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10 hours ago, Anna C said:

This is another reason why I much prefer the more mature Gremins of Bennet Gartside and Gary Avis.  I don’t know how much older than Tatiana Gremin is supposed to be (apologies for grammar, neither way seemed right) but it just makes so much more sense for there to be quite an age gap between the two.  

 

This has been discussed before but if one goes by the text of the novel, Olga is 19, Tatiana 20, Onegin 26, and Lensky 18 when we first see them. Four years later we have the ball where Tatiana is married to Prince Gremin: he shares memories of their youthful pranks and adventures with Onegin (who by then is 30). This makes Gremin maybe a bit older (nobody says exactly by how much), maybe something like 35-40. So perhaps a ten year gap or so between him and Tatiana.


Tchaikovsky on the other hand needed a lower voice for the operatic Gremin, so people usually assume he is much older.

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I just saw on Instagram that Bennet Gartside has danced his last Gremin. Makes Monday’s performance even more special - one of those truly memorable evenings. I agree with all the plaudits posted above. 

 

I don’t accept the suggestions above that Yasmine Naghdi’s Tatiana is not in love with Gremin - the way she rested her head on Gremin spoke volumes to me and I always find the Tatiana/Gremin PDD deeply affecting. Onegin works because Tatiana is conflicted - she loves Gremin but also recognises what might have been. She is tempted but refuses, not in my mind for reasons of social convention but because she has found and shares a deep love with Gremin.

 

We’ve been treated to a fabulous run of Onegins and still more to come - I’m sure Saturday’s final Thiago Soares performance will be another high and a fitting end to this run.

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I’m mostly in agreement with @JohnS, I think Yasmine Naghdi’s Tatiana loves Gremin, although she is perhaps not ‘in love’ with him. The resting of her head on his shoulder touched me;  I think he makes her feel safe. It was a very moving and sympathetic portrayal by Bennet Gartside. I’m not sure I can add anything to what has already been said about Yasmine - she was stunning: her dancing was glorious and her characterisation of Tatiana so thoughtful and credible. She and Federico Bonnelli made a memorable partnership- he was electrifying in Act 3,  the intensity of emotion was heart-stopping. The final moments where Tatiana was clutching a piece of Onegin’s letter, her mouth a buckle of anguish - well, the poignancy of it will stay with me for a long time. I thought Anna Rose O’Sullivan was radiant as Olga, and Joseph Sissens a most dashing Lensky. I sincerely hope ‘Onegin’ is revived again soon, because it’s a ballet I’d love to get to know better. 

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2 hours ago, CCL said:

The resting of her head on his shoulder touched me


Thank you CCL. I also had in mind the end of the PDD where Tatiana rests her head in Gremin’s hands - deeply moving and I can’t believe that gesture is out of a sense of duty. I think the ‘head on shoulder’ is just before the PDD and then repeated in the middle. 

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5 hours ago, CCL said:

I thought Anna Rose O’Sullivan was radiant as Olga, and Joseph Sissens a most dashing Lensky. 

 

I hope it isn't too off-topic to mention an article in this month's Dance Europe magazine, which I found rather touching.  Sissens describes his ballet journey from childhood; he came from a mixed-race family in a Hertfordshire village where he encountered both cruel racism and wonderful generosity.  His mother had no spare money, but he was able to train at Tring thanks to a maximum scholarship.  It was then suggested that he should train at the Royal Ballet School but it seemed out-of-reach financially until a supportive local person offered to pay the fees.  He got a day place but his mother couldn't even afford his travel costs.  She rang the RBS who then offered him a boarding place in the year above - a real challenge as he had so much catching up to do, both dancing-wise and academically, to keep up with the other boys in this higher  year.  But he said this just 'put fire under his belt' and made him work ten times harder.  He mentions Anna Rose O'Sullivan as a fun partner, and they 'feed off each other.'

When I watch young dancers (or not so young) I often wonder about their backstory, and what struggles and adventures they might have had along the way; many of course are far from 'home' and it can't be easy.  I feel such gratitude not only to them for giving us, the audience, such joy, but also to their unsung supporters who have doubtless worked in the background to get them where they are today.

