COURTESY PHOTOStyle and substance: There is great drama beyond the gossamer charm in San Francisco Ballet's 2013 production of “Onegin.”

COURTESY PHOTOStyle and substance: There is great drama beyond the gossamer charm in San Francisco Ballet's 2013 production of “Onegin.”

S.F. Ballet conquers in return of ‘Onegin’

 

A magnificent dance production, San Francisco Ballet's “Onegin” also exemplifies romantic poetry and theater of the first order. Thursday’s opening performance of the woefully short one-week run was thrilling in every way.
The reprise of the company's 2012 U.S. premiere of choreographer John Cranko's revised 1967 “Onegin” stands up next to Pushkin's original 1837 novel and Tchaikovsky's 1879 landmark opera. The piece onstage in the War Memorial is a vital, gripping dance drama that unfolds continuously and cohesively.
The opening-night cast – Maria Kochetkova (Tatiana), Vitor Luiz (Onegin), Joan Boada (Lensky) and Clara Blanco (Olga) – performed well both individually and as an ensemble.  Boada is new and wonderful in his role. The others, who danced together last year, have gone even deeper into their characters, further enhancing splendid performances.

For example, Kochetkova channels Tatiana perfectly when she slightly turns her head, instead of melodramatically collapsing,  as she is cruelly rejected by Luiz's haughty Onegin. 
Reid Anderson and Jane Bourne’s staging of Cranko's modern classic is even better than last year's production, which had a few missteps, particularly in terms of subtlety, such as when  Onegin shoved Tatiana during the rejection scene. The nobility of 19th-century Russia kept physical violence in private (or practiced on serfs). It had no place in society – or on the stage.
The large corps of dancers – in Santo Loquasto's costumes set against his authentic, Russian-looking sets – shined in country-set scenes and the St. Petersburg ballroom. From a vigorous ensemble number of male villagers to often funny character-dancer bits in other scenes, the huge secondary cast was excellent.
 
Under the direction of Martin West, the orchestra gorgeously played a melange of Tchaikovsky selections that wonderfully accompany the work. As in “Nijinsky,” Anna Kruger’s viola solos were superb. Principal clarinet Natalie Parker, principal oboe Laura Griffiths and harpist Olga Rakitchenkov also had appealing turns in the spotlight.
The first-night cast returns on Wednesday. Tonight's performance pairs Yuan Yuan Tan as Tatiana with Cory Stearns, from American Ballet Theatre, as Onegin. In additional performances, the lead couple will be danced by Sarah Van Patten and  Luke Ingham, and Vanessa Zahorian and Davit Karapetyan.

REVIEW
S.F. Ballet Program Five: Onegin
Where: War Memorial Opera House, 401 Van Ness Ave., S.F. 
When: 8 p.m. today and Tuesday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday; 7:30 p.m. Wednesday
Tickets: $44 to $330
Contact: (415) 865-2000, www.sfballet.org

 

 

artsentertainmentMartin WestSan Francisco Ballet

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted changes to The City's streets including Slow Streets closures to increase open space access and the Shared Spaces program, which allows businesses to use public right-of-ways for dining, retail and services. (Examiner illustration)
COVID is reshaping the streets of San Francisco

Walk down Page Street, which is closed to thru-traffic, and you might… Continue reading

Superintendent Vincent Matthews said some students and families who want to return will not be able to do so at this time. “We truly wish we could reopen schools for everyone,” he said. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFUSD sets April reopening date after reaching tentative agreement with teachers union

San Francisco Unified School District has set April 12 as its reopening… Continue reading

José Victor Luna and Maria Anabella Ochoa, who cite health reasons for continuing distance learning, say they have been enjoying walking in Golden Gate Park with their daughters Jazmin, a first grader, and Jessica, a third grader. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Some SFUSD families prefer distance learning

Health issues, classroom uncertainties among reasons for staying home

Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed legislation intended to help California schools reopen. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Newsom signs $6.6 billion school reopening legislative package

By Eli Walsh Bay City News Foundation Gov. Gavin Newsom and state… Continue reading

Most Read