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The Royal Ballet, Onegin, January 2015

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To get the ball rolling on this production, the cast for the General Rehearsal today was: Osipova; Golding; Naghdi; Ball and Gartside. Their first of three shows is, of course, next Friday (30th).

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Just back from the general rehearsal and very pleased to let everyone know that Natalia danced as Tatiana, and rather splendid she was as well. Matthew Golding made a very good fist of Onegin and Matthew Ball an excellent Lensky with Yasmine Naghdi completing the leads as Olga. My first viewing of Onegin and looking forward to my next one. Natalia really does not hold back and is very exciting to watch, made me gasp a couple of times and well played Matthew during their very difficult pas de deux's. The boys and girls doing all the corps things were good too with all the boys having moustache's ( but not the girls ) they must have been a fashion item in those days. Musn't leave out Bennet as the Prince, he accompanied Natalia in their bit beautifully.

 

Main news, of course, is that Natalia is back dancing.

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Thank you, SPD444, for this wonderful report.  I can't wait to see this cast and so happy to know that Osipova is well and truly back to grace us with her unique interpretive genius.  Bless you for this generous notation. 

Edited by Bruce Wall

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I can't wait to get my teeth into some meaty ballet for a change. Only 12 hours or so to go ...

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Somehow Matthew Ball completely bypassed me up to now (as in I didn't even recognise the name), but I definitely sat up and took notice at the rehearsal.

 

The rehearsal cast certainly was an unexpected treat yesterday. I left with a big grin and zero regrets at having had a greedy attack resulting in a silly number of Onegin tickets purchased a few months ago.

 

Though the moustaches cracked me up, particularly when combined with mascara. They should have moustache twirling competitions whilst working on their evil laughs.

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Matthew Ball's talent first emerged in public when he was the third prize winner (behind Anna Rose O'Sullivan and Teo Dubreil) in the Young British Dancer of the Year Competition 2011.

 

Many of us sat up and really took notice when he was in his second year at the RBS Upper School and had a lead role in the performance of John Neumeier's Yonderling in the summer 2012 performances.

Edited by capybara
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Seventeen tickets are now available for this evening's performance including some cheapish ones.

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Foteini Christofilopoulou was at the dress rehearsal of the opening night cast (Thiago Soares and Marianela Nuñez). Here are a couple of sample photos:

15731026623_13dcb16e2c_z.jpg
Vadim Muntagirov (as Lensky)
© Foteini Christofilopoulou. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

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Marianela Nuñez, Thiago Soares
© Foteini Christofilopoulou. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

15728546294_94b4bddd86_z.jpg
Marianela Nuñez, Thiago Soares
© Foteini Christofilopoulou. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

See more...
Set from DanceTabs: Royal Ballet: Onegin (with Soares/Nunez)
Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr
 
By kind permission of the Royal Opera House

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I must say, Onegin is a breath of fresh air after the Christmas season!

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Any news on Saturday's two performances please? Lots of debuts...my curiosity is high before I see these casts!

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I saw the matinee today, and rather liked Mendizabal, particularly in the third act when Tatiana's emotional distress came through beautifully in her dancing and acting. Whilst Kish he can look quite impressive at times, his dancing doesn't tend to particularly engage me and the mirror pdd didn't really lift off for me. He was better in the more angry scenes, though eventually swerved a bit into melodrama.

 

Someone described Stix-Brunell as a ballet minx on Twitter, and I thought that really fitted her Olga. By the time she's done with Onegin, you really understand why Lensky is utterly enraged. Edmonds' Lensky was quite endearing (and impressively enraged). There might have been a few small hick-ups, a lift that didn't look as fluid as I'd expect of those two, but nothing to marr the enjoyment of their performance.

 

Special mention should go to Stepanek and his fine moustache and princeliness (I am not actually obsessed with moustaches, but Stepanek must be one of the few 21st century men who can rock a 'stache). With a prince like that, why would you even look at Onegin?

 

There were lovely flowers for both ballerinas at the end, too. The conductor had a hard time to get past Mendizabal's flower haul when they were walking backwards on the stage during the applause.

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With a prince like that, why would you even look at Onegin?

I must admit that the thought did occur to me during Act III, too :)

 

Good debuts by all, I thought (although I don't believe it was actually a debut for Kish - hasn't he danced Onegin before? I seem to remember thinking it odd when he was cast as Lensky last time around). I'm not going to comment excessively because I had an unfortunately restricted view during several important parts, and couldn't see the main characters. That in itself reminds me, though: do they usually put the card table quite that far over to the left in Act II? There were even a lot of people in what I thought were supposedly unrestricted-view seats leaning over to see what was happening, and I couldn't see at all. Not a good idea to have your main protagonists out of view during crucial moments of the ballet.

