HomeMagazineListingsUpdateLinksContexts

 


 Ballet.co Postings Pages

 Some Special Threads:
  GPDTalk about George Piper Dances ! NEW !
  NBTTalk about Northern Ballet Theatre
  SBTalk about Scottish Ballet
  ENBTalk about English National Ballet
  BRBTalk about Birmingham Royal Ballet
  TodaysLinks - worldwide daily dance links
  Ballet.co GetTogethers - meetings and drinks...

  Help on New Postings


Subject: "Onegin 27/11" Archived thread - Read only
 
  Previous Topic | Next Topic
Printer-friendly copy     Email this topic to a friend    
Conferences What's Happening Topic #2307
Reading Topic #2307
SLH

28-11-01, 01:45 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail SLH Click to send private message to SLH Click to add this user to your buddy list  
"Onegin 27/11"
 
   Feedback pls from anyone who went. Esp interested in Alina and Gemma Bond.


  Printer-friendly page | Top

  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
  Fresh Onegin discussion here please Bruceadmin 28-11-01 1
     RE: Fresh Onegin discussion here please emma 28-11-01 2
         RE: Fresh Onegin discussion here please Jane S 28-11-01 3
             RE: Fresh Onegin discussion here please alison 29-11-01 4
                 RE: Fresh Onegin discussion here please Peng Chiang 30-11-01 5
                     RE: Fresh Onegin discussion here please Anne-Fabienne Raven 30-11-01 6
                         RE: Fresh Onegin discussion here please Helen 30-11-01 7
                             RE: Fresh Onegin discussion here please Paul A 30-11-01 8
                             RE: Fresh Onegin discussion here please alison 30-11-01 10
                         RE: Fresh Onegin discussion here please sylvia 30-11-01 9
                             RE: Fresh Onegin discussion here please sylvia 02-12-01 11
                             RE: Fresh Onegin discussion here please sylvia 02-12-01 12
                             RE: Fresh Onegin discussion here please Lily 02-12-01 13
                             RE: Fresh Onegin discussion here please sylvia 02-12-01 18
                             RE: Fresh Onegin discussion here please George 03-12-01 19
                             RE: Fresh Onegin discussion here please Ann Williams 02-12-01 14
                             RE: Fresh Onegin discussion here please Anneliese 02-12-01 15
                             RE: Fresh Onegin discussion here please Anneliese 02-12-01 16
                             RE: Fresh Onegin discussion here please sylvia 02-12-01 17
                             RE: Fresh Onegin discussion here please alison 03-12-01 22
                             RE: Fresh Onegin discussion here please sylvia 03-12-01 23
                             RE: Fresh Onegin discussion here please martin 04-12-01 26
                             RE: Fresh Onegin discussion here please martin 04-12-01 27
                             RE: Fresh Onegin discussion here please sylvia 05-12-01 29
                             RE: Fresh Onegin discussion here please Pete 03-12-01 20
                             RE: Fresh Onegin discussion here please Mike 03-12-01 21
                             RE: Fresh Onegin discussion here please Tomoko.A 03-12-01 24
                             RE: Fresh Onegin discussion here please sylvia 03-12-01 25
                             Re: Onegin Music Jonathan 05-12-01 28
                             RE: Re: Onegin Music Pete 05-12-01 30
                             RE: Re: Onegin Music alison 05-12-01 31
                             RE: Re: Onegin Music Anneliese 05-12-01 32

Conferences | Topics | Previous Topic | Next Topic
Bruceadmin

28-11-01, 02:14 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail Bruce Click to send private message to Bruce Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
1. "Fresh Onegin discussion here please"
In response to message #0
 
   The last therad at:
http://www.danze.co.uk/dcforum/happening/2294.html

was starting to get full - can we continue the discussion here please. ta


  Printer-friendly page | Top
emma

28-11-01, 04:15 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail emma Click to send private message to emma Click to add this user to your buddy list  
2. "RE: Fresh Onegin discussion here please"
In response to message #1
 
   Can someone be really really really kind and post the programme notes on Bond?

please


  Printer-friendly page | Top
Jane S

28-11-01, 05:30 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail Jane%20S Click to send private message to Jane%20S Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
3. "RE: Fresh Onegin discussion here please"
In response to message #2
 
   The programme says that Gemma Bond was born in Bedfordshire, studied with Sylvia Bebbs and at the RBS, danced Zulme in the RBS performance in 2000 and joined the company that year.

For someone who's never done a solo role before on the main stage, I thought she did very well. From last night's performance, though, you might well be forgiven for thinking that Olga was the older sister - Cojocaru as Tatiana looked about 13 in the first scene. Her dancing (AC's) was amazing - she seems to be be totally without fear and threw herself into the mirror pd2 with an abandon you had to see to believe. I was less convinced by her interpretation - she seems to me just too young - but I spoke to other people who thought she was absolutely wonderful.

Star of the evening for me was Kobborg; and compliments too to Bennet Gartside as Gremin.