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A week since I saw Yasmine Naghdi and Federico Bonelli's super performances as Tatiana and Onegin.  The music is still going around in my head.  The show was lovely and I enjoyed Anna Rose O'Sullivan and Joseph Sissens very much as O&L.  Onegin is clearly a ballet that gives the dancers so much and we as the mere viewers are very lucky indeed to be able to watch them.  Every single dancer at stage door said how much they love this ballet.  I'm pleased to see Onegin will be on again in Amsterdam next season too.

A few pics from last Friday.

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Ensemble

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Naghdi/Bonelli

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O'Sullivan/Sissens

 

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O'Sullivan/Sissens/Naghdi/Bonelli

 

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1 hour ago, Fonty said:

I was just looking at the height difference between O'Sullivan and Sissens.  Is she very short, or is he very tall?

Both I think I saw the pair of them when I was at the insight event on Swan Lake. He has lovely long legs and is on the taller side. She's quite petite but taller than Wayne Sleep so at least 5'3 I think.

 

They had really good chemistry together so the height may not work but the energy does.

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Did anyone  else see the truly wonderful performance last night from  Nunez/Takada/Hirano/Edmonds/Braendsrod  and the rest of the dancers?

I am so pleased to have been able to see this cast again  for the third time, plus in  General Rehearsal!   🤭

Exemplary dancing and acting from Takada  and Nunez in particular... I suspect the  familiarity of these two with the ballet now, over quite a few runs, has helped them to really  inhabit  their roles, almost without having to think about the choreography too much. So many little nuances to enjoy...they really came across as devoted sisters.

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Thanks for that info on Jo Sissens Maryrosesatonapin 

Ive always followed him since seeing him at the Yorkshire Ballet Summer School just before he went to the Royal. He stood out then when pretty young. Next time I saw him and he signed my cast list he had grown considerably!! 
such a lovely young man and beautiful dancer. 

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13 minutes ago, Richard LH said:

Did anyone  else see the truly wonderful performance last night from  Nunez/Takada/Hirano/Edmonds/Braendsrod  and the rest of the dancers?

I am so pleased to have been able to see this cast again  for the third time, plus in  General Rehearsal!   🤭

Exemplary dancing and acting from Takada  and Nunez in particular... I suspect the  familiarity of these two with the ballet now, over quite a few runs, has helped them to really  inhabit  their roles, almost without having to think about the choreography too much. So many little nuances to enjoy...they really came across as devoted sisters.

Yes, I was also present. I liked the performance very much.

 

I loved Nunez and Takada. I thought Hirano danced beautifully but I didn't find his acting in the third act as convincing as Onegin still seemed like a tosser. I was in the amphitheatre so perhaps missed the facial expressions that may have helped in the storytelling.

 

I also really liked Edmonds as Lensky. He and Takada were lovely together. 

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1 hour ago, Tango Dancer said:

Yes, I was also present. I liked the performance very much.

 

I loved Nunez and Takada. I thought Hirano danced beautifully but I didn't find his acting in the third act as convincing as Onegin still seemed like a tosser. I was in the amphitheatre so perhaps missed the facial expressions that may have helped in the storytelling.

 

I also really liked Edmonds as Lensky. He and Takada were lovely together. 

 

Yes it is difficult, I find,  to get the full sense of the acting in a ballet liked this unless you can get reasonably  close to the stage.  From closer up  I found Hirano's  acting excellent, partly for the very reason that it  was quite  subtle, but  perhaps the subtlety  hampered the effect further  back. I suppose its always  difficult to find the right balance in this respect.

One particular part of his acting that stood out for me last night was his expression and body language when first confronting Tatiana after shooting Lensky - transforming from a haughty and proud  sort of "how do you like THAT then" !, to an anguished  "what have I just done" !  - a realisation that he comes to under Tatiana's steady and powerful gaze. I think this is  the  pivotal moment for the change in both their characters, in some respects representing role reversals  towards each other. 

Edited by Richard LH
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2 hours ago, LinMM said:

Thanks for that info on Jo Sissens Maryrosesatonapin 

Ive always followed him since seeing him at the Yorkshire Ballet Summer School just before he went to the Royal. He stood out then when pretty young. Next time I saw him and he signed my cast list he had grown considerably!! 
such a lovely young man and beautiful dancer. 

I first,saw him in Symphonic Variations, not the simplest ballet in the world, and was impressed by his lovely clean lines. I think he made a very good,Lensky and I look forward to seeing him in the future.

