the final scene (stanzas XXXIX-XLVII) she admits that she still loves him.

I did go to Wikipedia and read the summary and noticed that I am mistaken, but for some reason I remember a much less anguished response. I wonder why. Maybe it was my state of mind when I read it. I do think that she was a lot more steadfast and less anguished than the opera or ballet, but maybe again that was just my interpretation of what I read. Maybe the poem conveys the societal constraints a little more whereas the opera and ballet focuses more on the romance. Who knows? For some reason the way I read the poem years ago (when I was barely out of college and now I am 45) was that there was absolutely no way she was going to start an affair with him, whereas in the opera and ballet you think Onegin has a chance of succeeding. Don't know why I felt that way. I will have to go back and reread.

The one leitmotif that I wish Cranko would have used in the music was Tatyana's "Are you a devil or an angel?" theme when she writes her letter. It is one of the most beautiful themes in music. I understand why they wanted to use other music so that the ballet does not compete so much with the opera, but that one theme should have been used.

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Tonight was another memorable, heartbreaking night of Onegin. Vishneva and Gomes were enthralling - especially in the final gut wrenching scene. I also thought that Jared Mathews added some more nuance to his role as Lensky compared to MOnday night. Peter Martins was in the audience, checking out the competition.

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I do think that she was a lot more steadfast and less anguished than the opera or ballet, but maybe again that was just my interpretation of what I read. Maybe the poem conveys the societal constraints a little more whereas the opera and ballet focuses more on the romance. Who knows? For some reason the way I read the poem years ago (when I was barely out of college and now I am 45) was that there was absolutely no way she was going to start an affair with him, whereas in the opera and ballet you think Onegin has a chance of succeeding.

This is correct. Tatyana of the book is quite a bit different from the opera and ballet. She is absolutely very steadfast in the book, and it is very clear that there is no possibility of an affair (he unsuccessfully pursues her for several months before their final meeting). However, it is also very clear that she loves him---this makes the final chapter very moving.

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