  Printer-friendly page | Top
alison

29-11-01, 01:48 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail alison Click to send private message to alison Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
4. "RE: Fresh Onegin discussion here please"
In response to message #3
 
   I agree wholeheartedly with what Jane says. Bond didn't appear to be overcome with nerves at her debut in a major role, and danced well, but on the other hand I wasn't overwhelmed by the feeling that this was another star in the making and that it was obvious why she'd been picked from the bottom rung of the corps.

Cojocaru ate up the choreography like noone else I'd ever seen (possibly the fact that she was half the age of the other performers I'd seen had something to do with it? ), but yes, I felt that her interpretation was wrong. She seemed to me more like a 13-year-old experiencing her first crush rather than a young woman falling irrevocably in love (and if Tatiana isn't in love, how do you explain her desperate reaction to Onegin's return?). I'd expected that her extreme youth might count against her, but actually I found her most effective (and affecting) in the final scene, where she seemed to have gained a good deal of maturity. However, I think she really should have done that at the *beginning* of the third act (10 years on from Act 2, according to ENB's programme notes; a less-believable 4 according to the opera libretto - and presumably only a few hours before the final scene), but she was dancing the pas de deux with Gremin as if she were a young girl in love for the first time, which I think totally wrong in context. Gremin is in love with her, and undoubtedly she loves him, and has learned contentment in the marriage, but she's not in love with him (and, again according to the opera, she should hate the bright lights of St. Petersburg and really rather she were back in the country with a good book). Also having someone as tall as Bennet Gartside dancing with her was a bit unfortunate, as it only reinforced the impression of a child bride, rather than a more mature woman.

I did think Kobborg was extremely good as Onegin, but overall I came away wondering what it was that I'd seen in this ballet 10 years ago that made me love it so much.


  Printer-friendly page | Top
Peng Chiang

30-11-01, 03:12 AM (GMT)
Click to EMail Peng%20Chiang Click to send private message to Peng%20Chiang Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
5. "RE: Fresh Onegin discussion here please"
In response to message #4
 
   I don't know where everyone is getting the idea that Olga is Tatiana's OLDER sister. Olga is the YOUNGER sister. Cranko didn't reverse their birth order from the Pushkin poem. Somewhere, the wrong information has been printed!

I've seen this ballet countless times by the National Ballet of Canada and the Stuttgart Ballet. It is one of my favourite ballets and is breathtaking if danced and acted properly.

Please keep posting your thoughts and reviews. I love reading about the different casts. A few of the lead dancers (Tapper, Persson, Tewsley) used to dance with the National Ballet of Canada so it's really interesting to hear what you think about their performances.


  Printer-friendly page | Top
Anne-Fabienne Raven

30-11-01, 08:54 AM (GMT)
Click to EMail Anne-Fabienne%20Raven Click to send private message to Anne-Fabienne%20Raven Click to add this user to your buddy list  
6. "RE: Fresh Onegin discussion here please"
In response to message #5
 
   What a fabulous acquisition! This is a life-enhancing work, whose choreographic arrangement for the pas de deux is the material for great technical and dramatic interpretation, as embodied by Alina Cojocaru and Johan Kobborg. The music offers some unique and very gratifying moments, although one cannot help but comment upon the fact that it is shame to have had to serve an ‘arranged and orchestrated’ version of Tchaikovsky’s music, yet again.

ACT I, SCENE 1, MADAME LARINA’S GARDEN

The music introduces the ballet, which opens - as for each act - upon a tableau vivant of the scene, which turns to action as the transparent gauze, which frames it, lifts. The audience is thus led into the intimacy that lies behind the picture. The opening scene is that of a charming countryside garden outside a cottage, surrounded by foliage. The lighting projects a golden summer’s day reflected in the colouring of the costumes, whose greens and yellows compliment that of the stage décor. The two sisters Olga (Gemma Bond) and Tatiana (Alina Cojocaru) are here presented in their differing characters – the one in her carefree and jovial nature, the other plunged into her inner world of imagination. Their Nurse and Madame Larina are also present as girls from the neighbourhood arrive and play an old folk game: whoever looks into the mirror will see her beloved.

Enters Lensky (Johan Persson), a young poet engaged to Olga, and his friend Onegin (Johan Kobborg), dressed in black, from St. Petersburg, who bored with city life, has come to explore what the countryside has to offer. Olga and Lensky then engage in a pas de deux suggesting the flowering of a young, innocent and sincere love. Persson gives a sensitive and earnest interpretation of his role, making his way through the pirouettes in arabesque seamlessly, and the grand allegro weightlessly. Bond is endearing in her childlike charms, light ballon, delicate pointe work and carefully placed épaulement and use of arms, which make her performance thoroughly enjoyable, even without the 90° turn out and high extensions that usually dominate the stage.

The stage then clears and the audience is taken privy to a first pas deux between Tatiana and Onegin, whom she is deeply falling in love with. The chemistry projected between the two protagonists is already at this stage, astounding – she hoping but not daring and he totally self absorbed and indifferent - the breath of communication between them is seamless. Johan creates a very strong male presence on the stage, which is intimidating to Alina’s frail frame and thus perfect for the roles. He goes through his solo with absolute assurance, sensitive musicality and precise characterisation. He is beautifully controlled, aligning step after step like cream, with no stops and starts. Alina seems to embody the essence of the classical dance: she is as light as a feather on her pointe shoes, her line is book-perfect, and controls exactly how much energy she applies to each movement. She maintains her audience breathless with every step she takes, as it awaits to discover what other marvels she is will convey next. Through these two dancers, the classical idiom truly becomes a language, which they utter with utmost expressive clarity.

