Onegin John Cranko
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Timeless love tragedy
Onegin is one of those rare narrative ballet dramas that touch both heart and mind. For dancers, the main roles in Onegin are some of the most coveted in the classical repertoire. Every ballerina dreams of dancing the role of Tatiana and every male principal that of Eugene Onegin.
The ballet, which is based on the verse-novel of the same name by Alexander Pushkin from 1833, is situated in Russia in 1820. The aristocrat Onegin rejects the young, infatuated Tatiana and flirts with her sister Olga, although she is already engaged to his friend Lensky. This leads to a duel between Onegin and Lensky, and the latter pays with his life. At a ball years later, Onegin bumps into Tatiana, who is now married, and falls in love with her. He begs her forgiveness, but Tatiana rejects him. They are both doomed to lead unhappy lives.
From a technical viewpoint, the dramatic highlights are extremely demanding for the dancers. Tatiana’s dilemma before she rejects Onegin is particularly famous. Pushkin himself was a ballet enthusiast. He wrote that there was more poetry in the sixteen-year-old ballerina Maria Danilova than in the whole of French poetry put together. Incidentally, according to her contemporaries, Danilova died at the age of seventeen of a broken heart.
Choreographer John Cranko
Onegin was originally created in 1965 for Stuttgarter Ballett by John Cranko. It was followed in 1967 by a revised version that is regarded as the standard Onegin. In his ballet, which is based on classical technique, Cranko has incorporated many other dance styles, including folk, modern, ballroom and acrobatics. Dutch National Ballet danced Onegin for the first time in 2002.
For Onegin, John Cranko did not choose Tchaikovsky’s opera music of the same name, but an arrangement of lesser-known Tchaikovsky compositions by Kurt Heinz Stolze. Stolze based his score mainly on less well-known piano pieces, including those from The Seasons cycle and from the opera Cherevichki (1885). To ensure the continuity of action, Stolze had to link the individual sections together. He did so by introducing a number of ‘leitmotifs’, which characterised the protagonists of Onegin.
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Dutch Ballet Orchestra, conducted by Ermanno Florio
Dutch Ballet Orchestra combines music and dance into a magical experience: from classical ballet to modern dance, and from music education to talent development. Dutch Ballet Orchestra is proud of its close relationship with Dutch National Ballet and Nederlands Dans Theater. The working method is unique in the Netherlands. Dutch Ballet Orchestra, with Matthew Rowe as principal conductor, consists of a regular core of 45 musicians, supported where necessary by highly qualified guest performers. This lends great flexibility and dynamism to the orchestra and ensures its high quality. Dutch Ballet Orchestra is an orchestra with a unique character, passionate about continually achieving its mission: to move people through music.
Timeless tragedy of misfortune in love’. - de Volkskrant, 2002
‘Onegin offers much to delight the eye and move the romantic heart’. - NRC Handelsblad, 2002