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Thank you for posting these very poignant photos, MJW and Rob S. They are a reminder of a performance I will never forget. I found Soares' Onegin absolutely heartbreaking. Very different to the other Onegins I've seen, and revelatory. In Act I, he isn't cold or arrogant or contemptuous; he's immediately sympathetic towards and attracted to Tatiana, he encourages her to dance with him, and he sees her worth. Only then does he realise that if he allows himself to acknowledge this, he will have to drop his façade, his armour of indifference and boredom that protects him from others and from living a proper life. And that terrifies him and forces him to pull back. The bedroom pas de deux - beautifully performed by both Soares and Mendizabal - is therefore not just Tatiana's dream/fantasy - it's his too. It's how they could have been if he'd had the courage. In Act II, he is constantly drawn to Tatiana and wants to show his love for her, but cannot; he wants to accept and delight in her letter, but cannot; whenever he's tempted to do so, he pulls back. And when he finally tears the letter up, he knows how much he's hurting her and can barely do it; he's full of shame and self-hatred. And the more he loathes himself, the more he pursues Olga and the more atrociously he behaves. He's rejected Tatiana's goodness and love, and he turns to casual cruelty as if to prove to himself that he didn't deserve Tatiana anyway. When Lensky challenges him to the duel, he tries not to go through with it but when Lensky continues to provoke him his pride and anger explode and he carries it through. And then, only then when it's too late, does his façade come down. He sees Tatiana, in effect his conscience, and collapses. The tragedy is his and hers as much as Lensky's (and Olga's). In the final act, Mendizabal's pas de deux with Gremin (Lukas Bjorneboe Braendsrod - excellent, but I do think I prefer an older Gremin) was intensely moving, as we see how Tatiana has found a peaceful and grateful love with her husband. Soares' face as he watched them dance was so full of pain, dismay and grief that it was unbearable. This wasn't him realising his love too late; he'd known it all along, and had lost Tatiana through his own pride and fear. When they finally express their mutual love, the dam bursts for both of them. But it is too late - for him, and for her. And the only way she can convince him of that is to tear up his letter, although it causes her as much pain as it causes him. He finally flees, and Tatiana is left in a state of shocked and agonising turmoil.

 

Soares' performance was that of a truly great dancer and actor. Complex, nuanced, convincing, gripping and altogether brilliant. And Mendizabal was a worthy Tatiana for this magnificent Onegin. She portrayed a young woman taken out of her introverted, bookish world by her love for this man, whose inner being she sees better than he does. She acts always out of love and goodness (looking after elderly guests at the ball, comforting Olga, trying to dissuade Lensky from duelling, etc), and then builds a loving marriage when she accepts she has lost Onegin. Her dancing was terrific too. David Donnelly was excellent as Lensky - young, handsome and impetuous, but some of his landings were so noisy that they were a distraction. Meaghan Grace Hinkis did well as Olga, but I didn't find her particularly interesting or moving.

 

I so hope that Onegin will come back soon, preferably next season. The sadness being that Soares will not come back too. He got a tremendous reception, and Kevin O'Hare made a very warm and appreciative speech with many other members of the company coming on stage too (and Dame Monica Mason). Flower throws, bravos and tears. Magnificent.

Edited by bridiem
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53 minutes ago, bridiem said:

 

 

I so hope that Onegin will come back soon, preferably next season. The sadness being that Soares will not come back too. He got a tremendous reception, and Kevin O'Hare made a very warm and appreciative speech with many other members of the company coming on stage too (and Dame Monica Mason). Flower throws, bravos and tears. Magnificent.


Looking at my pics I see Marianela Nuñez, Matthew Ball, Mayara Magri, Marcelino Sambé, Claire Calvert and someone I suspect is Ed Watson 

Edited by Rob S
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My photos of his applauding colleagues have unfortunately come out too blurred to be displayable, although I can confirm that Watson was among them.  No idea why the photos below have merged together, but it doesn't look as though I can undo it.

