Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Onegin Interpretations 2015

Onegin, Royal Ballet, Royal Opera House - reviewed on 30th January and 27th February

When the Royal Ballet performed Onegin in 2013, I wrote about differences in interpretation of the leading female role. For 2015, as well as a blog about the ballet’s insight evening, six facts about the novel that inspired it and a review of the Natalia Osipova and Matthew Golding cast, I’m comparing interpretations of the title (male) role.
  
Federico Bonelli and Laura Morera
Photo: Bill Cooper / ROH
Golding performed Onegin exceptionally well, giving a fairly typical interpretation of the character. He was cold and aloof in Acts I and II, toying with Tatiana for his pleasure and then dropping her when he had had enough. In the final act, Golding’s Onegin was weak and vulnerable, and he desperately sought comfort from the beautiful and confident woman that Osipova’s Tatiana had become.
  
In contrast, Federico Bonelli had an unusual but equally compelling interpretation. His Onegin genuinely loved Laura Morera’s Tatiana, but pulled away – trying to be ‘cruel to be kind’ – because of his all-encompassing mental disturbance. When he rejected Tatiana and tore up her love letter, he even affectionately squeezed her shoulders as if to apologise for his actions.
   
In Act III, Bonelli’s Onegin became desperately aware that he had made a mistake, begging Tatiana to love him again. Older and having recovered (at least to some degree) from his psychological problems, the final pas de deux was a heartfelt attempt to express the ardour he’d felt for Tatiana for many years.

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