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 Post subject: Re: The Royal Ballet's 'Onegin'
PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2001 2:41 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
I'm glad that John Percival enjoyed Nureyev's '..lively Don Quixote'. He is one of the most senior UK dance critics and it's great that he enjoys so much of what he sees rather than slipping into a cynical attitude of 'not as good as i remember'. <P>However, I have to say that the borrowed Australian Ballet production of Don Q left me in one of the grumpiest moods I have ever had at the ROH. One of the dancers told me afterwards that I had not come on a good night, but that nothing could be done about the production. The prologue is dire and the sets and costumes for the final scenes are some of the ugliest I have ever seen. I have been told that the final casting of Cojocaru/Corella generated a lot of sparks, but that was despite the production rather than because of it.<P>So, I'm not surprised at the generally negative critical comments. I don't think that there is a need to hypothesise an ulterior motive, Francis. <P>I'm delighted for Stretton and the RB that 'Onegin' is getting such a good press and that Rojo is delighting dance fans. <BR><p>[This message has been edited by Stuart Sweeney (edited December 01, 2001).]


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 Post subject: Re: The Royal Ballet's 'Onegin'
PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2001 7:42 pm 
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Rojo and Cooper are isn't the only delights, Stuart. I have to admit I had my doubts when casting was first announced and Alina was to be Tatiana. Then when I read Alina's first reviews for Onegin I expected her to be wonderful. Now after watching her for myself I have to say she exceeded my very best expectations! Her transformation from innocence to passion was breath-taking. In the mirror scene every step, every lift flowed as part of one beautifully fluid movement. I read statements like this everywhere but I hadn't realized until now that it was something I'd never seen or appreciated.<P>Adam Cooper is a hard act to follow but Kobborg more than matched them, using his enormous technical capacity to inject drama into his role. Before the duel while arguing with Lensky he pulls off these multiple pirouettes, amazingly fast and centred before stopping suddenly and slamming his fist down, and the speed at which he spins made his anger seem all the greater. I also didn't find him as ice-cold as the others. His interpretation I thought was more subtle, more nuanced and no less beautiful to watch. He's a brilliant partner for Alina. They looked so confident it was like they'd been dancing together all their lives. They had so much speed and held nothing back in the acrobatic lifts. <P>There's been so much made about Alina being 'not mature enough' for Tatiana but I disagree very strongly. Of course she can't hide her youth but she had such poise from the start of Act III and her pdd with Gremin was so loving and kind she convinced me wholeheartedly of her maturity.<P>In the final letter writing scene I got chills from the passion and desperation let loose. Their partnership is extraordinarily memorable and their performance is a must see. <P>Johan Persson's Lensky was very accomplished, especially his heart-felt Act II solo. Gemma Bond made a lovely Olga but her interpretation I felt wasn't particularly deep. Still I'm looking forward to seeing how she develops in the company.


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 Post subject: Re: The Royal Ballet's 'Onegin'
PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2001 8:53 pm 
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Hopefully this will stimulate a Cranko revival - Antigone, or Lady and the Fool for Yanowsky, with Mukhamedov as Moondog


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 Post subject: Re: The Royal Ballet's 'Onegin'
PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2001 11:24 pm 
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I hope so too MichaelLL. The only Cranko ballet I've seen on stage is the delightful 'Pineapple Poll' about 5 years ago performed by Birmingham Royal Ballet who show no signs of reviving it at the moment.<P>Thanks for your additional comments Sylvia. I plan to go on Wednesday.


