I enjoy as they say getting ‘cultured’ and love live performances whether it’s theatrical productions, opera or ballet. If I had the opportunity I would see a performance/show at least once a week. In Australia, especially Sydney it can prove to be an expensive bobbie to have.
When my husband and I went to St Petersburg last February (2011) for my cousins wedding, I tried to get us into as many shows as possible, including the Cinderella ballet production at the famous Mariinsky theatre and the Evgenii Onegin Opera later on in the week. It was great being inside the Marrinsky theatre for a ballet performance and seeing how much it is appreciated in that part of the world by many international as well as local guests.
Seeing Onegin the Opera and re-living the classic story was in a way also a look into the culture and poetry of that era and seeing one of Pushkin’s great works on stage proclaimed him once again as the undisputed Russian poet.
After this experience it is always interesting to see a production of a ballet titled “Onegin” – the three acts based on the Opera as we saw it in St Petersburg, but by Australian dancers and a full ‘international’ and multicultural cast.
We had fantastic seats and my friend and I could see almost every detail of the dancers facial expression and poise and technique which they have practiced I imagine for their entire career.
The characters in Alexander Pushkin’s verse novel ” Onegin” are as follows:
- Eugene Onegin
A dandy from Saint Petersburg, about 26. An arrogant, selfish and world-weary cynic.
- Vladimir Lensky
A young poet, about 18. A very romantic and naive dreamer.
- Tatyana Larina
A shy and quiet, but passionate landowner’s daughter.
- Olga Larina
Tatyana’s sister. A vain coquette.
In the version of the ballet which we saw the role of Onegin was performed by Kevin Jackson. A dancer born in Perth, whom the Sunday Age titled ”Physically striking and technically assured.” He was probably the best dancer on stage that Friday night. Strong personalty shone through with rigid facial expressions and a dark cloud of seriousness and masculine demeanour. Overall a well- rounded dancer and certainly owns the stage presence in the lead role.
Miwako Kubota has one of the lead parts as Tatyiana. Originally from Japan, The Daily Telegraph describes her as” Delicate and regal.” Her form is unique and she certainly has the poise of an honoured ballerina. She certainly is suited to the role of the more serious, but passionate persona. When you see the facial expressions, there is a lot of sorrow which is being portrayed, slightly over-exaggerated in parts where romance and feelings of love should be the domineering factors where a viewer searches for some endearment as oppose to despair. Nevertheless her performance was immaculate.
Miwako Kubota – Tatyana
Reiko Hombo ” Utterly charming” , as described by The Age, is Olga. Always smiling, light, bubbly and fits the character of the sister who loves parties, seeks attention constantly and does not care for boring books. Also born in Japan, Hombo shines on stage and the audience was certainly warmed up to her from the beginning as she brought a lightness onto the dramatic portrayal of the novella, almost exaggerated by Kubota.
Reiko Hombo – Olga
You will enjoy this ballet production if you are an avid fan of Pashminas and Pas De Deux, explained by “When, in today’s ballet, you see a man express his feelings for his lady by hurling her into the air, catching her upside down, and wrapping her around his neck like a pashmina, you are seeing the legacy of the Bolshoi.” (Pashminas and Pas de Deux)
It is a story with no happy end and takes a realistic approach to life. A woman who once fell in love so carelessly, takes a stand and chooses to fulfil her marital duties instead of running off with the man she used to love. A man who has ‘crawled’ back on his hands and knees to ask for her hand in marriage and has proclaimed his foolishness in the earlier years when they first met.
All in all it was a good night for the ballet at the Sydney Opera House, and I would like to see more of classical productions staged by the Australian Ballet. It is a great thing that multiculturalism can be embraced on and off stage as well, and everyone can enjoy the storytelling rather than focusing on the pure politics behind it.
More information on the Australian Ballet here
Onegin is scheduled to run in Sydney until the 21st of May and Melbourne in June
For more events click here
Photo courtesy of www.theballetbag.com