Friday, 31 March 2017

Dutch National Ballet's Onegin

Standard YouTube Licence

Remco van Grevenstein

Dutch National Ballet, Onegin, Music Theatre (Stopera), Amsterdam Wednesday 29 March 2017, 20:15

Today I went to see Onegin performed by the Dutch National Ballet at the National Music Theatre in Amsterdam. Not knowing the story of Onegin or the Music I was going in unprepared. Normally when I go see a ballet I go to the Dutch introduction so I have an idea what to expect. That day I was a little too late for that part so I had to do without it.

What I had learned from the trailer is that it was a love story: and that is what I saw.  It was a true love story.

I already knew some of the dancers who were to perform the lead roles. For Onegin, DNB cast Jozef Varga whom I had seen a couple of times in other shows. For Tatiana, DNB cast Anna Tsygankova whom I loved in Mata Hari. She was also the lead in my second ever live ballet performance - The Nutcracker and The Mouse King. For Olga (Tatiana’s sister), DNB cast Qian Liu whom I don’t know. And for the part of Lensky (Olga’s boyfriend and best friend of Onegin), DNB cast Remi Wörtmeyer whom I could only remember from one other show. That was Balanchine's Tarantella Pas de Deux and I did not like him very much in that role. 

All four of them played an excellent part in their own way. 

The love from Qian and Remi felt so real that I wished them all the happiness in the world. Qian as the playful sister who sees the joy in life in every corner. Remi as the somewhat jealous boyfriend who tries to make her happy. In the first act, first scene they danced a duet together as two lovers who had not seen each other in a long time. 

The love that Anna had for Jozef was a childlike passion for the new guy on the block. Jozef just saw Anna as a little child who had read too many romantic novels. In the second scene of the first act, Anna and Jozef dance a duet together. I’m not sure if it is just me (I did not hear anyone else speaking about it) but I saw a red ‘’aura’’ around Anna while she danced in a dream with Jozef. It could have been the lightning and the dress or it could also have been my imagination. If it was the dress and the lighting design it was an excellent result. The red ‘’aura’’ looked like there was a lot of passion coming from Anna. If it was just my brain and my eyes. then I would have been the only one who had this great experience. :) 

In the second act, there is a big dance scene with lots of other dancers where Onegin is dancing with Olga. I’m not sure if he just liked Olga or if he tried to make Tatiana believe that he does not like her or to make his friend Lensky jealous. If it is about his friend, it worked. Lensky got so jealous of his friend dancing with his girlfriend that he slaps Onegin with a glove, telling him he wanted a duel to the death. While both Olga and Tatiana try to change Lensky’s mind with an interesting dance between the 3 of them Lensky does not want to look like a coward and keeps insisting that he wants the duel. Even Onegin tries to change the mind of his friend explaining to him it was all for a laugh. At the end of the second act, the duel happens and both men draw their guns and fire. 


After the duel, Onegin looks like the winner of the duel and at the same time. Tatiana starts to cry while seeing her sister crash to the ground.

At the start of the 3rd act, lots of dancers are on the stage like it is a mannequin challenge prompting a great round of applause from the audience.

When Onegin comes on stage he is wearing a moustache and he has some grey hairs giving the impression that some time has passed between this ball and the dual. While Onegin is trying to find his way into life again, Tatiana is dancing a duet with prince Germin whom she married. Onegin finds out that the princess is the little girl he once turned down. Seeing her reminds him of his past and the emptiness of his life. In the second scene of the 3rd act, Onegin comes into Tatiana’s bedroom bearing a letter declaring his love for her. While she might still love him, she tells him that he is to0 late. She tells him to leave her alone forever. Tearing up his letter and giving it back to him, you can see the despair in his eyes. 

For me, this is the best role I have seen Jozef perform. I so believed his emotions after he shot his best friend when he saw Olga crashing down and leaving Tatiana running and screaming as he left the stage in silence. I got so emotional from his acting that I had to dry my eyes. 

The emotion coming off the stage into the audience was so good and so real for me that I can only say this was a job well done by all members of the cast and the live music directed by Ermanno Florio and the Dutch National Ballet orchestra.  

After what I have seen today I would love to see more of Quin Liu and Remi Wortmeyer. I know from Mata Hari that Anna Tsygankova is a great performer and now Jozef Varga is my new ballet hero.

If I could give this production 5 stars I would give it a 4.9. I’m still wondering what happened to Olga in the 3rd act. I would have loved to see the love between the sisters at the end. 

Since this is my first blog a little bit of information about me. 

I’m a 45-year-old (or young) autistic man from the Netherlands. I came into contact with ballet a little over 2 years ago while visiting an Open House at the Dutch National Ballet (on 8 April 8th there is another Open House with the DNB in Amsterdam). Since I saw my first live ballet I fell in love with the art and try to watch all shows in Amsterdam. But as you can read I don’t know enough about ballet to tell you what kind of dance they are dancing. I can only tell you what I see and how I see it as an autistic man.

1 comment:

  1. Great review. I particularly like the impression of the red aura around Tsygankova.