Last night we got to see American Ballet Theatre’s new production of Onegin. What an amazing ballet this is, so beautiful and so tragic as it tells a story of double unrequited love.
This piece, originally created by the Stuttgart Ballet in 1965, was revised by The National Ballet of Canada in 2010. This is ABT’s premiere of this new version. The story is based on a poem by Alexander Pushkin and tells the story of Eugene Onegin. Onegin was bored with city life and traveled to the country with his friend, Lensky. Lensky has gone to the country to see his fiancee, Olga, and attend the birthday celebrations for Tatiana. Tatiana falls for Onegin immediately, but her love is spurned because Onegin sees her as a naive country girl. Onegin becomes bored in the country and decides to provoke Lensky by filtering with Olga, who lightheartedly joins in the teasing. Lensky takes it seriously, however, and challenge Onegin to a duel. Despite Onegin’s explanation that he was joking, Lensky insists the duel takes place and he dies as a result. In the final act, after years of traveling in an effort to escape from himself, Onegin returns and is received at a ball in the palace of a prince who has married Onegin. Realizing his mistake, Onegin now pledges his love to her, but Tatiana spurns him just as he had done to her.
This is one of my all time favorite ABT works. From the scenic design to the performances, everything was sublime.
Cory Sterns, who is one of my favorite principals, danced Onegin amazingly. In Act I you can see his distain for the simple country folk in the way he moves. His pas de duex in the act, which is a passionate dream of Tatiana, was stunning. In Act III, he carries himself like a broken, weary man. Here his pas de deux with Tatiana is more desperate as he tries to get her to forgive him and take him back.
In the role of Tatiana, Irina Dvorovenko was beautiful. She matched Sterns so well in their two dances. She also did some amazing pointe work as she floated across the stage so silently. It was the visualization of how Onegin made her feel.
Danil Simkin is rapidly become a new favorite of mine. He was the ballet dancer in last week’s The Bright Stream. In Onegin, he played Lensky and had some gorgeous dances with Olga. He and Sarah Lane, who was Olga, also participated in a large numbers in Act I and II, which also featured dancers from the corps. These large numbers were spectacular in terms of synchronization required of the dancers.
It was another very satisfying evening at the ballet. Next week, Will is making a solo outing to see Romeo and Juliet while I participate in the Chelsea Challenge. In two weeks we’re back on our subscription package seeing a mixed evening of The Dream and Firebird.