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I don't think we should criticise any ballet because it fails to completely follow the story on which it is based. I'm thinking particularly of R and J, Shrew, Winter's Tale, Manon, Frankenstein. All of these ( and many others) take from the story the elements that can be translated into ballet, adding their own interpretation to add to what is hopefully a satisfying ballet. The important thing, to me, is that the sense and emotion of the book remain, or are even enhanced. Woolf Works, for example, does not slavishly  tell the stories of the three novels, but,IMO, enhances them and tells us much about Virginia Woolf. So Onegin gives us the flavour of the story, and the customs and behaviour of the time in which Pushkin  was writing.

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1 hour ago, Angela said:

Chapter 4, Stanza X:

Though belles had lost his adoration,

he danced attendance with the best;

 

1 hour ago, Angela said:

The more you think Cranko is far from Pushkin, the more Pushkin you find in the ballet...

 

Many thanks Angela. Which translation is this?

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5 minutes ago, ninamargaret said:

So Onegin gives us the flavour of the story, and the customs and behaviour of the time in which Pushkin  was writing.

 

That said, one thing that bothers me is the lack of "seconds" at the duel...

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3 minutes ago, Peanut68 said:

So does anyone know of the Nunez/Bolle pairing will occur again??? 

 

In this run? It seems highly unlikely, given that that was the last scheduled Osipova/Clarke performance, and we have no reason (that I know of) to believe that any other scheduled Onegin or Tatyana is ill or injured.

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33 minutes ago, Peanut68 said:

So does anyone know of the Nunez/Bolle pairing will occur again??? 

California in the summer

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40 minutes ago, RuthE said:

 

That said, one thing that bothers me is the lack of "seconds" at the duel...

 

YES! - and no surgeon, either. And did Onegin shoot to kill, or was he just a bad shot?

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2 hours ago, Sebastian said:

Which translation is this?

 

http://lib.ru/LITRA/PUSHKIN/ENGLISH/onegin_j.txt

It's by Charles H. Johnston - I normally read this in German, that's the first English translation I found online. I hope it's okay.

 

The lack of seconds at the duel is a point that the Russians always brought forward against Cranko's ballet, much more even the point that women are present at a duell - impossible. They didn't like the ballet that much when Stuttgart Ballet brought it to the Sowjet Union in the 1970s, they thought it differed too much from Pushkin's novel. Another point were the sunflowers in Tatyana's room, nobody would put sunflowers in a vase in Russia, they said. Or the absence of gloves for the men at the ball.

 

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3 hours ago, Tony Newcombe said:

California in the summer

Guess I was rather hoping for ROH!!!

Bemused Onegin omitted from Live Cinema screenings....wonder if it was filmed at all for DVD release or anything? 

And do we  ever get live screenings from US productions I wonder? Have only come across UK ballet companies & Bolshoi so far.....

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1 hour ago, Angela said:

The lack of seconds at the duel is a point that the Russians always brought forward against Cranko's ballet, much more even the point that women are present at a duell - impossible.

 

I'd have thought the women being there would be much more of a problem for them as not only is it anachronistic but it changes the whole nature of the scene in a way the seconds' and surgeon's absence doesn't. But then, maybe their thinking was that the ladies being active participants *justifies* the anachronism.

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1 hour ago, Peanut68 said:

Guess I was rather hoping for ROH!!!

Bemused Onegin omitted from Live Cinema screenings....wonder if it was filmed at all for DVD release or anything? 

And do we  ever get live screenings from US productions I wonder? Have only come across UK ballet companies & Bolshoi so far.....


I think the Cranko Estate does not permit live screenings.  

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2 minutes ago, Jan McNulty said:

I think the Cranko Estate does not permit live screenings.  

 

No idea what the situation is now but in 2004 London had a live screening of the Royal Ballet dancing Onegin, see here:-

 

https://www.bp.com/en_gb/united-kingdom/home/community/connecting-through-arts-and-culture/bp-and-the-royal-opera-house/bp-and-the-royal-opera-house-partnership-30-year-anniversary.html

 

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3 hours ago, Angela said:

Or the absence of gloves for the men at the ball.

 

But the men at both balls have them in the RB production, surely, or was I imagining it?  Although Onegin (I think) wasn't wearing them the other night - most discourteous.

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As far as the duel is concerned, and after way back when on first viewing I too wondered about ladies present and no seconds, I've provided myself with a side story. The girls have waylaid the protagonists on their way to the duel, then we see at the back of the stage just part of the field where the duel is taking place, the seconds are there too but to the side where we can't see them. 🙂 

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At the risk of sounding stupid, what’s a “second “?!

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The gentleman who accompanies each of the duellists - I think their job is to see that fair play is maintained and rules adhered to, and so on.  In the opera, Onegin is accompanied by his manservant, which is seen as being rather an insult - the other second complains bitterly about it.

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When I think of duels I always think of the duel scene in the film Barry Lyndon....I'm pretty sure they did it all above board there...But with a better outcome! 