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 Post subject: Re: The Royal Ballet's 'Onegin'
PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2001 12:09 am 
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Location: Guildford, Surrey, UK
Review in The Sunday Times<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Satisfaction is guaranteed by the Royal Ballet’s splendid version of Onegin, says David Dougill <BR> <BR>John Cranko’s Onegin is one of the best full-length narrative ballets created in the 20th century. Since 1965, when the choreographer made it for his own Stuttgart Ballet, it has travelled the world in the repertories of many international companies. But not until now has the Royal Ballet had the chance to dance it, so heartfelt thanks to the company’s new director, Ross Stretton, who has succeeded where others failed. <BR><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><A HREF="http://www.sunday-times.co.uk/article/0,,9013-2001552300,00.html" TARGET=_blank> <B> MORE </B> </A><P>And in The Observer specifically about the second cast. (please scroll down to read this)<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><BR>The Royal Ballet's Onegin came into focus when the second cast took over on Tuesday. Cranko's version of Pushkin's tale accommodates very different interpretations, provided the choreog raphy is allowed to tell its story. With Alina Cojocaru as Tatiana and Johan Kobborg as Onegin, the emotional and physical outlines read true: the clarity of their dancing reveals as much about the characters as does their personal slant as actors. <P><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><A HREF="http://www.observer.co.uk/review/story/0,6903,610106,00.html" TARGET=_blank> <B> MORE </B> </A><p>[This message has been edited by Joanne (edited December 02, 2001).]


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 Post subject: Re: The Royal Ballet's 'Onegin'
PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2001 11:44 pm 
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More casts reviewed:<P><B>Onegin<BR>BY DEBRA CRAINE <BR>The Times</B><BR> <BR> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>NOW that John Cranko’s Pushkin ballet has entered the Covent Garden repertoire, many dancers will be keen to get their teeth into its passionate leading characters. The Royal Ballet has fielded two more Onegin casts since opening night and both of them show how Cranko’s writing brings out the best in stage lovers. <BR>Alina Cojocaru was paired with Johan Kobborg, a coupling that brought a real appetite to Tatiana and Onegin’s thwarted love. The first time we see Cojocaru’s Tatiana she is absorbed in her own fantasy world. Right from the start she makes us believe in the young heroine’s social isolation, her emotions safely sheltered from the storm of real life. And then along comes Kobborg’s handsome Onegin to send her heart galloping. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><A HREF="http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/0,,62-2001560884,00.html" TARGET=_blank><B>more...</B></A><BR>


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 Post subject: Re: The Royal Ballet's 'Onegin'
PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2001 5:14 am 
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Onegin images on ROH website now up!<BR> <A HREF="http://www.royalopera.org/ballet/index.cfm?ccs=186&cs=316" TARGET=_blank>http://www.royalopera.org/ballet/index.cfm?ccs=186&cs=316</A> <P>...and really beautiful ones too! I've been anxiously checking the website every day for them! I hope they add to them and include other casts.<P>BTW Stuart, did you enjoy Galeazzi and Tewsley? I'm looking forward to seeing them again on Monday.


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 Post subject: Re: The Royal Ballet's 'Onegin'
PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2001 7:15 am 
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Many thanks Sylvia. The images are much better than the gloomy ones of 'Don Q'. <P>Sad to say that I was in a meeting that over-ran and didn't get to see 'Onegin' on Wednesday. Boo-hoo!! Oh well, I have some other chances before the run ends.


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 Post subject: Re: The Royal Ballet's 'Onegin'
PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2001 8:10 am 
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Dramatically Onegin was satisfactory. However, did no one else have issues with Cranko's choreography? I found many of the men's leaps awkward and tedious, especially one in the first act I believe, in which there required a hip rotation in the air, a half-turn as it were. It was unflattering to the dancer (unfortunately I have not my program with me and am terrible with names), and unpleasant to see. I also got quite tired with Cranko's obsession between what i like to call 'earth and sky.' He'll have the dancer in the air one second and then abruptly bring them to their knees, sometimes in solos, but mostly in the pas de deux..at first I found it interesting, but he repeated it and did too many repeitions on it for my taste. I did not like the corps excessive grand jetes on and off stage in one of their dances, and even more upsetting than the jerky leaps was the repetitive thumping of their pointe shoes. ladies please, if we are going to do grand jetes, then we must bang the shoes before the performance! there were also moments in the pas de deux when the female dancer should have been looking at her partner, when instead she smiled out at the audience, as if he was not even there holding her up. how strange i thought. had it been ashton or macmillan perhaps, they would have insisted that she drape her head, and gently arch her neck so that she rested on him. the rest of the pas was passionate, except when she felt the need to pretend that she was a soloist. <P>these are just a few of my initial reactions to the performance. i observed the december 3rd show. anyone else have similar views? or not?


