He is back! „Onegin“, title hero of one of the most beloved ballets of our time, is dancing again in Germany. At least, at least! It was a good thing to wait for him… but it is better to see him now! For only one day – tomorrow – he will even come into the cinemas in several German towns with the actual stars of Stuttgarter Ballett – and with Staatsballett Berlin (SBB) he will dance live this season, in six wonderful following performances in Staatsoper Unter den Linden. Just yesterday we saw in Berlin the brilliant debut with exciting Evelina Godunova as Olga and Daniil Simkin as Lenski, flanking lovely Elisa Carrillo Cabrera as Tatiana and sovereign Mikhail Kaniskin as Onegin. What a show, what a show! It was amazing and touching, the soloists impressed and the also important corps de ballet was – although a lot of dancers are brandnew in Berlin – totally marvellous. So the title hero shows again that „Onegin“ has to say so many things without words! „Onegin“, you are back, indeed!
It is proved so often that this ballet is the absolute masterpiece by John Cranko who reinvented the company of Stuttgarter Ballett in the sixties in the last century. Until today, „Onegin“’s cineastic dance drama with music by Peter I. Chaikovsky, edited by Kurt-Heinz Stolze, has not lost it’s magical power at all.
Forget „Doctor Zhivago“, forget „Gone with the Wind“ – „Onegin“ is the world’s first historical and heartful show. True!
And you will never forget this show, especially not the last pas de deux at the end of the piece.
Elisa Carrillo Cabrera (Principal with SBB) loves dancing it, and that’s what you can see.
Her role as Tatiana fits perfectly to her smart beauty and behaviour. With long and soft arms and with a fine and precise style in the legs she is able to make everyone fall in love with her.
Tatiana is very successful here, in act three: She who was a difficult child and a non flirting young woman is now married to Prince Gremin who is indeed the best guy a loving woman could have.
Alexej Orlenco is a charming Gremin, giving security and a lot of warm emotions to his partner. No doubt he protects his Tatiana from all fears and problems.
But: her heart, oh, her heart still belongs to this weird and nasty, at the same time so handsome and elegant title hero Onegin.
He came first to Tatiana when she was too young to see his mistakes.
Onegin was her first love and stayed in her heart all the years – and then, without knowing what he would do, he also falls in love with her.
Late, it is too late – Tatiana stays with her dear loving husband, she cannot give up him and their calm luck for someone who nearly had killed her psychologically when she was a young girl.
Because he was cruel, very cruel, when she was so much in love with him that she wrote a love letter years ago. He wasn’t interested at all in her although he made her fall in love with him. With a gesture of heartlessness he gave her back the letter.
Now, ten years later, he comes to see her and tries to seduce her… how difficult is her situation, and how much she has to suffer!
But of course Tatiana stays strong. She dances with Onegin, but she is not weak.
She loves him for the time of a dream.
Their pas de deux has so much style and art, so much love and erotic sense that it is hard to believe that this couple is not made for eternity.
But there is no way to come together for a future… Onegin has to leave.
Will it be forever? Will he return one day?
Tatiana stays herself. But she had to sacrifice the fulfilment of her desire.
Will she still feel her life as something very worthy?
We do not know.
But we know that indeed that every great love includes more ideas and idealism than only sex or happiness. Love is not consumption, and sometimes it has – because of that – no chance in society.
Here we are, back to the roots of all love tragedies: time and space are not the same when love comes up to open the eyes.
Poor Tatiana. Poor Onegin. But all in all they have something lost and not lost at the same time.
This is a modern love story and maybe the most modern we could find in ballet history.
Although the novel that was the template was written by Alexander Pushkin and was first published in 1833.
Maybe without intention, Pushkin defined the typical modern conflict of every loving woman. Shall she live to be loved or to love? Shall she risk her life to love? Can she love and live with love in a man’s world?
For Tatiana it would be the end to love Onegin as a partner.
She knows his character and she knows society’s rules. She knows her own chances and her own bad luck. And she also knows her own heart.
