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I went to see Onegin some years ago with Hee Seo and David Hallberg and I really didn't like it; I think I may have even left at intermission.

 

Now that some time has passed and there are decent, cheap rush tickets available, I'm thinking of giving it another shot on Wednesday afternoon (Abrera/Stearns/Trenary/Gorak/Hammoudi), which is the performance most convenient for me.

 

I'd love to hear thoughts, from those who appreciate this ballet, what you particularly like about it. What does it most have going for it? Perhaps if I go in with the right mindset I'll appreciate it more. Thanks!

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I would read Pushkin.  If you love it you will love the ballet.   

 

Edited by Mazurka
Comment referred to opera staging not the ballet

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I don't think reading Pushkin helps. I also wouldn't choose Stearns as my Onegin. I would go for the Ferri/Bolle or Vishneva/Gomes casts. It's all about the drama with Onegin; you need good dance actors.

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Thanks, Mazurka and kbarber. I've never read the Pushkin, but I do love the Tchaikovsky opera. I'm not a fan of Stearns precisely because he's so often dramatically inert –– but unfortunately that's the only time I can go! I do love Abrera, though.

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I find it very apt on the part of the scenographer  that the curtain opens on another transparent one with a facsimile of Pushkin's poem.

 

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2 minutes ago, nanushka said:

Thanks, Mazurka and kbarber. I've never read the Pushkin, but I do love the Tchaikovsky opera. I'm not a fan of Stearns precisely because he's so often dramatically inert –– but unfortunately that's the only time I can go! I do love Abrera, though.

You may know this already, but the Onegin ballet does not use the music from the Onegin opera.

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This will be my first time seeing Onegin, and I will also be seeing Stearns/Abrera on Saturday.  I was supposed to see Vishneva/Gomes but I got stuck covering call.  Now I'm wondering if I should find someone to cover me so I can see Vishneva/Gomes.  I don't want to make the trip in twice in such a short period though, so that would mean missing Abrera.

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8 minutes ago, abatt said:

You may know this already, but the Onegin ballet does not use the music from the Onegin opera.

 

Yes, I recall that, though I see in ABT's repertory listings that it is arranged from Tchaikovsky. Anything particularly noteworthy?

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Onegin is very evocative of a certain time and place.  Maybe hard to find a good translation,  I would stick to the old one by Nabokov, with his adnotations.  This is a beloved/iconic book that generations grow up with in that part of the world.  "happiness was so near..."  KBarber is right very important who dances the male lead.     

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To Kaysta:  Go see Vishneva Gomes.  Get someone to cover for you, and give them a big present.  YOu should not miss this pairing.

Edited by abatt

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The first ABT ballet I saw was Onegin with Gomez and Vishneva - I was cought in the spell of ABT forever - I was very lucky

here is a nice trailer:

 

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This ballet doesn't have that much actual dancing in it. You're best off grabbing one of the few Vishneva/Gomes tickets left, or Ferri/Bolle.

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I saw Vishneva/Gomes the last time Onegin was performed by ABT at the Met--I think 2013. There is not much memorable dancing. It's all about the intensity and drama of the relationship between the two principals. Lots of backbends, twists and turns in each other's arms, much emoting. V and G were perfect together. I don't see Cory Stearns capable of that much expressed emotion, although I expect Abrera will be able to emote her role well. Because I can get to NY for only a couple of performances this spring, I decided against Onegin b/c I had already seen the best a few years ago. So my advice echoes others who have responded--try to see V and G if you can b/c it's all about the emotion and connection between the two, not the dancing. 

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3 hours ago, nanushka said:

I went to see Onegin some years ago with Hee Seo and David Hallberg and I really didn't like it; I think I may have even left at intermission.

 

Now that some time has passed and there are decent, cheap rush tickets available, I'm thinking of giving it another shot on Wednesday afternoon (Abrera/Stearns/Trenary/Gorak/Hammoudi), which is the performance most convenient for me.

 

I'd love to hear thoughts, from those who appreciate this ballet, what you particularly like about it. What does it most have going for it? Perhaps if I go in with the right mindset I'll appreciate it more. Thanks!

I am weighing in as a person who never liked the ballet. It could be, nanushka, that it's just not your thing. I am not much of a full length story ballet fan unless there is a lot of dancing. This ballet has a lot of drama but as CTballetfan wrote, not a lot of memorable dancing. If dancing is what you are looking for skip it. If you are looking for drama and intensity, expressed with partnering and acting go for it. I'm sure Abrera and Sterns will do a good job.

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I saw Stearns paired w. Dvorovenko during the last run of Onegin, and thought it was the weakest and least satisfying of all the casts ABT had during the run.

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2 hours ago, nanushka said:

I see in ABT's repertory listings that it is arranged from Tchaikovsky. Anything particularly noteworthy?

 

Cranko and Kurt-Heinz Stolze deliberately avoided Tchaikovsky's most famous pieces. You may recognize selections from The Seasons, and the final scene is based on Francesca da Rimini. The first-act duet is based on the unfinished "Romeo and Juliet Duet" (bedroom scene), which was completed by Taneyev. There are several selections from Cherevichki.

