It was the very last chance to see him on stage, this brilliant and emotional, also elegant and heartful ballerino named Thiago Soares. What a joy, what a pleasure to watch him dancing, especially when he finds his own way as a character in a piece! Only very few master dancers have proved so much abilities to demonstrate style and competence in once. With „Onegin“ by John Cranko, one of his favourite roles, he yesterday said goodbye to stage. Soloists and corps of the Royal Ballet struggled hard to be a perfect partner with several top performances. But the star of all stars this evening was him, Thiago! So his boss Kevin O‘Hare, ballet director, came at the end to embrace his superstar in front of the audience: „We will miss you!“ Tears and kisses, flowers and champagne created a melancholic atmosphere full of respect.
Born in Rio de Janeiro, Soares first danced in Rio (Brazil) and Moscow (Russia) before his career as a shooting soloist started in London (England).
Only 38 years old, Thiago decided to leave stage before his beauty would vanish. Indeed he had danced a lot of these roles every dancer is dreaming of. Siegfried, Solor, Rasputin – his repertory includes very masculine parts but also dreamy boys.
Thiago Soares as a star means both: lyrical power in combination with dramatic strength.
One of his career highlights was dancing Rudolph in „Mayerling“ by Kenneth MacMillan, meanwhile his Siegfried in „Swan Lake“ by Liam Scarlett also cannot be forgotten.
Since 2002 he danced in London, since 2003 as a First Soloist. So now he never will do it again, but yesterday we had a festival of hearts thanks to Soares‘ willpower to be a person on stage and not to do as if.
In „Onegin“ as the title hero he has to force all his deep abysses in himself.
Eugene Onegin is a lover, a dandy, a decadent but also passionate wealthy man without family ties in old Russia about 1820. John Cranko created the ballet after the verse-novel by Alexander Pushkin. The first version oft he ballet, staged in 1965 with Stuttgart Ballet, was not the high success it was expected. But the overworked version that appeared in 1967 indeed became one of the most popular and beloved ballets worldwide.
Cranko first worked about Pushkin’s theme when he was creating the dances for the opera „Eugene Onegin“ by Tchaikovsky. That was in 1952, and Cranko, born in 1927 in South Africa, was still kind of new in England. Only six years before he started dancing for Sadler’s Wells, but his great talent for choreography was yet shown in „Children’s Corner“ after the music by Debussy in 1947.
In 1961 Cranko changed to Stuttgart to become the famous ballet director with this strong attitude of humanity. And he created one superballet after the other, meanwhile the absolute milestone of his life‘s work is „Onegin“.Cranko died much too early in 1973 during a flight. Too much alcohol and pills sadly forced his decease. Nevertheless he was one of these exceptional persons nobody could be angry with. He had so much to give!
The music for „Onegin“ is made by another genius, by Kurt-Heinz Stolze. He was not a genius in composing but in remaking classical music. So he chose and arranged orchestra music by Pjotr I. Tchaikovsky to have a real stream of feelings for Cranko’s ballet.
The sound is opera, ballet and cinema – and it gets under your skin. You do not have a chance to escape!
Nowadays this music is played mostly extremely romantically, with a lot of loudness and dramatic storms in it. But Valery Ovsyanikov as conductor with Royal Ballet changes this tradition. He is waltzing so softly and with such a gentle kindness that the emotional power really creeps out of the strings.
Especially the strings and the First one is a dream to be heard!
Isn’t this the heartbeat of wild Onegin and loving Tatiana in one soul harmony?
After so many rousing portrayals of „Onegin“ – by dancers like Heinz Clauss (the first one), Reid Anderson, Evan McKie (who received a price as best Onegin of all days), Johan Kobborg, Wieslaw Dudek, Mikhail Kaniskin, Marian Walter, Edvin Revazov, Marlon Dino, Friedemann Vogel, Jason Reilly and, oh, oh, oh, Denis Rodkin (sorry, this list cannot be perfect) – now Thiago Soares stands in one line with the best „Onegins“ in history.