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 Post subject: Re: The Royal Ballet's 'Onegin'
PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2001 2:47 am 
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Courtesy of the Moreover News Portal, a website extract from a longer article in Hello magazine. in the article, click on the photos to see larger versions.<P> Image <BR><small>uncredited photo from 'Hello' magazine, but rather nice</small><P><B>Tamara Rojo</B><BR>in Hello magazine<P><BR>With her effortlessly graceful body and perfect Renaissance face, Tamara Rojo is taking British ballet by storm. Hailed as “technically brilliant” with an “emotional depth rare in British theatre”, the 26-year-old’s performance as Tatiana in Onegin is even being compared to that of ballet’s best-loved prima ballerina, Margot Fonteyn. <P><A HREF="http://www.hellomagazine.com/2001/12/10/tamararojo/" TARGET=_blank><B>click for more</B></A><p>[This message has been edited by Stuart Sweeney (edited December 12, 2001).]


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 Post subject: Re: The Royal Ballet's 'Onegin'
PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2001 2:50 am 
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<B>Return of an anti-hero</B><BR>by Luke Jennings in The Evening Standard<P><BR>John Cranko's ballet, premiered in 1965, is essentially a study in self-deception. In the first act, the bookish Tatiana Larina imagines that the jaded Onegin returns her teenage infatuation. By the ballet's end, the tables have been turned, and Onegin has persuaded himself that he is desperately in love with the adult, married Tatiana. <P>Robert Tewsley, who danced the title role with the Royal Ballet last night, takes full advantage of these emotional ambiguities. His Onegin moves through life in a narcissistic, affectless haze, ruthlessly trampling the lives of those unwise enough to offer him hospitality. Mara Galeazzi's Tatiana, by contrast, displays an angular gaucherie that is almost painful to watch. <P><A HREF="http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/dynamic/hottx/theatre/dance_review.html?in_review_id=474145&in_review_text_id=438684" TARGET=_blank><B>click for more</B></A><p>[This message has been edited by Stuart Sweeney (edited December 12, 2001).]


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 Post subject: Re: The Royal Ballet's 'Onegin'
PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2001 11:06 pm 
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Review in The Independent.<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><BR>One of John Cranko's masterstrokes when he created Onegin was to devise a symmetrical structure that concentrates the drama's boiling passions within tight bonds.<P>There is no fat, only narrative muscle where everything has a definite purpose. The dance language starts as deceptively classical, so that Olga and Lensky's long opening duet establishes their youthful romance with straightforward steps, and an ensemble of friends deploys itself like a traditional corps de ballet. But soon the academic forms dissolve and proliferate into movement as expressively organic as anything Kenneth MacMillan – often contrasted with Cranko – ever produced.<P><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><A HREF="http://enjoyment.independent.co.uk/theatre/dance/reviews/story.jsp?story=109757" TARGET=_blank> <B> MORE </B> </A>