Love with Onegin would kill her. By the way, maybe it would be a very sweet kind of death. But it would be the end.
For this time she stays cool. But what will be next time, Tatiana? Will you resist always?
Hard to believe that her husband Gremin has never heard of this deep love of his wife… When she was young they all feared for her.
Gremin knows Tatiana since the same day like Onegin.
In act one, everything is so innocent. It is summer, and they are sitting and dancing in the garden, when Gremin, Lenski and Onegin come to visit them.
Them is Olga and Tatiana. They are sisters, but not similiar. Tatiana is deep and thoughtful, calm and shy. But Olga is happy all the time, she loves flirting and having fun. A graceful girl with a lot of soul, but also with some shallowness in her character.
Evelina Godunova is an excellent ballerina and a wonderful Olga! She dances all this joy and happiness oft he role with a lot of charme. And her technique is unique!
What a good idea to hire Evelina Godunova for Berlin!
She comes from Riga, but she dances with SBB as if she is made for this company.
Her references are very good. Last year she won the Moscow Ballet Competition 2017 what was really a big challenge.
Evelina started with artistic gymnastic when she was five, and one year later she started with ballet. The Riga Choreographic School took her when she was only eleven years old – and they made an exception with her because normally one has to be twelve to be taken.
She worked very hard and with rules that are even more strict than in a military school. She was not allowed to use make-up at school, for example, and it was forbidden to create an own style with leotards. But the atmosphere among the students was uniting, Godunova says in an interview – and so she felt at home.
She took courses at Covent Garden and in Moscow. And she loves Polina Semionova, who is now her guest colleague!
From 2010 to 2015, Evelina danced in Riga, with Latvian National Opera and Ballet Theatre. 2012 she won the Silver Medal in the Ballet Competition in Seoul. Head of the jury was Vladimir Vasiliev, and in this year they were so strict that they did not award the Gold Medal. So Silver was the best, and Godunova made it. They also wanted her to dance in the company in Seoul. But her heart felt still at home in Riga, and so she waited until 2015 to move.
When she had won the prize as the Best Dancer of the year in Riga, she changed to Seoul as a young Soloist in the age of 24.
Her dream roles since then are romantic parts like „Giselle“ or „La Sylphide“, but for sure she will be very fine in ballets like „Napoli“ or „La Bayadère“, too.
Her debut as Olga now in Berlin indeed was a great success, and we hope to see her again on stage as often as possible!
Thank you, Evelina Godunova! You gave this important second female role so much flavour that we could forget that your partner on stage was not the same.
Because another Berlin debut was somehow disappointing.
Daniil Simkin who is already an international ballet star for many years, is also brandnew in Berlin, as Principal with Staatsballett Berlin. He showed as Lenski – who is the fiancé of Olga in „Onegin“ – that he still has a very good technique with ingenious pirouettes and nice high jumps.
But we miss so much the expression and the emotion of this role in his dance. Maybe Simkin just needs some more performances to develop and to learn how to fit into this ballet that is not only technique, but that needs a lot of artistic values.
Daniil Simkin danced as a Principal with American Ballet Theatre for six years, and until 2008 he danced with Wiener Staatsballett. Born in Russia, he grew up in Austria and Germany – and was trained by his own mother who obviously had a good eye and very good hand with him.
Round about ten years ago, Daniil Simkin was one oft he most exciting ballerinos worldwide, famous especially for his great jumps, but he also had a fresh and delightful appearence.
As Lenski now, he first did not keep what he promised. So he was not at all this lyrical boy full of melancholy and temperament, but just showing clear technical events.
Only his main solo in the second act is adorable, although the expression of a hurt soul does not fit enough into the story. In comparison with Semyon Chudin who danced Lenski with Bolshoi in Moscow or with David Moore who dances this role with Stuttgarter Ballett or with Alexandr Trusch from the Hamburg Ballet or with Dinu Tamazlacaru and Marian Walter who danced this role in the last years in Berlin, Daniil Simkin really has to learn a lot, especially he has to create an own „Lenski personality“. We will wait and see!
