Onegin is a three act ballet by John Cranko and is based on the novel by Alexander Pushkin. It features music by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky (who created the opera Eugene Onegin), arranged and orchestrated by K.H. Stolze who selected the music for the ballet from Tchaikovsky’s vast repertoire. This dramatic story fuses love and tragedy in Imperial Russia. Most of the scenery and costumes, courtesy of the Dutch National Ballet, were in muted, natural tones. Onegin adorns black throughout the ballet, in what I suspect was a purposeful decision, which makes his mysterious, harsh and brooding character more distinctive than those around him.
The story follows young Tatiana, her sister Olga, Lensky (Olga’s fiancé) and Onegin, the love interest of Tatiana, who fails to reciprocate her feelings until it is too late. Ashley Ellis as Olga was superb and danced with perfect musicality; breathing with the music as she danced her pas de deux with Patrick Yocum who danced as Lensky, her fiancé. Her facial expressions were sweet and natural and she believably portrayed a girl in love every moment she was with Yocum. Yocum was believable for the most part as Lensky though his facial expressions seemed forcedat times. His shining moment came in act two, before his duel with Onegin, in a solo performance that was emotionally charged and powerful. Lasha Khozashvili wonderfully danced and acted the part of Onegin. He was clearly conflicted while in the company of Tatiana, danced by Petra Conti. Their connection during their pas de deux was enchanting both in act one and in act three. They danced beautifully together. Emotions and tensions were high in their pas de deux in act three, taking place years later, where Tatiana received audience applause for staying strong and committed to her husband, Prince Gremin. Khozashvili had many wonderfully acted moments including his mean-spirited fight with Tatiana and flirtatious moments with Olga. The pas de deux in act three between Tatiana and PrinceGremin, danced by Bo Busby, was graceful and fluid.
The corps de ballet was fantastic throughout and received thunderous applause early in act one as the male dancers guided their leaping partners across the stage. The party scene in act two was lively and enjoyable to watch as was the ball in act three. The nurse, portrayed by Sarah Wroth, added a much needed dose of humor and lightheartedness to the story.
This exquisitely executed production of Oneginplays at the Boston Opera House until March 6th. Tickets and information can be found by visiting bostonballet.org.
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