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 Post subject: Re: The Royal Ballet's 'Onegin'
PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2001 3:32 am 
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I have only just had the opportunity to share my thoughts on “Onegin”, so this appreciation comes somewhat after the event. I saw a cast comprising Stuttgart Ballet’s Robert Tewsley as Onegin, Mara Galeazzi as Tatiana, Johan Persson (replacing Nathan Coppen) as Lensky and Marianela Nunez (replacing Jaimie Tapper) as Olga. Adam Cooper was a heavily mustached Prince Gremin. <P>I adore Pushkin’s works and the verse-novel “Onegin” in particular. I had lapped up the film version, starring Ralph Fiennes. So I was curious as to what awaited me in Cranko’s version. Something splendid, actually. The dancers really believed in what they were dancing – it was as if Pushkin’s story had really spoken to them. I cannot say that confidently about other dramatic ballets with tragic endings in the Royal’s repertoire. From what we hear, there was some painstaking coaching going on at the insistence of the Cranko Estate. It certainly paid off.<P>I cannot believe that any other ballerina on the illustrious list of Tatianas, was truly Tatiana, in the way I imagine her to be, as Galeazzi. Forget the technical perfection for the moment – the transition from bookish young innocent to grande dame accepting her duty, was pure Pushkin and I am deeply grateful to the First Soloist for this portrayal. Tewsley did well – long-legged and romantically handsome, and utterly, utterly aloof and unattainable – as bored with life in the countryside as he must have been with the supposed ‘sophistication’ of the city: we do not see his life before arriving to claim his uncle’s estate. I think that would have been a welcome addition to the ballet, providing the contrast between the relative simplicity of values in the countryside versus the compulsive, near hedonistic sophistication of St Petersburg. His aloofness is perfectly demonstrated at certain points by his dancing in front of the gauze curtain so that the rest of the spectacle is hazily played out behind, emphasising that he is one step removed from the action.<P>The only drawback with Tewsley’s portrayal was that he was more the vehicle for Tatiana’s drama and I felt less his own drama. I wanted to see drawn out the lively mind that has become utterly cynical, and then the conversion: the realisation that the young Tatiana was a lost opportunity because she represented simplicity, honesty and integrity of emotions – real love over the physical indulgence he had experienced in the past. Again, that may have come out more if we had seen Onegin suffering on his own somewhere before he turns up at the great ball where to meet his fate. Perhaps another of the cast of Onegins may have achieved this without the need for a behind the scenes look, but for this particular performance, Tatiana is our focus and it is her emotions that we live. <P>The duel scene where Onegin shoots Lensky, is deeply moving, but again we feel Onegin’s pain less because his friendship with Lensky is not brought out beforehand. So the struggle between being honour-bound to go through with the challenge with someone who is clearly not his equal in the duel, and when Onegin had previously felt almost indulgent towards the anxious puppy-poet, is absent. Perhaps two men dancing together was less digestible in the sixties whereas now it would be perfectly natural to see the struggle played out between the two men in a carefully crafted duet. Instead, Cranko brings the women to witness the duel and play out the emotion, intertwining with the duelists, which is not the novel’s treatment.<P>Persson was a perfect Lensky and Nunez a perfect Olga. Miss Nunez is proving her worth this season and, having cast an eye over the cast lists for next season’s works, I see her star in the ascendant. <P>I am perhaps overly analytical of the faithfulness or otherwise of Cranko’s interpretation to Pushkin’s verse novel. This is perhaps looking for a perfection which detracts from Cranko's brilliant and legitimate interpretation, for that is what it is, of the Pushkin original. I strongly recommend this sumptuous production for the story and its interpretation and to become acquainted with the expressive choreography of Cranko. The duets are surely technically demanding if the dancers seem to intertwine without support from each other. There are no conscious lifts, no sinews standing out on necks as ballerinas are hoisted in the air. Rather water sprites dance gracefully around each other in a lake, supported by the water rather than by each other. <P><BR><p>[This message has been edited by Emma Pegler (edited December 24, 2001).]


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 Post subject: Re: The Royal Ballet's 'Onegin'
PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2001 8:21 am 
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Thanks Emma for this wonderfully detailed review. I think I am going to have a look at Mara in January. So far I have seen Tamara Rojo's and Alina Cojocaru's interpretation of<BR>Tatjana. Has anyone seen Jamie Tapper in the role? If so I would like to know what you thought of her performance. According to the casting that has just been put up on the ROH website she is down for Sarah Wildor's originally scheduled Giselle performances. Any comments?


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 Post subject: Re: The Royal Ballet's 'Onegin'
PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2001 4:54 am 
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Thanks, Odile. I saw Jaimie Tapper dancing in Agon and she looked promising. Unfortuntately I have not see her otherwise. Well done for seeing more than one cast.I intetnd to follow your lead and catch some more performances in the New Year. I really do want to see how Rojo and Cojocaru tackle the role. So "into" the whole Onegin thing am I, that I reread the novel while on holiday in Paris and watched the Fiennes film again on Sunday.


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