Therefore Mikhail Kaniskin coming from Moscow and Stuttgart and able to dance the title hero „Onegin“ for several years and with different partners with SBB is a giant as character of passion.
What a man’s stream of emotion!
Especially in the last pas de deux he really thrills with hot love and dark erotic desire – Kaniskin is still an absolute wow-ballerino!
Even in the first act when Onegin tells Tatiana that his way of life is so free but also kind of tiring for him, we all feel that this person is something special.
In act two, after shooting Lenski, Mikhails gesture of hiding the face in the hands and bending his body under the weight of guilt is so fabulous and touching that you already see how deep his feelings can reach.
In act three then he first gets jealous when Tatiana is dancing with her happy husband Gremin and then Kaniskin-Onegin turns out the lover straight from the heart trying to seduce this beautiful woman.
Oh, and how much energy is there on stage!
It is wonderful, when he falls down to the floor to honor this noble lady.
And then his hand creeps up to her’s.
And then he holds Tatiana in his hand.
For several minutes they dance and it is just like in her dream when she felt in love with him ten years ago. How beautiful life could be!
This pas de deux is an artistic and acrobatic jewel, it is one of the most important in whole ballet history.
Oh, and how much these dancers can show their virtues and qualities with it!
Elisa Carrillo Cabrera, who is a ballet superstar also in her native country Mexico, and Mikhail Kaniskin are married. I am not sure if they could dance without this love here so great with each other. But for this work here you need a special relationship to your partner, that can be a pure professional one as well as an intimate trusting.
So the very difficult two jumps in this pas de deux I use to call „Hexensprünge“ are danced so well by this cast!
It looks like this: He lays her down to bed so to speak, giving her the feeling of being free for love, when she is laying on the floor. And then he suddenly pulls her up so that she can jump a vertical grand jeté in the air.
It’s like a metaphor for an orgasm, and in whole ballet history you will not find a jump like this.
It is so unique and stirring!
But then, after a développé avant, she has to repeat this jump not by laying but by standing. A second time Elisa Carrillo Cabrera jumps having her arms in the hands of Onegin – and it is as if nothing in the world could tear them apart. Brilliant!
But Tatiana is a very intelligent woman and not just a girl in love any more. She knows very well that this man Onegin could bring her up and down whenever he wants to do this.
And she knows that he could abuse his power so easily… would he be able to live together with her? Would he stay true? He is a kind of playboy, a dandy, a very proud person. And she?
Should she really leave her loving husband Gremin for this adventure?
Tatiana lives in the 19th century, and of course a woman then had no reputation any more after a divorce.
And today? Would it be more easy to decide today?
„Onegin“ is a female’s conflict par excellance, and when you have a heart you have to feel with her.
Next possibility: Tomorrow, Sunday, 23rd of September 2018, in the cinema!
There is no DVD with „Onegin“ to buy, but this movie made with the young stars from Stuttgarter Ballett will help.
Alicia Amatriain is a wonderful worldwide beloved primaballerina and just like magnificent and magic Friedemann Vogel she will dance the right part in the main roles of „Onegin“ in this film version.
David Moore is a sensitive Lenski, with all these crazy feelings this young lover has to show.
Elisa Badenes is another Olga, soft and brilliant, and so innocent!
It is, by the way, a movie world premiere we can see on Sunday – and everybody who refuses maybe does not love ballet.
Film director Michael Beyer is actually the best one for ballet and he show pictures of high clarity, but also full of empathy. Close-ups from „Onegin“, wow!
And, last not least, to see Jason Reilly as Prince Gremin and as nurse Marcia Haydée – who was the Tatiana in the first premieres with John Cranko in the sixties – are two further good reasons to enjoy.
Oh, „Onegin“! Who loves you, will celebrate this great time with you!
Read more in German here please:
Tickets to buy / Und zu den Tickets geht es hier: