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Subject: "Onegin Insight Evening, 5 Novemver" Archived thread - Read only
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Lynette H

06-11-01, 03:02 PM (GMT)
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"Onegin Insight Evening, 5 Novemver"
   Onegin Insight Evening, Linbury Theatre, 5 November 2001

Insight Evenings at Covent Garden are always something of a lucky dip: you are never sure which dancers you might see, or who will be talking. Yesterday’s session presented the organisers with a bigger than usual headache: Don Q was being filmed in the main house that night, and lots of the Onegin casts would be performing. So the dancers we ended up with Adam Cooper, Johan Persson (recovered from his knee injury), and Gemma Bond: she had to rush off to change to appear in Act 2 of Don Q. The dancers were rehearsed by Jane Bourne from Stuttgart Ballet, who has set Onegin on many companies. Monica Mason provided further introductions and commentary.

The evening was really more of a very gentle introduction to Onegin than an analysis of it. Edward Thorpe provided an introductory short biography of Cranko and a description of the narrative of the work. Philip Gammon described the different sources of the music (look out for a couple of items that you may remember from Winter Dreams). There is a further event in the Linbury in the new year as part of the choreographers series – ‘What to look for in Cranko’ which may go into the actual choreography rather more. This was only glancing discussed. Monica Mason recalled dancing in Cranko’s works, and indicated she thought he grew out of the same environment as Ashton and MacMillan, and shared some of MacMillan’s characteristics in the way that dancers were pushed physically – the height of the lifts, and so on.

There was an interesting discussion of the difficulty in setting a completely new full length work on the company, and the difficulties of getting the detail and the nuances absolutely right. Mason pointed out that when new dancers joined the Royal and danced, say, in Manon, the company as a whole knew the ballet so well that they could absorb them. But a work which was new to everyone was much more difficult – she indicated how useful it was that at least Persson knew his role from a previous company. Any new work would take time to settle. There was much discussion of the role of notation and video. Reid Anderson had been over earlier, and would return for the final week of rehearsals to the final polish: but Jane Bourne does most of the preparation. She watched Bond and Persson rehearse an Olga / Lensky pas de deux, and gave various corrections. We also saw Bond and Cooper in a little flirtation dance with linked hands (it reminded me a little of Ashton’s Neapolitan dance, very fast, very tricky), and Cooper in a solo.

This is Gemma Bond’s first role of any substance. She is very young and looked quite shy and said she had initially felt rather overwhelmed. She was determined to get the details right and asked for a chance to repeat a section. Persson’s partnering was very attentive. I hope rehearsing in front of a friendly audience gives her confidence – she looked very attractive. There wasn’t much characterisation evident from the dancers yet, apart from Cooper. Persson’s smile is even more dazzling at close range. Both he and Cooper spent some time answering questions. It was obvious that very considerable thought and effort has gone into the preparation and rehearsal of this production – I felt inclined to go and book for some additional casts.

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  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
  RE: Onegin Insight Evening, 5 Novemver Tomoko.A 06-11-01 1
     RE: Onegin Insight Evening, 5 Novemver Paul A 07-11-01 2

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06-11-01, 06:44 PM (GMT)
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1. "RE: Onegin Insight Evening, 5 Novemver"
In response to message #0
   Thank you Lynette for this report. It was an interesting evening. But I hoped they would cover the area of the set and costumes. The education manager, Ms MacKenzie showed us one of the original costumes Marcia Haydee wore and she said Tamara Rojo will be wearing it. What does that mean ? Aren't the RB dancers getting new costumes ? Are they borrowing the set and costumes from another company like Don Q ? That original costume Tamara is supposed to wear looked beautiful but it must have been made in 1965 ! ? Or have I misheard what ms MacKenzie said ?

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Paul A

07-11-01, 08:59 AM (GMT)
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2. "RE: Onegin Insight Evening, 5 Novemver"
In response to message #1
   The information pack that LFB/ ENB produced in the mid-80s (if anybody still has a copy, I didn't keep it) was very informative about the designs - how the gauze sets are constructed, how all the costumes for the corps are subtly different though some in cut (look at the men's uniforms in the last act for differences in detailing).

I think I remember that there is - or certainly was - a stock of fabrics etc in Stuttgart from which all costumes are made so that the subtle colours of the costumes can always be replicated.

Maybe the press office or the education department may still have the Onegin information pack - it's only a few pages but well produced.

Was anything said about how the sets get round the fire regulations - the fact that they did not withstand the "match test" was the reason this production was pulled in the mid-70s when the RB tried to acquire it then.

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