Having exposed the core relationships of the plot, this scene closes with a full stage of local boys and girls, whose festive energy and joie de vivre, lively propelled by the score and choreography, make one smile in adoration. I have to admit my special penchant for their exit grand jetés across the diagonal, which we have the pleasure of experiencing twice through!

Formal goodbyes are presented at the forefront of the stage during the scenery change which leads us to....

SCENE 2, TATIANA’S BEDROOM

.....where we enter the scene of the much famed bedroom pas de deux. Set in a lavishly curtained, three dimensional, wall papered décor, this scene is sparingly furnished to leave space for the ecstatic action that is to come. As Tatiana falls asleep upon the love letter that she has begun to write to Onegin, and begins to dream, the lighting changes from its interior tone to a deep blue, suggesting a surreal atmosphere, in which the material of the imagination becomes reality before the audience’s eyes. As Johan steps through the mirror and into Tatiana’s bedroom, Cojocaru’s body becomes fully energised, and the pas de deux begins. Through Cojocaru, Tatiana is transformed to physically serve the wildest of her passions, in a sequence of movements so originally put together and astonishingly rendered, that one is stunned moment after moment by what one is seeing. Cojocaru and Kobborg are ostensibly perfectly co-ordinated in their use of breath, dynamic highlighting and use of the music. This allows them to take great spatial and time risks, which they manipulate so theatrically, rendering their interpretation all the more exciting. Although small in build, Alina creates lines that sore across the entire stage and auditorium with such a rush of emotion that one is left dumbstruck by what one has just witnessed. Her lines have razor-sharp clarity, which she either contains within her body or sends darting across the space like arrows of passion. Although she throws herself into the pas de deux, her movements retain flawlessness, her lines perfectly placed and finished. Her technique is thus so reliable that she is able to solely concentrate upon expressing her character, which she does with such veridical conviction that she seems to have been dancing this role all her life. Such is the power of putting to art what the imagination can conjure, especially when interpreted by great artists.

ACT II, SCENE 1, TATIANA'S BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION

We are brought back to social reality through the presentation of a lavish interior, presenting a main dancing area with large bouquets hanging from the ceiling, opening upon a further corridor at the back, where more dancing takes place. The setting is to celebrate Tatiana’s birthday in a joyous atmosphere mixing the young and old, where young men and women are seen to waltz in and out with a bounding assemblé porté en avant for the girls. Onegin is bored with the company and particularly irritated by the, to his eyes childish, love letter that Tatiana has sent him. In a moment of intimacy he returns the letter to her, rejecting her avowals and tears it up in her hands, leaving her sobbing with affliction and despair, as the dream she had the night before falls to crumbles. The company returns to waltzing centre stage as Tatiana is taken aside. Suddenly it parts again leaving space for Tatiana to express her grievance to Onegin, in a solo that bursts through the stage with astounding expressive power. Her legs rushing through the variation with tremendous impetus and sincerity, the fouetté arabesques cutting across the diagonal in deep distress; her restlessness at Onegin’s indifference is utterly convincing.

To coronate the chaos and confusion that already drench this scene, as well as the darkening of Onegin’s character, he decides to flirt with Olga and provoke Lensky in a partnering sequence that is playful and set to very engaging music. Annoyed at first, the latter becomes progressively more irritated, until no longer able to control his impassioned rage, he challenges Onegin into a duel, albeit the sisters’ begging protests.

SCENE 2, DUEL

The duel is set in a Romantic style décor; woodland bathed in a sombre grey evening light, upon which a veiled moon shines. Lensky appears on stage to express the soreness of his heart in a solo that Persson gives with sensitive integrity, weaving his way through this difficult sequence with technical assurance and emotional transparency. Olga and Tatiana then enter the stage taking Lensky into a whirlwind trio of supplication, in a seemingly endless energy flow passing through swerving arabesque lifts. The energy lifts again at the arrival of Onegin who, in turn and in vain, tries to dissuade Lensky from taking on the duel. Lifts sore even higher as the women grand jeté, and the scene is finally resolved by the indignated Onegin taking two parallel multiple turns in his resignation to the duel, which Kobborg pulls off with marvellous drama and energy.

The two men walk away to the back of the stage, behind a darkened see-through scrim. They aim and shoot – Lensky falls to the ground. Onegin returns to the front of the scrim where the two sisters lay holding each other. Tatiana stands erect and stares, shaming Onegin who in turn takes his hands to his head and walks away, leaving Olga sobbing her loss.