 

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1 hour ago, bridiem said:

I found Soares' Onegin absolutely heartbreaking. Very different to the other Onegins I've seen, and revelatory. In Act I, he isn't cold or arrogant or contemptuous; he's immediately sympathetic towards and attracted to Tatiana, he encourages her to dance with him, and he sees her worth. Only then does he realise that if he allows himself to acknowledge this, he will have to drop his façade, his armour of indifference and boredom that protects him from others and from living a proper life. And that terrifies him and forces him to pull back. The bedroom pas de deux - beautifully performed by both Soares and Mendizabal - is therefore not just Tatiana's dream/fantasy - it's his too. It's how they could have been if he'd had the courage. In Act II, he is constantly drawn to Tatiana and wants to show his love for her, but cannot; he wants to accept and delight in her letter, but cannot; whenever he's tempted to do so, he pulls back. And when he finally tears the letter up, he knows how much he's hurting her and can barely do it; he's full of shame and self-hatred. And the more he loathes himself, the more he pursues Olga and the more atrociously he behaves. He's rejected Tatiana's goodness and love, and he turns to casual cruelty as if to prove to himself that he didn't deserve Tatiana anyway. When Lensky challenges him to the duel, he tries not to go through with it but when Lensky continues to provoke him his pride and anger explode and he carries it through. And then, only then when it's too late, does his façade come down. He sees Tatiana, in effect his conscience, and collapses. The tragedy is his and hers as much as Lensky's (and Olga's). In the final act, Mendizabal's pas de deux with Gremin (Lukas Bjorneboe Braendsrod - excellent, but I do think I prefer an older Gremin) was intensely moving, as we see how Tatiana has found a peaceful and grateful love with her husband. Soares' face as he watched them dance was so full of pain, dismay and grief that it was unbearable. This wasn't him realising his love too late; he'd known it all along, and had lost Tatiana through his own pride and fear. When they finally express their mutual love, the dam bursts for both of them. But it is too late - for him, and for her. And the only way she can convince him of that is to tear up his letter, although it causes her as much pain as it causes him. He finally flees, and Tatiana is left in a state of shocked and agonising turmoil.

 

I agree with @bridiem's reading of the story of tonight's performance (well, last night's now).  Soares portrayed the complexities of Onegin's character with subtlety and feeling, as well as dancing beautifully.  But for me the other stand-out dancer was Hinkis who was delightful as Olga with a lightness and grace that seemed to evade Mendizabal, whom I found to be a good actress but rather stiff and plain dancer. Lukas BB looked very handsome but far too young, and wasn't given much to do.  Donnelly as Lensky was not only very noisy in his landings but technically wobbly - not suited to this part at all. 

 

The last time I saw this ballet was a couple of decades ago I think... and I didn't much like it then but hoped I would this time.  But although it really looks good in the costumes and scenery department there isn't enough meaty choreography for my taste.  I just didn't understand the audience clapping so many really very ordinary group dances etc and came away very pleased to have been present at Suares' farewell, but otherwise somewhat disappointed.  In future I shall stick to the wonderful operatic version of this great story.

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Many thanks for all the photos and to Bridiem for her fabulous post. For Onegin to work as a performance, we have to have sympathy with his character and Bridiem wonderfully explains how sympathetic Thiago Soares portrayal was. What a great way to bring the curtain down on a career that has given so much to the Royal Ballet and brought such pleasure to audiences over many years..

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14 hours ago, alison said:

My photos of his applauding colleagues have unfortunately come out too blurred to be displayable

 

Glad I'm not the only one who had that problem!

 

13 hours ago, Sim said:

Elizabeth McGorian, Monica Mason, Vadim Muntagirov, Alexander Campbell and Federico Bonelli were all there too.  How lovely!

 

Were Muntagirov, Campbell & Bonelli on the right-hand side? I didn't spot any of them. From where I was sitting I could only see the dancers who were on the left & came on with O'Hare. I didn't realise until looking at @Rob S's photos this morning that there were dancers on the right too.

 

12 hours ago, maryrosesatonapin said:

Donnelly as Lensky was not only very noisy in his landings but technically wobbly - not suited to this part at all.

 

I thought Donnelly acted Lensky very well but that his dancing wasn't so good. The complete opposite to Sissens, who I thought danced excellently but who didn't do much for me on the acting front.

 

I feel it was probably a mistake my going to the performance last night. I'd never seen Soares dance before & found that seeing a dancer for the first time at their last performance doesn't work emotionally. I didn't find last night's performance any more moving than the other Onegin performances I've seen during this run & afterwards felt very guilty that I didn't, as other audience members clearly were very moved by it. As was he, of course. I don't think it's just my imagination that there are tears visible in his eyes in this photo.

 

 

 

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