Teatro alla Scala Onegin

Onegin
Teatro Alla Scala
Tuesday, 26th September 2017

Onegin – 09/26/2017 

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Marianela Nunez and Roberto Bolle as Tatiana Larina and Eugene Onegin in the mirror pas de deux from act 1
Eugene Onegin: Roberto Bolle
Tatiana Larina: Marianela Nunez
Vladimir Lensky: Timofej Andrijashenko
Olga Larina: Alessandra Vassallo

When I first saw Royal Ballet’s Onegin at the Royal Opera House in January 2015, I suddenly fell in love with it: three acts of pure passion, wonderfully danced by Marianela Nunez and Thiago Soares and Tchaikovsky’s stunning score, literally a dream. So, when I saw Onegin in Teatro alla Scala’s program, and with Marianela starring as Tatiana, I obviously had to see it.

The production opening September 23rd and running until October 18th in Milan, saw Roberto Bolle in the title role alongside Marianela, and Alessandra Vassallo and Timofej Andrijashenko as Olga and Lensky.

I have to say, being at ROH once or twice a week, I am perhaps too much a Royal Ballet kind of person: when I see something non-Royal, I always strive not to think “Royal would have done it this way”. This time was no difference: compared to ROH Onegin, Scala’s one disappears in terms of corp de ballet, costumes, scenography and, most of all, interpretation.

I am not saying it was not a good show, I thoroughly enjoyed it: Timofej Andrijashenko was a really good Lensky, and so was Alessandra Vassallo as Olga. I really liked their pas de deux and Andrijashenko’s final Lensky. Roberto Bolle… well, everyone in Italy loves him, but in my opinion he’s a bit overrated: I saw him in many different ballets, and his performance seemed to be always the same from an interpretative point of view, whether he’s playing Onegin, Albrecht or Romeo.

The thing is, in Italy he’s the only well known dancer, far to publicised as apparently he’s thought to be the only italian dancer on the planet.
I’ve always considered Onegin as one of the Everests of male ballet roles, but I found Bolle’s Eugene way too… flat charactered, even though technically good. I did not see any glimpse of the psychological torment of act three, when Eugene, years later rejecting Tatiana and Lensky’s death, eventually returns to Russia and finds Tatiana married to Prince Gremin. Even when, overcome, he begs Tatiana to return his love, Bolle looked like a cold prince, whilst Marianela’s struggled refuse to break her vow to her husband broke everyone’s heart within the public.

Indeed, talking about the stunning star of the evening, Marianela was nothing but amazing: her Tatiana was so passional, poignant and powerful, wonderfully portraying a sensitive young girl in the first act and a blooming and strong woman in the third one. She gave the public a massive masterclass of impeccable technique, intense passion and dramatic sensibility (I almost cried at the end). She is so perfect for this role, and in particular in the mirror scene, when the youthful Tatiana dances a dream pas de deux with her longed-for lover, her dancing was so stunning and supplied Bolle’s lack of emotion.

Overall, I love how John Cranko choreographed the dances for Tchaikovsky’s opera, from Alexander Pushkin’s verse-novel Eugene Onegin as well: the narrative path is remarkable and it’s astonishing how he managed to create such a poignant choreography, full of so many different feelings, built together into a stunning framework for the ballet’s main characters in his own distinctive version of Pushkin’s work; and in my opinion, there’ll never be someone capable to portray it all as Marianela. Literally bowing down to her amazing artistry!

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