ACT III, SCENE 1, ST PETERSBURG

The orchestra opens the last act with great gusto and passion, and the curtains lift to reveal the scene of a grand palace ballroom clad in a deep burgundy, and a floor of elegant men and women, in grey/blue tights and jackets and pastel grey/pink and blue mid-shin long dresses. We are in the residence of Prince Gremin in St. Petersburg. The scrim lifts and the invités begin to dance across the floor. Activity abates as the Prince enters, followed by Onegin who has returned to St. Petersburg after having travelled the world looking for serendipity. We are drawn to his inner world as the lighting shifts again to that deep blue of the bedroom pas de deux, and women pass through his hands as in a daydream, him not really in control but seemingly swayed by these transitory events. We then return to the Palace lighting, and Tatiana enters in a lush crimson dress. Prince Gremin to whom she is now married warmly greets her. Onegin, still absorbed in his memories of the past, does notice her as she begins her pas de deux with her husband. This is danced beautifully with Gremin a very attentive partner, giving his very best support for Cojocaru. Her split jetés are invariably of 180° magnitude and the grands rond de jambe into the splits to the floor are so delicately executed and caught by Gremin that the poetry of the motion, as in the whole of the pas de deux, is never lost. Cojocaru portrays a content and peaceful state of being, in which the emotional chaos of her earlier years has no place. But not for long; Onegin notices her and comes to greet her as she terminates her pas de deux. Taken aback she quickly moves offstage with her husband and the invités resume their dancing.

SCENE 2, TATIANA’S BOUDOIR

Finally we are taken to the last and most dramatically wrought of all scenes. Set in deep auburn, Tatiana’s boudoir is again sparingly furnished with only a bureau on the left side of the stage, a stool on the right and two tall plant ornamentations standing either side of the entrance set at the centre of the back of the room, whose walls are transparent so that the audience is able to view the coming and goings in the adjacent corridor. Tatiana is at her desk, reading a love letter that Onegin has sent her. Gremin enters to bid her goodnight and she pleads him to stay with her. He declines and she is left stepping across the boudoir restlessly as, in the corridor we can see Onegin pacing vigorously and undecidedly. Finally she returns to her desk and he rushes in through the door to the very forefront of stage right where he stops abruptly. Breaths are held, movement is halted. Tatiana then rises from her chair and walks forward to stop at the forefront of stage left. The music lifts and Onegin rushes towards her.

This pas de deux is the most incredibly well crafted, emotionally descriptive pas de deux of the entire ballet, with Alina and Johan just dancing their life out. It must be seen and I wouldn’t want to spoil it by tearing it apart by a series of immaterial descriptions.


  Printer-friendly page | Top
Helen

30-11-01, 09:51 AM (GMT)
Click to EMail Helen Click to send private message to Helen Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
7. "RE: Fresh Onegin discussion here please"
In response to message #6
 
   What a remarkable description, Anne-Fabienne, and a great help to those of us who haven't seen it yet. I'm now looking forward to it more than ever - I'm seeing the Rojo/Cooper cast. It sounds like my kind of ballet!


  Printer-friendly page | Top
Paul A

30-11-01, 10:51 AM (GMT)
Click to EMail Paul%20A Click to send private message to Paul%20A Click to add this user to your buddy list  
8. "RE: Fresh Onegin discussion here please"
In response to message #7
 
   Helen - you will love it.

I'm thwarted by business travel so will not see it this time. But interested by pollsters who know this of old - and are feeling underwhelmed by this production.

I do not understand the old-fashioned references by the crtics and some pollsters. This is a marvellous distillation of the essence of the poem. Far taughter than the opera. Is it something in the performances that makes this not register.


  Printer-friendly page | Top
alison

30-11-01, 01:25 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail alison Click to send private message to alison Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
10. "RE: Fresh Onegin discussion here please"
In response to message #8
 
   Let's put it this way: I saw 2 performances by ENB, about a decade ago, both of which were better. Admittedly, one of them is still in my Top 5 best-ever performances, which is some competition, and ENB had been dancing the ballet on and off for a few years, so perhaps I was just expecting too much from the RB too soon (I freely admit to longing to see the work again for the past 10 years!). My next performance is next week, by which time I hope the company will have settled into the work.

I'm not sure that I'd agree that the ballet is taughter than the opera (although having Tatiana dance flat-out for nearly 15 minutes in a letter scene isn't really an option!). The opera's first act does go on a bit, what with all the peasants and everything, but once that's over I've always felt that the rest of it is just hurtling towards the end.

BTW, I forgot to mention Kobborg's acting in my earlier post. Even from the back of the amphitheatre (aided by no more than standard opera glasses) I could see every expression (and there were a lot of them!) crossing his face. It seemed to me from his behaviour that he was actually subconsciously quite taken with Tatiana (matching up with the opera, in which he questions Lensky's choice of Olga, as he himself finds Tatiana distinctly preferable), which is an interpretation I don't remember seeing before.


  Printer-friendly page | Top
sylvia

30-11-01, 11:51 AM (GMT)
Click to EMail sylvia Click to send private message to sylvia Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
9. "RE: Fresh Onegin discussion here please"
In response to message #6
 
   Anne-Fabienne, thank you for such a wonderfully detailed post - I really enjoyed reading it! I've just fallen in love with this ballet and it's shot to the top of my favourites list. After seeing the first cast I'm finding it hard to believe that anyone else could possibly be any better so given the very positive response to Alina and Johan I'm really looking forward to seeing them tomorrow evening.