Edited by volcanohunter

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48 minutes ago, vipa said:

I am weighing in as a person who never liked the ballet. It could be, nanushka, that it's just not your thing. I am not much of a full length story ballet fan unless there is a lot of dancing. This ballet has a lot of drama but as CTballetfan wrote, not a lot of memorable dancing. If dancing is what you are looking for skip it. If you are looking for drama and intensity, expressed with partnering and acting go for it. I'm sure Abrera and Sterns will do a good job.

 

Yeah, I think I may just skip it, then. Stearns is at his best, in my opinion, when he's actually dancing. It's all the rest of the time that he just comes across as kind of a blank. I imagine he'd do well as the aloof Onegin in the first half –– although, as I recall, even then there's the bedroom dream scene where he's meant to be giving her more. Although I do have a fondness for the full-length story ballets and not only the "pure dance" works (I love ABT and NYCB about equally these days), I'm definitely in it first and foremost for the real dancing.

 

Thanks, all, for the input!

Edited by nanushka

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I got to love this ballet 30 years ago, when the Natl Ballet of Canada toured it to the Kennedy Center (also filmed around that time, starring Augustyn and Allemann).

 

Beside the acting, I especially adored the richly substantial designs by Jurgen Rose...wow!!! Those swishing ball gowns at the start of A3!!! I have not seen the ballet in the newer designs by Santo Loquasto. How do they compare to the Jurgen Rose sets/costumes?

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I don't remember the Jurgen Rose costumes or much of the sets.  The one set I do remember is the first act and I really prefer the Rose set to the current design.  The layout of the original set just suited the choreography better in my opinion.  I'm seeing Onegin tonight and again on Thursday; if anything else occurs to me I'll let you know.

Edited by Needlepoints

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I love the drama of this ballet and think the partnering is beautiful and intense. I'm seeing Hee because of Hallberg and Stearns because of Abrera. In a perfect world it would be Abrera with Hallberg. Ah well.

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Clive Barnes vintage 1973 review of Stuttgard Ballet's visit at the Met: 

http://www.nytimes.com/1973/05/20/archives/dance-eugene-onegin-as-spectacle-story-and-character-presented.html

 

"Most characters depicted in ballet are fairly shallow. It is Cranko's particular skill here to make them totally and beautifully credible. Although‐Cranko never uses ‘ dancing for the sake of dancing — there is scarcely oi dance here that could be called merely decorative—he is a great master of the pas de deux, and here his duets of mystery, love and even rejection are consummately well done.

Continue reading the main story

He is much helped by his physical staging. This is ballet of operatic proportions, and. Cranko's court dances and more domestic ballroom scene are extraordinarily well clone. Then, of course, there is the grandeur and brilliance of Jurgen Rose's scenery and costumes, which sum up the provincial charms and ‘Czarist opulence of 19th‐century Russia.

To an extent it is a literary ‐ballet, but the drama all comes through.the dancing, and there is surprisingly little mime. As a result, the work provides a quite exceptional chance for great dramatic dancers,  and these the. Stuttgart company can provide. They have all grown up with Cranko and'this company, and most of them have been with Cranko from the beginning of the present troupe some 10 years ago. ..

Heinz Clauss ..(as) ...Eugene Onegin is a finely drawn character study that seems to draw deeply from Pushkin. Egon Madsen as the vivacious, headstrong Lensky is also perfect, as is Birgit Kell as the charming and bubbling Olga.. In smaller roles, Jan Stripling is splendidly upright as Prince Gremin, and Ruth Papendick and Hella Heim add their own special authority to the roles of Madame Larina and the Nurse. ."

" It is a very special kind of full’ evening ballet, for it is entirely narrative without a divertissement e.insight. In this sense, it has Something in common with the dramaturgy of Prokofiev's “Romeo and Juliet” ballet, and everything. in this Cranko “Eug,ene Onegm” proceeds naturally end, dramatically. "

Edited by Mazurka

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Onegin is one of my favorite ballets but I've found that a successful performance depends on both the acting and the partnering skills of the principals. The partnering is extremely challenging and if done well it has a fluid quality, with one moment seamlessly flowing into the next and so on. If the male dancer is not a super strong the ballerina cannot dance with the emotional abandon needed to convey the story. I'm looking forward to seeing Vishneva and Gomes -- I think they are definitely up to the task. 

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2 hours ago, Mazurka said:

.......Then, of course, there is the grandeur and brilliance of Jurgen Rose's scenery and costumes, which sum up the provincial charms and ‘Czarist opulence of 19th‐century Russia.

....... "

 

Exactly my point. Thank you, Mazurka. Why did ABT drop the Jurgen Rose designs?

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49 minutes ago, Natalia said:

 

Exactly my point. Thank you, Mazurka. Why did ABT drop the Jurgen Rose designs?

I think this production is borrowed/rented from the National Ballet of Canada and it was redesigned by Santo Loquasto a few seasons ago.

 

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53 minutes ago, bingham said:

I think this production is borrowed/rented from the National Ballet of Canada and it was redesigned by Santo Loquasto a few seasons ago.

 

 

Yes, it is the NBOC'S production that ABT (and SFB) rent, as was the case with the Jurgen Rose production before. But the Rose production was pushing 30 years old and literally falling apart so needed replacing. I believe there were some rights issues with just rebuilding the Rose so they went with a brand new production. In my opinion the Loquasto is vastly inferior to the Rose production it replaced.

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