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52 minutes ago, LinMM said:

When I think of duels I always think of the duel scene in the film Barry Lyndon....I'm pretty sure they did it all above board there...But with a better outcome! 

 

I raise you Ridley Scott’s film “The Duellists”. In my memory, the characters just fight one duel after another. Sometimes according to the rules. 

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You could always try the 1999 Onegin film with Ralph Fiennes as Onegin and Liv Tyler as Tatiana. Yes, there are a number of short cuts and inaccuracies/liberties taken but I find it a remarkably sympathetic adaptation, some fabulous settings and photography, and I thought holding back the contents of Tatiana’s letter until just before the final Onegin/Tatiana denouement very effective. Not so sure about the choice of music at times: we’re thoroughly spoilt by Tchaikovsky.

https://youtu.be/jd8XgyMOQaQ

 

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10 hours ago, JohnS said:

You could always try the 1999 Onegin film with Ralph Fiennes as Onegin and Liv Tyler as Tatiana. Yes, there are a number of short cuts and inaccuracies/liberties taken but I find it a remarkably sympathetic adaptation, some fabulous settings and photography, and I thought holding back the contents of Tatiana’s letter until just before the final Onegin/Tatiana denouement very effective. Not so sure about the choice of music at times: we’re thoroughly spoilt by Tchaikovsky.

https://youtu.be/jd8XgyMOQaQ

 

I am by no means a film buff - last cinema visit was about 7years ago - but I have seen this film and agree that it is a very sympathetic version. And if course Ralph Fiennes helps!

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I went to see Onegin with the Nunez / Bolle cast on Wednesday and thought it was a great evening of Dance and Nunez was wonderful in getting across her awful dilemma in that final Act and you were routing for her definitely ... Bolle remorseful enough but..
My problem with this ballet is that I just don’t like the Onegin character. Many of us will know this man or similar ...the handsome interesting full of either energy or mystery who is very attractive ..  but will not be trustworthy .. we know it’s not a good idea to get involved it’s all going to end in disaster but .....he will change of course!! 
And that’s the problem with Onegin ...he’s a bit of a user really. If you believe he had a thing for Tatiana at all initially the ending might be more poignant but when he returns here he is again expecting Tatiana to just leave her marriage and run off with him! Still the total B- - - -rd. 

If it was two people who had genuine love for each other and separated by circumstances beyond their control who then meet up years later wishing they could be together but can’t that would be heartbreaking ... Dr. Zhivago story perhaps? ....but for me I get the feeling Onegin would dally with Tatiana for a while and then well......

So it’s all Tatania’s story for me and I just feel so glad when she finds the strength to tear up his letter he just doesn’t deserve her though Nunez made you feel that gnawing regret of what might have been so in that way the performance was highly successful as Onegin often doesn’t move me much at all ....usually only when Lensky gets shot. Bolle was very good as Onegin... not too severe as some are ...so likeable enough but well Onegin is Onegin...   though Bolle is defo someone I might have let all good sense go for!!

Hayward and Ball were terrific in the roles as Olga and Lensky totally believable and some lovely dancing from them both and some great choreography in this ballet.

Avis was good but last time I saw Hirano in this role and really liked him in it almost the first time I started taking notice of him as a dancer so missed him in this. 
As mentioned curtain calls were amazing I think Nunez and Bolle must have a really close bond as dancers and you could feel that very much. 
I very much enjoyed the dancing on Wednesday though Onegin will never be a favourite of mine I think ...perhaps it’s an age thing! 
And talking of Dr. Zhivago has anyone thought of this or tried this as a ballet?
 

 

Edited by LinMM
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Thanks for the review Lin. 
coincidentally I have just finished reading Dr Zivhago and to me the book is more about Russia and the great upheavals of war and revolution, rather than the relationship between Lara and Yury. However, no reason it couldn’t be inspired by the film.

 

Sim - I learnt about the etiquette of duels from reading georgette Heyer’s regency novels!

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31 minutes ago, Shade said:

Sim - I learnt about the etiquette of duels from reading georgette Heyer’s regency novels!

 

So did I! Although most of her duels aren't fatal, as the protaganists are decent enough to delope or aim somewhere non-lethal. I wonder why Onegin doesn't do that, given Lenksy is supposed to be his friend & he seems reluctant to accept his challenge, you'd think he'd try not to kill him.

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There is a word in the above revue which might give a clue! 

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2 hours ago, Dawnstar said:

 

So did I! Although most of her duels aren't fatal, as the protaganists are decent enough to delope or aim somewhere non-lethal. I wonder why Onegin doesn't do that, given Lenksy is supposed to be his friend & he seems reluctant to accept his challenge, you'd think he'd try not to kill him.


It has been a while since I read Evgeny Onegin (back when I was at school) but if I recall correctly, Onegin does try to not kill Lensky. 

