You Review: Royal Ballet’s Onegin

Reader Nicholas Wibberley enjoys watching live ballet for the very first time

You Review: Royal Ballet’s Onegin

It was with a sense of shame that, at the age of 22, I had to admit to having never seen a ballet. This shame was alleviated (mildly) when a fellow music student replied: ‘Ah, you’re lucky then.’ When the look of confusion crossed my face he continued: ‘You can still see it for the first time!’ It was with excitement, then, that I booked tickets for the Royal Opera House in Convent Garden to see Onegin last week. 

Not to be confused with Tchaikovsky’s opera of the same name, John Cronko’s ballet Onegin comprises of arrangements by Kurt-Heinz Stolze of lesser known works by Tchaikovsky into one three-act orchestration. The ballet’s dramatic storyline is based on the famous novel in verse by Alexander Pushkin. With a plot full of courtship, love, jealousy, duelling, murder, regret and irony, the stage was set for a fantastic introduction to this highly regarded art form.

The performance was outstanding.
 As one would expect from the Royal Opera House, every detail was immaculate. The designs by Jürgen Rose, lighting by Steen Bjarke and staging by Jane Bourne melded together to create an atmosphere of real drama; superbly decorated by the immense talent of the dancers. Thiago Soares (Onegin) and Akane Takada (Olga) were, for me, simply indescribable. Their emotional and dramatic depictions of their characters brought a real sense of both humanity and reality to the story. 

All this was accompanied by the most moving and inspirational playing from the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House under the direction of the equally inspiring young conductor Dominic Greir. The emotion and drama in their playing, coupled (of course) with their usual technical perfection and musical skill, rounded the entire performance off as a masterpiece of theatre. 

In me, you will find a convert to ballet!


– Nicholas Wibberley, London



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