  Printer-friendly page | Top
sylvia

02-12-01, 04:36 AM (GMT)
Click to EMail sylvia Click to send private message to sylvia Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
11. "RE: Fresh Onegin discussion here please"
In response to message #9
 
   I have to admit I had my doubts when casting was first announced and Alina was tobe Tatiana. Then when I read Alina's first reviews for Onegin I expected her to be wonderful. Now after watching her for myself I have to say she exceeded my very best expectations! Her transformation from innocence to passion was breath-taking. In the mirror scene every step, every lift flowed as part of one beautifully fluid movement. I read statements like this everywhere but I hadn't realized until now that it was something I'd never seen or appreciated.

Adam Cooper is a hard act to follow but Kobborg more than matched them, using his enormous technical capacity to inject drama into his role. Before the duel while arguing with Lensky he pulls off these multiple pirouettes, amazingly fast and centred before stopping suddenly and slamming his fist down, and
the speed at which he spins made his anger seem all the
greater. I also didn't find him as ice-cold as the others. His interpretation I thought was more subtle, more nuanced and no less beautiful to watch. He's a brilliant partner for Alina. They looked so confident it was like they'd been dancing together all their lives. They had so much speed and held nothing back in the acrobatic lifts.

There's been so much made about Alina being 'not mature enough' for Tatiana but I disagree very strongly. Of course she can't hide her youth but she had such poise from the start of Act III and her pdd with Gremin was so loving and kind she convinced me wholeheartedly of her maturity.

In the final letter writing scene I got chills from the passion and desperation let loose. Their partnership is extraordinarily memorable and their performance is a must see.


  Printer-friendly page | Top
sylvia

02-12-01, 05:02 AM (GMT)
Click to EMail sylvia Click to send private message to sylvia Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
12. "RE: Fresh Onegin discussion here please"
In response to message #11
 
   Johan Persson's Lensky was very accomplished, especially his heart-felt Act II solo. Gemma Bond made a lovely Olga but her interpretation I felt wasn't particularly deep. Still I'm looking forward to seeing how she develops in the company.


  Printer-friendly page | Top
Lily

02-12-01, 01:56 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail Lily Click to send private message to Lily Click to add this user to your buddy list  
13. "RE: Fresh Onegin discussion here please"
In response to message #12
 
   I saw yesterday's matinee performance with Jaimie Tapper as Tatiana and Nathan Coppen as Onegin and I have to say that it was the best thing that I have ever seen.

The sets and costumes were just lovely and as for the dancing...well, all I can say is promote Jaimie Tapper to principal. She was just amazing in her portrayal of Tatiana. Nathan Coppen was excellent as the brusque arrogant Onegin - when the tables turned on him his anguish was totally convincing. The final pdd when Tatiana gave in for a moment to her inital emotions towards him was so moving...

Hurrah for the RB to have such a fantastic ballet to dance. This was the first time that the RB moved me to tears - those ones you always remember!

Superb!


  Printer-friendly page | Top
sylvia

02-12-01, 10:28 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail sylvia Click to send private message to sylvia Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
18. "RE: Fresh Onegin discussion here please"
In response to message #13
 
   I thought Tapper was wonderful as well and so different Tamara (more exotic I thought) and Alina (in a class of her own), but no less passionate.

I wasn't sure about Coppen when he first came out - he looked like too much of a nice boy! Tewsley, Cooper and Kobborg asserted their personalities from the very first step. But he did win me over very fast.


  Printer-friendly page | Top
George

03-12-01, 01:46 AM (GMT)
Click to EMail George Click to send private message to George Click to add this user to your buddy list  
19. "RE: Fresh Onegin discussion here please"
In response to message #18
 
   Nathan Coppen is fantastic. He always shows his partners at their best; and what a performer he is himself.


  Printer-friendly page | Top
Ann Williams

02-12-01, 02:38 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail Ann%20Williams Click to send private message to Ann%20Williams Click to add this user to your buddy list  
14. "RE: Fresh Onegin discussion here please"
In response to message #12
 
   I thought both Cojocaru and Kobberg were exaordinary as Tatiana and Onegin las night (1/12). I don't think Cojocaru's youth diminished her power in the role in the least; she was heartbreaking throughout, especially in the scene where Onegin contemptously tears up her letter. Her whole body changed even as she was standing still, as if the life had been suddenly, invisibly drained out of it. Her dancing too was beyond any superlatives I can find; I keep coming back to this 'blown by a breeze' description I used once before because it's the only way one can convey the effortless quality of her movement. Kobborg caught the tortured mixture of Onegin's cruelty and conscience so exactly that it's easy to imagine a successful career as a stage actor when his dancing career ends. His partnering in the difficult mirror pas-de-deux was secure and smooth - he made it look easy - and his solos were beautifully controlled and precise. I can't imagine that any of the other pairings could come close to what these two achieved, but I will try to see them all.

(Incidentally, on the plot of 'Onegin' I can't resist quoting from Louise Levene in today's Sunday Telegraph: "There are two basic female fantasies: the one where the man of your dreams makes an unscheduled appearance in your bedroom, and the one where the man who done you wrong comes crawling back years later to find you slim, rich and happy ever after".)

