Dutch National Ballet presents

Onegin John Cranko


Passionate ballet drama

Duration 2:10

Breaks 2

John Cranko created one of the greatest love dramas in ballet history. Early love and broken hearts in an incredible choreographic richness make Onegin at least as compelling as Giselle and Swan Lake.

Leer in deze video het verhaal van Onegin kennen.
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Cranko's Onegin

Cranko (1927—1973) based his masterpiece on Pushkin’s 19th-century verse novel ‘Onegin’: a timeless, passionate love story that throughout the years has inspired countless composers, choreographers and theatre- and filmmakers. The fact that Cranko’s version is still performed worldwide is due to the technical perfection, the intensely compelling story and the collage of Tsjaikovsky's compositions.

Popular dance roles

For the dancers Onegin is a real challenge. The partner work demands the utmost from them. Precisely for this reason Onegin’s lead roles are among the most popular. Every principal yearns to dance Tatjana or Yevgeny Onegin. Principal Jozef Varga: 'As a dancer you have to give so much that it liberates you in a certain way'.

    Fri 21 Feb NRC - Onegin

    ‘Cranko wholesales in sublime partnerwork and complex, high lifts, making huge demands on soloists. All the more remarkable that the technically ever-strong Anna Tsygankova also delivers a passionate performance in the role of Tatjana'

    Tue 23 Jun Noordhollands Dagblad - Onegin

    "The ballet has beautiful roles for principals (...) 'Onegin' is a beautifully compact narrative ballet (...) so heartbreaking that it makes the audience tremble."

    Tue 23 Jun Vrij Nederland - Onegin

    "(...) Ballet performance 'Onegin' talks about you and me. (...) I do know that I experienced something magical (...) It was the despair, the moment in which human intuitions and feelings attack the fixed data, that made this all the more about us, now. That's how Onegin touched this time, too."


As in Pushkin's novel, Cranko's Onegin, is set in Russia around 1820. When the peasant girl Tatjana falls head over heels for the aristocrat Onegin, this man of the world intentionally and cruelly breaks her heart. But his conceit is eventually punished …

Pjotr Iljitsj Tsjaikovski

Musically, too, Onegin testifies to Cranko's narrative instinct: instead of setting the ballet to music of Tchaikovsky's famous opera Yevgeni Onegin, he opted for a collage of Tsjaikovsky's compositions, thus giving himself complete control over the ballet's dramatic structure.

John Cranko
Kurt-Heinz Stolze, after P.I. Tsjaikovsky


Dutch Ballet Orchestra
led by Ermanno Florio

Dutch Ballet Orchestra
Since its foundation in 1965, the orchestra has been the proud orchestral partner of Dutch National Ballet and Nederlands Dans Theater. This way of working is unique in the Netherlands. Dutch Ballet Orchestra, with Matthew Rowe as its principal conductor, consists of a permanent core of 45 musicians, supported where necessary by highly qualified guest players. This gives the orchestra a unique character: flexible, dynamic and of high quality. Dutch Ballet Orchestra combines music and dance to provide an enchanting experience: from classical ballet to modern dance, from music education to talent development. An optimal synthesis between music and dance is the orchestra’s mission. The orchestra masters a rich repertoire, which includes the crown jewels of ballet history such as Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker, Stravinsky’s Sacre du Printemps and Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet. This repertoire is always complemented by the best works of contemporary composers, selected by the leading choreographers of today. The orchestra reaches dance lovers and enthusiasts of ballet music as well as children and adolescents. The educational projects of the orchestra have won several (international) awards, including the Young Audiences Music Award in 2016 for Creatures, a collaboration with dance company ISH.
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