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I was also at the matinee and a few weeks back I was pretty disappointed to find out I wasn’t going to be seeing Lauren Cuthbertson and whilst Onegin is never going to be one of my favourite ballets (I prefer the big blockbusters) Itziar Mendizabal was very good. She took the character along really nicely from the young girl with her nose in a book, to the abandon of the dream sequence and finally the posh society lady. Beatriz Stix-Brunell was definitely a cheeky tease pulling Lensky and Onegin one way and then the other!

 

As noted by Coated, Mendizabal had a good collection of flowers at the end; the audience were also very appreciative of her in their loud applause. Itziar looked very happy and somewhat relieved that it had gone so well (was this her first full length ballet as the main lead at the ROH?).

 

Though having described it as a full length ballet, a ballet where the intervals are nearly as long as the acts is a bit cheeky! ;)

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Thoughts on my first (ballet) Onegin last night...

 

As a ballet, it is maybe not perfect - I think the opera conveys the grand emotion and melodrama better.  The ballet is emotional, but on a much more restrained level and smaller scale.  However, I still liked it a lot, as a ballet I think it lacks some substance but works very well nonetheless, and I really enjoyed the performance.

 

I was very struck by the two leads.  I haven't seen the Nunez-Soares partnership often, and hadn't been particularly enraptured of them previously.  I'd also read less positive reviews of Soares' abilities, so wasn't sure what to expect.  He completely removed those doubts with his performance last night, which was masterful and assured throughout what looked to my untutored eye like a very difficult part technically.  I also finally got why Marianela is so feted by RB audiences - her dancing was beautiful.  My only comment would be she maybe needs to act on a slightly grander scale, as it was hard to discern her emotions accurately from the amphitheatre!

 

Muntagirov (almost unrecognisable with that hair and make-up!) gave a good performance.  It did remind me of a comment from Sergei Polunin that he was unhappy at RB because he had to learn a lot of new parts and make his debuts before he was ready.  I think Vadim will grow into the part of Lensky over time - on his debut he struck me as having learnt the part thoroughly and able to dance it well due to his wonderful technique, but now needs time to get under the skin of the character to bring it to life.  But hats off to him for the number of new parts he's learnt and apparently mastered effortlessly this season.

 

Akane Takada seemed fine in the part of Olga, without blowing me away.  I'm still unconvinced by the Takada-Muntagirov partnership - I think they work fine together, but Vadim could do so much more with a different partner.  I was impressed by Hirano, giving a restrained and confident performance as the prince - I'll look out for more from him.

 

This was my first viewing of Onegin, but it seemed to me a superlative performance by the whole company (including corps).  I think the technique and passion everyone on stage put into their parts lifted it from being an ok ballet to being a good, borderline great, ballet last night.

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Thought Thiago Soares was superb last night, he was the perfect Onegin from start to finish, Marianela Nunez made an amazing transformation from a pale ethereal girl in the first two acts to radiant wife in the final act. The dancing of Akane Takada and Vadim Muntagirov was pure beauty, in fact this ballet has never looked better overall, corps de ballet looked great, even the lighting managed to be evocative to suit the delicate designs, whilst still sufficient to see properly from the amphi.

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I absolutely love Onegin...the music, the sets, the costumes, the lighting, the choreography, in fact the whole package! How I wish the Cranko Estate would permit the filming of it.

I have to agree with Beryl that Soares was superb. He is such a good actor and last night his dancing seemed more polished.Surely Onegin has to be his best role. I was also blown away by Muntagirov (again). The purity of his act 2 solo was a joy to behold. Marianela was lovely, but with vivid memories of Cojocaru's Tatiana  from the last two runs still in my mind, I felt she seemed a bit heavy.

Can't wait to see what Osipova makes of it on Friday.....

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Oh, I would love a dvd or blu-ray of Onegin. I've only ever seen it once - my first and last experience of the Amphi! - but even from that height, the beauty and intense emotion of Marianela and Thiago's performances were palpable. I couldn't get to ROH for this run but I'd love to see Onegin again.

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I saw the matinee and I agree Nicol Edmonds was a lovely Lensky and Johannes Stepanek will do me as Prince Gremin any day;-) I didn't really get much off anyone else.  The corps de ballet we very good (considering the recent demands on them!) and that fabulous blast of 2 running lines of flying jumps is one of my ballet all time favourites and they pulled it off with aplomb.  The ballroom scenes were beautiful too.  I think I would have preferred Nunez/Soares to Mendizabal/Kish as having seen them before perhaps have been spoiled!  I enjoyed it but have seen far better - I am thinking Mikhail Kaniskin in Berlin as Onegin is rather good too as is Polina Semionova as Tatiana.....