On a slightly different point, 'Onegin' made me think of how much Cranko influenced MacMillan's work, especially in the pas-de-deux, and most especially the mirror pdd which has unmistakable echoes in the second pdd in 'Manon'. Likewise, Onegin's flirting with Olga is mirrored in Rudolph's flirting with his wife's sister in 'Mayerling'. It probably would have been difficult for MacMillan (or any other young choreographer) not to have been influenced by such a powerful dramatist as Cranko.


  Printer-friendly page | Top
Anneliese

02-12-01, 04:17 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail Anneliese Click to send private message to Anneliese Click to add this user to your buddy list  
15. "RE: Fresh Onegin discussion here please"
In response to message #14
 
   I'm writing this before reading the rest of the thread... will comment on other posts later!

Firstly, the trivia: the in house restaurants are dreadfully over-priced. The menus change only every 2 1/2 months, with only 4 dishes to choose from for each course, and they require you to choose your food 5 days ahead. This says to me that wastage should be minimal; why, then, £38-50 a head? Pleasant enough food, but only averagely executed. Excellent service, though, and I did like the view across the Floral Hall.

Secondly, to the slightly less trivial: the ballet lasted rather less than an hour and a half. Perhaps we could have done away with at least one interval? Operas of this length (eg Salome, Flying Dutchman, and IIRC the Rape of Lucretia) have all been presented without an interval and no puddles on the floor ensued... and the emotional impetus is maintained.

OK, back to the plot.

This ballet looks fantastic. The sets are simply marvellous, and the costumes work perfectly (I particularly like the authentic RAF blue uniforms in Act III!). Act III in particular was gorgeous with that deep perspective. Masterful design - sumptuous in feel and realistic looking, yet simple and uncluttered as well. All of a sudden I felt that Julia Trevelyan Oman had a lot to learn.

I was very impressed with the choreography - I have read some criticism of the corps dances in various reviews, but I can't agree with it. I thought it worked very well indeed (particularly the end of Act I Scene I, where all of a sudden Olga and Lensky stopped being cardboard). The pdd struck me as much more imaginative than MacMillan - maybe imaginative is the wrong word. MacMillan's work has more posturing and writhing, less balleticism, it seems, and Cranko managed to get in the passion and the drama AND give us steps as well - and make it all look fresh and different. As a whole, I think this piece (cue Linda Barker voice) "works really, really well". My only niggle was that Madame Larina and the Nurse may as well not have been there. Those parts could have been written up a little - a waste of a couple of fine dancers.

The music I found uninspiring (there was some fine woodwind playing in parts, but on the whole it was rather dull music rather drearily played) - I did wonder what Lanchbery or Mackerras (who worked wonders on the ROH orchestra 3 weeks ago in the Bartered Bride) would have made of the commission.

On to the main protagonists and their dancing. In the first act I found Persson and Bond rather "so what"; nothing really stood out about either of them (but we can blame Pushkin for some of that I suppose). Cojocaru conveyed far more personality, and so did Kobborg. Both of them conveyed their characters perfectly within seconds of moving on stage. Kobborg was a real revelation from the word go in this piece - I've admired his technique, of course, but now found just what a great actor he is as well, with his face and demeanour as well as his arms and legs. His speed and grace are quite dazzling - I was reminded rather of Nureyev as Armand sometimes. The last time I wrote on these pages about him I compared him to the young Dowell. He really is a fantastic dancer and I would now put him top of my list of must see casts in anything the RB do. Cojocaru puts her whole self into her dancing - there's nothing more I can say really! She may be tiny but she dances big when the work calls for it (I found her style here a great contrast to her performance as Clara and in the awakening pdd from Beauty - far more abandoned) and wow, in the mirror pdd she was sensational. (by the way, that was another dancer being her reflection, wasn't it?)

Act II gave us some very fine acting from 3 of the 4 leads. Gemma Bond did very well in the party scene - she really acted that whole setup beautifully - but in the big emotional bit around the challenge and the duel she didn't feel really came across. Nothing wrong with her dancing, she just didn't grab me particularly. But then again Olga isn't an easy part to make something of, and she isn't a very experienced dancer. Persson's solo just before the duel was very VERY good - a real showstopper. But it was decidedly Kobborg's moment!

Act III - well, I talked earlier about the visual impact here. Cojocaru was a revelation in this act. I didn't really think she would be able to pull it off but boy, she did! She looked older and wiser and danced older and more passionate. The tension built brilliantly throughout the act - Kobborg's desperate hope was almost painful to watch (as was Cojocaru's gutwrenching dismissal) and I was horripilating by the end of the ballet (see if I get as many complaints as Susie Crow did for using long words...).

I hadn't been totally thrilled to see the casting for this piece, but I would be very happy to see the same cast again. The performance had complete conviction; the two leads danced to the very highest standards and acted their hearts out; the staging was perfect; and the acid test for me was that while I'm still wondering what Viv 'n' Irek would have done with the work, I didn't spend the performance wishing that they were onstage instead!


