“Onegin” the masterpiece by John Cranko, concludes the Ballet Season 2022-2023

Running until November 25th, featuring Roberto Bolle and the leading artists of the La Scala Company directed by Manuel Legris

by Michele Olivieri
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The La Scala Ballet wraps up its 2022-2023 program with John Cranko’s masterpiece, “Onegin” returning to the stage from November 5th to 25th in homage and tribute to the great choreographer, marking the fiftieth anniversary of his untimely passing.

The performance includes nine representations, with Roberto Bolle taking the lead in the initial four shows in one of the most acclaimed roles, alongside a new partner: for the first time, Nicoletta Manni will share this captivating ballet with the étoile. The subsequent performances will feature Timofej Andrijashenko and Martina Arduino (November 18th and 21st), Marco Agostino and Vittoria Valerio (November 19th and 25th), and Gabriele Corrado and Alice Mariani (November 23rd).

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“Onegin” has been premiered in Stuttgart in 1965, its definitive version in 1967, and in New York in 1969

In addition to them, equally vital in the dramaturgical development of the ballet are the roles of Ol’ga, Lenskij, and Prince Gremin. In the opening performances on November 5th, Ol’ga and Lenskij will be portrayed by Martina Arduino and Nicola Del Freo, with a repeat on November 8th.

Agnese Di Clemente and Claudio Coviello will dance on November 15th, 17th, 19th, and 25th, followed by Linda Giubelli and Navrin Turnbull (November 18th and 21st), and Alessandra Vassallo and Mattia Semperboni (November 23rd). Prince Gremin will be interpreted by Gabriele Corrado, Edoardo Caporaletti, Nicola Del Freo, and Gioacchino Starace.

Therefore, nine performances with compelling casts, showcasing the interpretative density demanded from the protagonists. “Onegin” a poignant love story, demonstrates Cranko’s skill in reinventing a narrative and telling it purely through dance, such as the love game among the four young protagonists in the first act (Tat’jana, Ol’ga, Lenskij, and Onegin) and the three adult protagonists in the second act (Tat’jana, Prince Gremin her husband, and Onegin).

A three-act, six-scene ballet, “Onegin” allows the La Scala Ballet to highlight the interpretative strengths of the ensemble in group dances – from the festive dances of the peasants to the bourgeois dances of the provincial lords and the grand aristocratic ball in the third act. The principal performers shine in the exceptionally expressive pas de deux, like in the letter scene of the first act where Tat’jana dreams of her great love for Onegin, reciprocated with equal passion. Also, the duel and death of Lenskij and the final pas de deux between Tat’jana and Onegin, rich in ambiguity and unexpressed emotions.

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La Scala Ballet wraps up its 2022-2023 program with John Cranko’s masterpiece, “Onegin”

Premiered in Stuttgart in 1965, its definitive version in 1967, and in New York in 1969, the ballet draws inspiration from Aleksandr Puškin’s verse novel written between 1823 and 1830. La Scala first presented it in 1993. Simon Hewett, principal conductor of the Hamburg Ballet and collaborating with La Scala Ballet for the first time, will conduct the score composed by Tchaikovsky, but without a single note from his opera “Evgenij Onegin.”

With the arrangement by Kurt-Heinz Stolze, a trusted collaborator of Cranko, the decision was made to orchestrate some pieces for piano, including some from the “Seasons” cycle. Moments were also extracted from symphonic poems like “Francesca da Rimini” and “Romeo and Juliet,” as well as from the opera “I capricci di Oksana” or “Vakula il fabbro,” better known as “Gli stivaletti.”

The assembly and orchestration of various pieces were conceived in relation to the dramatic expressiveness of each segment, aligning with the goal of making this ballet a complete theatrical spectacle. The La Scala production features the signatures of Pier Luigi Samaritani and Roberta Guidi di Bagno, with lighting by Steen Bjarke.

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