With endlessly soft landings after the gorgeous jumps.
But this Onegin, he is so typical for manly machismo! He is disgustingly arrogant in his first scene, just like it used to be. Lovely and also thoughtful Tatiana (Itziar Mendizabal is a marvellous dark and dynamic Russian intellectual girl) looks at him first in her mirror and then into his eyes. Oh, and her heart is melting…
But Onegin is not interested in her love. For him women are something to have fun with – and not to be grateful.
Her sister Olga is engaged with Lensky. Meghan Grace Hinkis is a very young, very soft Olga, dancing with a lot of harmony with David Donnelly as Lensky. He is a typical hot, young and lyrical lover who will die of his own hubris and greenness.
Because Onegin flirts too much with Olga. He wants to bother Tatiana, but he risks his life with this.
What a dance when they celebrate but hurt each other!
Lensky is freaking out. He wants revenge with a duel. And he is shot down by Onegin’s better pistol hand.
What a ballet!
So now there are more graves than ever between Onegin and Tatiana.
Ten years later he meets her unexpectedly.
She now is married with a fine Prince and absolutely happy.
Tatiana has changed: She is not any longer a shy kid from the countryside. But a glorious and admired beauty of high society.
Onegin falls in love.
It is his inner tragedy that he could not love when he could be successful.
Now, when jealousy and envy push his feelings, Onegin want to possess Tatiana.
Will he have the chance to reach her? Will he have a very last chance to change his whole life full of sins into a life with love and honesty?
He does not ask. He writes her a short letter: He will come and visit her when she is alone.
No way out, she thinks. Of course she is still loving him. Deeper than ever.
But when he appears in her room, coming down to earth to say „love me, forgive me, love me forever!“, she stays strong.
Wasn‘ t he the one who drove her nearly mad? Wasn’t it him to say life would never be good again? Wasn’t it him who had no heart and who is only an adventurer without any challenge?
But his eyes. His lips. His hands. His arms, his legs, the beauty of it all!
He almost seduces her. Almost. Several times. Almost.
This last great pas de deux is one of the undisputed climax of dance in ballet history.
Thiago Soares himself says that it is one of the most difficult pas de deux in the classical repertory. But it is also one of the most beautiful dances in the world.
What a fight of passion with knowledge! What a battle of emotions.
Thiago Soares danced in Frederick Ashton’s marvelous pas de deux „Thais Meditation“, he danced Rudolph in „Mayerling“ and one of the most heartful Solor interpretation in „La Bayadère“.
Now he is a perfect Onegin wringing for his true life, for his inner soul, for his love.
But he has to lose.
Tatiana is not that kind of woman changing her mind just like that.
She is cruel to herself and has a lot of power in handling her own emotions.
She had to stand so much. She had suffered so much!
Now she wants her freedom. Her satisfaction. Her vision. Her future.
But wouldn’t it be a wonderful life with this great love to Onegin?
When they see each other, smell each other, feel each other, the world seems to be another one.
He would not keep his promises. That’s what she thinks.
Tatiana still suffers, because she really loves Onegin. But she prefers dispense.
Maybe for several reasons. Maybe just for one.
She does not want to sacrify her happiness and her good relationship to her husband to be a girl without honor.
So she shows him the way to go home. And to run out of her life!
Will he come back one day? What will be the end then?
We do not know. We are moved and enchanted to tears.
It is all our own love Onegin and Tatiana live.
Don’t you remember the first love on the schoolyard?
Or the first stolen holding hands in the club?
The first look you thought: this person or noone else…
Only very seldom people can find together without feeling pain in their hearts.
Onegin has to dream now like Tatiana has dreamt all her life.
Is this okay? Or should she go with him?
What would you do?
Thank you, Thiago Soares, for answering all these questions with every gesture on stage.
We will miss you, too!
Franka Maria Selz / Gisela Sonnenburg