  Printer-friendly page | Top
Anneliese

02-12-01, 04:24 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail Anneliese Click to send private message to Anneliese Click to add this user to your buddy list  
16. "RE: Fresh Onegin discussion here please"
In response to message #15
 
   Anne-Fabienne, I totally agree about those grands jetes at the end of the first scene! They are so simple, but SUCH an impact!


  Printer-friendly page | Top
sylvia

02-12-01, 10:24 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail sylvia Click to send private message to sylvia Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
17. "RE: Fresh Onegin discussion here please"
In response to message #15
 
   LAST EDITED ON 02-12-01 AT 11:13 PM (GMT)

>On to the main protagonists and
>their dancing. In the
>first act I found Persson
>and Bond rather "so what";
>nothing really stood out about
>either of them (but we
>can blame Pushkin for some
>of that I suppose).

I agree, I thought they were lovely to watch but made no lasting impression the way Alina and Ethan Stiefel did. When I saw they for the first time, their first pdd, in a way almost rivalled that of Rojo and Cooper.

I'm also rather curious to see some of the changes to the cast -Nunez is partnering Persson as Olga and Lensky as they did at the rehearsal. I think Marianela has so much personality and the two generated more sparks than I saw last night.


  Printer-friendly page | Top
alison

03-12-01, 01:35 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail alison Click to send private message to alison Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
22. "RE: Fresh Onegin discussion here please"
In response to message #17
 
   >>On to the main protagonists and
>>their dancing. In the
>>first act I found Persson
>>and Bond rather "so what";
>>nothing really stood out about
>>either of them (but we
>>can blame Pushkin for some
>>of that I suppose).

I've seen some really good Lenskys and Olgas before, so I don't think we can entirely blame Pushkin!

>I'm also rather curious to see
>some of the changes to
>the cast -Nunez is partnering
>Persson as Olga and Lensky
>as they did at the
>rehearsal. I think Marianela has
>so much personality and the
>two generated more sparks than
>I saw last night.

I'm wondering with interest what will happen with the summer-season casts: will they stay the same, or will Stretton mix and match them? Wait and see, I suppose ....


  Printer-friendly page | Top
sylvia

03-12-01, 04:50 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail sylvia Click to send private message to sylvia Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
23. "RE: Fresh Onegin discussion here please"
In response to message #22
 
   Oh I do hope we'll see some new faces! I keep thinking of all the dancers like Johannes Stepanek waiting in the wings - it would be a shame if their interpretations never saw the light of day.


  Printer-friendly page | Top
martin

04-12-01, 08:45 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail martin Click to send private message to martin Click to add this user to your buddy list  
26. "RE: Fresh Onegin discussion here please"
In response to message #23
 
   Sylvia,

Quel domage!

If only you'd attended the matinee on 1 December you could have seen a very creditable performance by Mr Stepanek substituting for Rupert Pennfather (injured).

Am I alone in thinking that Nathan Coppen didn't convey properly the boredom or world-weariness of Onegin through his (for me)limited facial expresions?

Martin

(PS Many thanks for the cheque)


  Printer-friendly page | Top
martin

04-12-01, 08:54 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail martin Click to send private message to martin Click to add this user to your buddy list  
27. "RE: Fresh Onegin discussion here please"
In response to message #23
 
   Ha!

Defeated again.

Should have realised you saw the matinee from your other posting elsewhere Sylvia. Did you enjoy it?


Martin


  Printer-friendly page | Top
sylvia

05-12-01, 02:42 AM (GMT)
Click to EMail sylvia Click to send private message to sylvia Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
29. "RE: Fresh Onegin discussion here please"
In response to message #27
 
   Martin

Very much! Though I have to admit I couldn't think of anything to write about Jamie and Nathan as Alina and Johan were so overwhelming later that evening. I thought Jamie was wonderful Tatiana. I sorta agree with you about Nathan's lack of 'world-weariness' - when he first came out I didn't think he had the stage presence that Cooper or Tewsley had. But his performance grew on me and I loved those sardonic smiles he flashed the audience. I was thoroughly enjoying it by the last act. I think they were both very good choices.

I did like Stepanek. Not sure about his first act. He seemed overloaded with sugar - much too sweet and adoring! But he partnered Nunez so well - how much notice could they have had? That loud slap he gave Coppen was really something - Ethan Stiefel wasn't so brave tonight!

Sylv

(Re: cheque, you're very welcome!)


  Printer-friendly page | Top
Pete

03-12-01, 03:27 AM (GMT)
Click to EMail Pete Click to send private message to Pete Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
20. "RE: Fresh Onegin discussion here please"
In response to message #15
 
   >Firstly, the trivia: the in house
>restaurants are dreadfully over-priced.
>The menus change only every
>2 1/2 months, with only
>4 dishes to choose from
>for each course, and they
>require you to choose your
>food 5 days ahead.
>This says to me that
>wastage should be minimal; why,
>then, £38-50 a head?
>Pleasant enough food, but only
>averagely executed. Excellent service,
>though, and I did like
>the view across the Floral
>Hall.


Anneliese... I'd love to know more of your thoughts about this, I think we all would. Everyone tell us your experiences of dining near Covent Gdn (I'm not joking, please start another thread on this esp. at the approach to Xmas..)

