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Onegin


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#16 JMcN

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 08:54 AM

Onegin is the production that turned me on to ballet. With a spare evening in London and no other shows we fancied we booked to see London Festival Ballet performing Onegin on the basis of a review we had seen in the Liverpool Echo. Prior to this performance I was really into contemporary dance and thought ballet was boring! On 26th May 1984 I was totally converted! I didn't realise till years later just whom we had been privileged to watch and it's no wonder that I was converted. We saw Marcia Haydee and Richard Cragun in the leading roles with Maurizio Belleza and Lucia Truglia as Lensky and Olga. Michael Pink (now AD in Milwaukee) was Gremin.

Because of that night, to this day Onegin is my favourite ballet and between 1984 and 1990, I saw performances with LFB - now ENB nearly every year. I then had a gap but have since seen it performed by RB, NBC, RDB and POB. I think that because I hold the production in so much affection I can't remember any performances that I haven't enjoyed but some have been more memorable than others. Apart from that first time, I loved Natalia Makarova with Alexander Sombart (still my favourite Onegin) and also Lynn Seymour and Eva Evdokimova (again with Alexander Sombart). I was also lucky to see one performance at RB with Alina Cojocaru and Johan Kobborg. We were very fortunate to see one of Kenneth Greve's final performances with Gudrun Bojesen.

This is one ballet that really suits a mature dancer as Tatiana and I vaguely recall that there was some surprise when Alina Cojocaru was cast in her early 20s. The performance I saw proved why she is such a great artiste.

I hope SFB and ABT audiences enjoy this ballet as much as I have done over the last 20-odd years.

#17 annamicro

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 10:13 AM

This is one ballet that really suits a mature dancer as Tatiana and I vaguely recall that there was some surprise when Alina Cojocaru was cast in her early 20s. The performance I saw proved why she is such a great artiste.


I totally agree. This pdd was filmed when Alina Cojocaru was just 23

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UcbABeadE_A&list=FLIAEv-PgvhSwOne2vElOMtw&index=1&feature=plpp_video

to my taste it has been surpassed only by Cojocaru and Kobborg in later shows.

Onegin is also in my pesonal list of favourites ballet. It needs great dance actors and unfortunately can seem a poor thing when the dancers are not able to shows all the interpretative details. It seems also more suited to some companies than to others: I'm always disappointed watching clips coming from a certain European major company.
Lets' hope that the Americans will have a great result in it!!!

#18 Hamorah

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 11:09 AM

I first saw Onegin with Maximova in 1989 at the London Colliseum. I can't say that I remember much about the actual ballet, but I will never forget Maximova. She was 50 and danced like a young girl. She was amazing. I did not see it again live until in 2001 the Israel Ballet was given permission by the Cranko foundation to mount it. I am proud to say that I was approved to play the nurse, even though I am shorter than they normally like to have! Having performed in it now tens of times, I have to say that it's a very special ballet. The company rented the costumes and sets from the Berlin Opera and they are beautiful. I have heard criticism that the Royal Ballet's version has sets that are rather dark and heavy, ours are not and when the curtain rises on the 2nd ballroom scene in the palace, there is always applause. The sets are huge and the only place therefore where there is room for side of the stage storage of them is the large Tel Aviv Performing Arts Centre. The scenic effects are very impressive and require long technical rehearsals for the stage staff.

There is actually a lot of dancing in it for the corps and that too required a great deal of rehearsal to get it perfect for the Cranko foundation. One of the most impressive parts for the corps is the Russian peasant dance, which starts with the men leaping and showing off and finishes with an amazing run across stage, in which the men run and with one hand help the women do a series of split grand jetes across the stage. They exit from the downstage corner and run like mad to the upstage corner to start the run again to the opposite side. Anyone waiting in the wings has to get very hurriedly out of the way not to get trampled on in the rush!

My favourite piece is the final dramatic pas de deux (even more than the dream scene pas). It is simply so tragic and so moving that even the dancers come and watch it from the wings every performance, at least ours do! For many of the performances we had a Russian guest star, who was/is an incredible Tatiana. She finishes the final scene in tears and so does the audience. The irony of her tearing up Onegin's letter as he once tore up hers is pure theatre. I can hear the powerful music now as he holds on to her legs and drags himself after her along the floor. It sends shivers up my spine. Also extremely dramatic is the duel scene and Lensky's solo before it. What is nice too is that all this drama is broken with some nice touches of comedy in the first ballroom scene with the old people. That is such fun to do - I can "ham" my head off!

The weakest link as far as I am concerned is the extra long pas de deux in the first scene with Lensky and Olga. It has a whole piece of the choreography repeated, which is one of the things that irritate me about Cranko's choreography. It's a beautiful pas de deux, but too long.

We have had other guest artists dancing the leading roles and although I prefer our Russian ballerina, the performances are still very successful, so I would say that yes great artists can lift the performance more, but it is never boring and always an impressive ballet with gorgeous music. We once did a closed afternoon performance for school children. I remember they started off with whistles and cat calls when Lensky came out in his white tights, and were very restless, but they gradually got swept in by the story and the drama and by the end of the very long three act ballet they were so quiet you could hear a pin drop, until suddenly they burst out in a storm of applause. It was quite something to experience.

#19 annamicro

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 12:02 PM

IThe company rented the costumes and sets from the Berlin Opera and they are beautiful. I have heard criticism that the Royal Ballet's version has sets that are rather dark and heavy, ours are not and when the curtain rises on the 2nd ballroom scene in the palace, there is always applause.


London Royal ballet is using Jürgen Rose sets and costumes, so more or less the original ones; the darker version, absolutely too dark!, in my opinion is the Pierluigi Samaritani and Roberta Guidi di Bagno one, used by La Scala and Rome Opera: especially the last scene in Gremin's home is quite dark and funereal.
The Royal Ballet of Flanders is using the lighter (both because of the luminosity and because the stage is quite empty) version I've seen, by Maren Fisher and Thomas Mika (as far as I know this version was initially produced especially for Far East companies).

#20 esperanto

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Posted 03 February 2012 - 04:19 AM

I saw Onegin with [font=helvetica, arial, sans-serif][size=4] Marcia Haydee and Richard Cragun when they brought it for the first time to NY. The audience went wild. It was wonderful. The first act dancing amazed everyone. when the "peasant" dancers all cam on it reminded me of the Moiseyev. I also saw the Canadian version (on tape or dvd). I would have liked the music to be the same as that of the opera but it was not to be.[/size][/font]

#21 innopac

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Posted 02 August 2012 - 01:44 PM

"Turning into Tatiana" by Evan McKie
Dance Magazine
August 2012

http://national.ball..._August2012.pdf


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