 

I too would love to have an Onegin DVD or to see it on cinema relay but aren't there issues with the Cranko Estate?  It would be a best seller in ballet world terms I am sure if only say Stuttgart Ballet would make a DVD.  There is a need!

Edited by Don Q Fan
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I saw the FGR which wasn't like a rehearsal at all - it was terrific, not sure I have ever seen a better a rehearsal ! So maybe it was no surprise that I found the matinee  disappointing - all the protagonists performances were significantly weaker. I liked Nicol Edmonds the most but I had hoped for better dancing from him in the pre-duel solo: there was too much wobbling and poor control. Kish's Onegin was out of the silent movie school of acting - all wild eyed staring and little else. I just didn't feel any chemistry between Kish & Mendizabal so it all felt flat and I left before the final act. 

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I was photographing at the Friends rehearsal - so here are a few photos. Looking forward to seeing it properly, at their proper performance...
 
16367510751_6085069f5a_z.jpg
Yasmine Nagdhi, Matthew Ball
© Dave Morgan. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr
 
16183363407_333188bc36_z.jpg
Yasmine Nagdhi, Matthew Ball, Natalia Osipova
© Dave Morgan. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

16343264806_2e9ed804d8_z.jpg
Natalia Osipova, Matthew Golding
© Dave Morgan. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

See more...
Set from DanceTabs: Royal Ballet - Onegin (Golding/Osipova cast)
Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr
 
By kind permission of the Royal Opera House

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Thanks so very much for the wonderful (as ever) pictures, Dave.  They hold drama in and of themselves.  I simply can't wait to see this cast answer the promise of your own artistry.  Bless you. 

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Lovely photos from Onegin, costumes are gorgeous!

 

I saw Onegin a few years back with Johan Kobborg & Mara Galezzi (who was a replacement for Alina Cojocaru due to injury) & it was my first time I saw the RB live, it did bring tears to my eyes because it was so beautiful. The music, dancing, music were just brilliant.

 

It is a shame the ballet is not on blu-ray.

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One of the biggest regrets of my ballet-going career (and it has been long!!) thus far is that Alina and Johan in Onegin has not been committed to tape (or whatever it is these days...DVD?  Blu Ray?).  However, their performances will always be committed to my heart and my memory, and in a way their perfection in this ballet makes it hard for me to watch anyone else, no matter how good they may be.  For me, there is them, and then there is everyone else, so I just have to treat all other performances accordingly!

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I would love to see it again, Spanner and Sim. We were blessed to see Alina and Johan in it and they both blew us away as they did so frequently. Why oh why isn't it on DVD? ????

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One of the biggest regrets of my ballet-going career (and it has been long!!) thus far is that Alina and Johan in Onegin has not been committed to tape (or whatever it is these days...DVD?  Blu Ray?).  

 

Or on youtube.:-) Not that I condone filming in theatres, but I'm very grateful for what's out there!

 

I've seen so many dancers that give wonderful interpretations of Tatiana and Onegin. But I think only Cojocaru and Kobborg have, for me, expressed all that wild emotion through their dancing as well as their acting. I was very sorry that Kobborg was injured last time as I didn't expect to see them dance it again.

Edited by Sunrise
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Thank you for the excellent photos, Dave. And the last one is so poignant.


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I saw Onegin a few years back with Johan Kobborg & Mara Galezzi (who was a replacement for Alina Cojocaru due to injury) & it was my first time I saw the RB live, it did bring tears to my eyes because it was so beautiful. The music, dancing, music were just brilliant.

 

It is a shame the ballet is not on blu-ray.

 

Off-topic, I don't think I saw them dance Onegin together, but I did adore their R&J and Mayerling (because of injuries). I always enjoyed Galeazzi and Kobborg together because they are both such expressive actors, and when they danced, I got that feeling of two people "meeting for the first time", and all the excitement that comes with it, that I stopped feeling in their other more familiar partnerships. I thought that was quite exciting, all that unpredictability and not almost not knowing what was going to happen, in spite of knowing the ballets backwards. :-)  

 

I do also wish we could have seen Rojo and Kobborg dance together a bit more, just for variety :-)

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Yes.  There was a stage, early on, when I liked Rojo and Kobborg better in Giselle than I did Kobborg and Cojocaru :).  Plus I still wish the two had been cast together in Romeo & Juliet, because their individual debuts were so powerful.

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Yes.  There was a stage, early on, when I liked Rojo and Kobborg better in Giselle than I did Kobborg and Cojocaru :).  Plus I still wish the two had been cast together in Romeo & Juliet, because their individual debuts were so powerful.

 

I regret missing that one. Almost ironic that of all the recordings that could have been, Rojo and Kobborg in Don Q is one that we've got. (Which I still find quite good fun, but I wouldn't have minded another ballet. :-)  )

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