I totally agree with you about the music, flat and uninspiring. As far as the choreography goes I think Macmillan's choreography is much more innovative and passionate and not so awkward IMHO. In the first act of Onegin, the female has to put her arm across the back of the neck of the male in the pdd whilst being carried (please correct me if I am wrong.) To me this looked totally uncomfortable when I saw Stiefel dancing with Cojocaru -he seemed to be grimacing terribly....

....Cojocaru is a revelation in this ballet!


  Printer-friendly page | Top
Mike

03-12-01, 12:51 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail Mike Click to send private message to Mike Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
21. "RE: Fresh Onegin discussion here please"
In response to message #20
 
   Spent a thoroughly enjoyable evening at Onegin on Saturday, but somewhat marred by one point. Why, oh why, can't people heed the requests to turn off electronic devices during the performance. There was even a reminder just before curtain-up, and yet I still heard 3 mobile phones and a watch alarm in the first act. Very distracting, but thankfully after that, the offenders seemed to get the message and all was quiet!

Other than that, a wonderful evening


  Printer-friendly page | Top
Tomoko.A

03-12-01, 07:00 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail Tomoko.A Click to send private message to Tomoko.A Click to add this user to your buddy list  
24. "RE: Fresh Onegin discussion here please"
In response to message #20
 
   Am I the only one, who loves the music for this ballet ?


  Printer-friendly page | Top
sylvia

03-12-01, 10:43 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail sylvia Click to send private message to sylvia Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
25. "RE: Fresh Onegin discussion here please"
In response to message #24
 
   Oh well, Tomoko you know how I feel - I love the music! The Tchaikovsky pieces chosen are so beautiful, especially those in the mirror and letter pdds, and so well suited it's hard for me to imagine they weren't composed with ballet in mind. When I'm not at ROH watching performances I'm listening to the CD. Speaking of which, I didn't see a single copy of the Stuttgart CD while I was at the ROH shop - have they sold out already?


  Printer-friendly page | Top
Jonathan

05-12-01, 02:06 AM (GMT)
Click to EMail Jonathan Click to send private message to Jonathan Click to add this user to your buddy list  
28. "Re: Onegin Music"
In response to message #25
 
   I am rather surprised by some of the negative reaction to the music. What does Anne-Fabienne mean by "again", for example? How many other scores like this are there? I admit, I don't think the music is Tchaikovsky's best - after all, a lot of it is his salon piano music (and hence rather sugary/popular song-like stuff) arranged by Stolze, not 'the real thing' as it were. But then I've never heard anyone complain about the Black Swan solo in Swan Lake, even though this interpolation is in exactly the same league as a lot of the Onegin music - a piano miniature orchestrated and chucked into a foreign score.

For all that, Onegin has always seemed to me a very coherent score, with drama in all the right places, and a particularly clever second act, where the narrative is carried through social dances. And I always thought the 'Valse à cinque temps' before the duel was terribly clever as an 'unhinging' device.

I can think of far worse scores, and far greater abuses of better ones - leave the poor sod alone!



  Printer-friendly page | Top
Pete

05-12-01, 03:40 AM (GMT)
Click to EMail Pete Click to send private message to Pete Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
30. "RE: Re: Onegin Music"
In response to message #28
 
   Having listened to the score on CD, it sounds so much better (by the Stuttgart State Orchestra with James Tuggle conducting) than live at the ROH!

The Orchestra of the ROH sound so dull sometimes, evidenced by the sheer disinterest on their faces. It often looks like they're just turning up to clock on. I've heard that they generally consider ballet scores inferior to opera scores.

Has anyone else noticed the glaring difference in commitment between the ROH Orchestra and the Royal Ballet Sinfonia?


  Printer-friendly page | Top
alison

05-12-01, 01:18 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail alison Click to send private message to alison Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
31. "RE: Re: Onegin Music"
In response to message #30
 
   >Has anyone else noticed the glaring
>difference in commitment between the
>ROH Orchestra and the Royal
>Ballet Sinfonia?

I think it was pretty evident last summer, whenever it was that the RBS were in occupation . Mind you, I was then a bit critical of their performance at Sadler's Wells in September.


  Printer-friendly page | Top
Anneliese

05-12-01, 04:05 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail Anneliese Click to send private message to Anneliese Click to add this user to your buddy list  
32. "RE: Re: Onegin Music"
In response to message #28
 
   Agree with you about the waltz in 5, but on the whole found the music totally unmemorable. The climactic moments in each scene worked really well musically IMO, but the early parts of each scene were just not very inspiring (to me anyway). Actually, I have the same feeling about Tristan - lots of tedium, then a good bit, then an interval, then lots of tedium, then the last 15 minutes is pretty good, then an interval...

Thinking again, though, perhaps I was bit harsh. The music didn't detract from the action, and the whole worked pretty well, so it can't have been that bad. It just felt more like film background music than an integral part of the artistic whole.


  Printer-friendly page | Top

Conferences | Topics | Previous Topic | Next Topic

 
Questions or problems regarding this bulletin board should be directed to Bruce Marriott