A lot of the nuance of Onegin’s character is lost in adaptation to ballet, which is inevitable I suppose, just like it is in translation. I find him a bit more sympathetic, although not exactly likeable, in the book than in the ballet (I don’t know the opera at all) – it needs a fine and sensitive actor to make the ballet character something more than two dimensional. I thought Bolle was superb on Wednesday and managed to create a fleshed out character, more reminiscent of Pushkin’s Onegin in essence for me than anyone else I have seen. I got (in no particular order) arrogance, boredom, haughtiness, condescension, resignation, cruelty, politeness, passion, flirtatiousness, pride, embarrassment, love, loneliness, anger, despondency, honour, desperation, regret and heartbreak from him.


I thought Nuñez really upped her performance dancing with Bolle – they do seem to have great chemistry. Her emotional connection to Tatiana was far more evident for me on Wednesday than it was on Saturday. 

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But essentially I find the Onegin character is one of those men who wants somebody else's woman/ wife/ girlfriend etc. 

Im sure it's why he flirts with Olga! He doesn't want Tatiana because she wants him and is free! 

As soon as she is not freely available as it were she suddenly becomes very attractive to him....but for how long? 

I thought Bolle's performance was good on Wednesday .....I was surprised in fact as somebody told me they didn't think he had good acting skills but he certainly did on Wednesday anyway.

My trouble is I just can't get past his ( Onegins) central character. I just don't feel any sympathy for him or very little. 

My sympathy is all with Tatiana and having fallen for such a character......and I thought Nunez was wonderful on Wednesday in getting this anguish all across... She spoke for wounded women everywhere!! 

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6 hours ago, LinMM said:

My problem with this ballet is that I just don’t like the Onegin character.


I think Onegin does have a hard time in the ballet and some of it is not of his own making.  In the mirror scene he is clearly Tatiana’s creation of her ideal, not Onegin, so we cannot really glean anything of Onegin’s character (unless we’re persuaded that Tatiana’s image of Onegin is good evidence as to his true character).  But up to the dual when we see Onegin broken by what he has done in killing Lensky and its impact on both Tatiana and Olga, he doesn’t have much opportunity to establish his character.  In the first scene he is aloof, self contained, irritated.  In Act 2 he is bored, eager to flirt with Olga, and provoke Lensky.  He’s careful to make sure he returns Tatiana’s letter in relative privacy but it’s not Pushkin’s gentler, more considered letting down of Tatiana with Onegin not being good enough for Tatiana.  Onegin would much prefer not to accept Lensky’s challenge but Lensky is insistent so Onegin has little choice.  With the dual backstage we don’t know the detail and whether Onegin has tried to miss and of course Cranko is much more interested in the reactions of Tatiana and Olga which I think works very well.
 

But from that shattering conclusion to Act 2, I think Onegin appears sympathetically in Act 3.  When Onegin sees Tatiana with Gremin, he realises what he has missed and how mistaken he has been.  And there is real passion in that final scene when he pleads with Tatiana.  I think he senses how torn Tatiana is but he accepts her decision that she has chosen Gremin: Onegin had his chance years ago but turned her down; she has found she loves Gremin and has a deep sense of duty which out trump Onegin’s desperate pleas.  That Onegin accepts the inevitable and leaves Tatiana means that he earns my sympathy.  And during the ballet he has learned a great deal more about himself.

 

If you want to see Onegin in a more sympathetic light, that 1999 film is well worth a look.

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5 hours ago, Dawnstar said:

 

So did I! Although most of her duels aren't fatal, as the protaganists are decent enough to delope or aim somewhere non-lethal. I wonder why Onegin doesn't do that, given Lenksy is supposed to be his friend & he seems reluctant to accept his challenge, you'd think he'd try not to kill him.

 

From everything I've read about duelling, deloping - firing into the air - meant an admission of guilt* and aiming to miss was considered very bad form as it implied contempt for the opponent. I know it sounds pretty odd to the modern mind, but duelling itself is pretty weird if you ask me!

 

IIRC at least some of the Heyer duels had one duellist aiming merely to injure rather than miss entirely - I imagine that was considered an acceptable fudge.

 

One other point of interest is that if both duellists missed the first time, they would then very often have another go, as happened in the Castlereagh/Canning duel. So even if Onegin had tried to miss, that wouldn't necessarily have been the end of the matter.

 

*The Earl of Winchilsea deloped in his duel with the Duke of Wellington, then issued a formal apology.

Edited by Lizbie1
Forgot to mention the Winchilsea delopement
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The article in the winter issue of the ROH magazine has interesting comments by both Soares  and Bonelli on the character of Onegin.I'm inclined to agree with JohnS and his comments about Onegin. Tatiana wouldn't be the first lady to totally fall for someone who is somewhat unsuitable, and of course her change from being the studious young girl to an assured mature lady is bound to make him realise what he has missed!

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Oh my. Oh my.  What a deeply moving experience Act 3 was tonight.  We all cried with Miss Naghdi at the end. Stunning performance.  What chemistry between her and Federico Bonelli.  They made every emotion totally believable from start to finish.  Lovely from all the cast, but tonight belonged to them.  And to all of us. 

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