tue 04/08/2020

Onegin, Royal Ballet | reviews, news & interviews

Onegin, Royal Ballet

Onegin, Royal Ballet

Ballet-drama by numbers, even with fabulous performances

Alina Cojocaru and Johan Kobborg: A stellar pair of dance-actors do their damnedestPhotograph © Dee Conway/ROH

One gin is not enough, not two, or even three gins, to make me susceptible to the idea that John Cranko’s ballet Onegin is anything more than a second-league costume drama with a peachy ballerina role in the middle. But it’s box office, and with Alina Cojocaru and Johan Kobborg in the central roles last night for the Royal Ballet's opening salvo of the season, there wasn’t a hair's-breadth spare in the house, every place gone, even the standing ones in the gods where you can only see a sliver of the stage.

He shuts up like a clam on realising that this girl is dull little Jane Eyre, not gorgeous Blanche Ingram

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What a wretched review. I find it hard to believe that we both saw the same ballet last night. You must have been the only person present who wasn't utterly blown away by what they'd experienced onstage. Perhaps you should stick to reviewing opera in future.

What a rude comment. FWIW, I saw this Onegin a couple of years ago and share Ismene's sentiments about the general inadequacy of the choreography and the storytelling (Olga and Tatyana turning up at the duel, for godssake). It's mostly rather tacky and very soft-centred, and doesn't begin to compare even with Marta Fiennes's film, let alone the opera or several stage adaptations I've seen.

FWIW I just found this review for the 2001 RB production of Onegin on the BBC website: "It is one of the greatest narrative ballets of this century, choreographed by one of the greatest choreographers the Royal Ballet never had." Each to their own, huh.

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