People who are desperate to show just how seriously they take ballet are sometimes snooty about John Cranko’s Onegin, a classic case of Getting It Wrong.
On opening night, National Ballet of Canada’s Jason Reilly was parachuted in to cover for the injured Johan Kobborg as Onegin, Tatiana’s unrequited crush, and he’s an elegant dancer, in that long-legs and silken turns way, playing the urban interloper as refined, mildly condescending and increasingly unsympathetic
Cranko’s corps de ballet dances lack character: they’re neither classical setpieces nor chances for storytelling. More attack and focus could lift these numbers, but the Royal Ballet corps move dutifully through the Russian dances and ball scenes. They’re not helped by the music, a patchwork of Tchaikovsky arranged by Kurt-Heinz Stolze.