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on October 03, 2022
This is the page for the performance on October 03, 2022.
Choreography John Cranko

Cast 03.10.2022

Conductor Robert Reimer
Komponist Piotr I. Tschaikowski in einem Arrangement von Kurt-Heinz Stolze
Choreography and Direction John Cranko
Scenery and Costume Design Elisabeth Dalton
Lighting Design Steen Bjarke
Staging Reid Anderson Lukas Gaudernak Jean Christophe Lesage


»That is heaven's will - that I am yours;

My life till now was but a pledge

Of meeting with you, a forward image;

You were sent by heaven of that I'm sure,

To the grave itself you are my saviour…«

Excerpt from Tatjana‘s letter from Alexander Pushkin’s »Onegin«, 3rd chapter, XXXI


»What appealed to me most about ›Onegin‹ is that the story is equally a myth and a comprehensible situation based on the emotions.« John Cranko’s ballet »Onegin« is one of the South African choreographer’s masterpieces and at the same time one of the most famous and successful story ballets of the 20th century. Set to various works by composer Piotr I. Tchaikovsky, although not to his opera »Eugen Onegin«, Cranko tells the tragic love story of the young woman Tatjana and the story’s anti-hero Onegin. The choreographer skillfully manages to alternate between big ensemble scenes and intimate moments of the four main characters and to convey the plot through movement in such a way that neither a previous reading of the verse novel by Alexander Pushkin nor a specific knowledge of the vocabulary of classical ballet is necessary. Always looking at the characters as through a burning glass, he creates their emotions as the motor of his dramaturgy, which has moved and thrilled audiences worldwide for more than 50 years. After premiering with the Stuttgart Ballet in 1965, the ballet has been a permanent part of the Vienna State Ballet’s repertoire since 2006 and returned in the 2021/22 season.


Act I

In Madame Larina’s garden

Tatiana and Olga are dancing with their friends. An old game is played: Whoever looks in the mirror sees the beloved. For Olga, the superstition comes true. She sees her fiancé, the poet Lenski. When her sister Tatiana looks in the mirror, she sees Onegin and falls in love with him. Lenski had introduced his friend, who has come from St. Petersburg for the inheritance of a stately country estate, to the widow Larina’s home. But the bored city dweller makes no attempt to hide his disdain from the assembled society. Even Tatiana is unable to dispel his arrogance.

Tatiana’s bedroom

Tatiana writes a letter to Onegin in which she expresses her passionate love for this almost unknown man. Asleep over what she has written, in a dream she looks into her mirror: Onegin appears and returns her love.

Act II

In Madame Larina’s house

Tatiana is celebrating her birthday. Impatiently, she waits for a sign with which Onegin, who joins the party with Lenski, will reply to her letter. Onegin, however, is irritated. He tears up the letter before Tatiana’s eyes and flirts so unambiguously with Olga that the unsuspecting and deeply jealous Lenski challenges him to a duel. Prince Gremin, a highly respected friend of the family, cannot put a stop to the drama.

A deserted park

Tatiana and Olga implore Lenski to renounce the duel. Onegin too is willing to be reconciled, but Lenski cannot let it go. Onegin shoots Lenski.


Prince Gremin’s ballroom

Ten years have passed. Tatiana is married to Prince Gremin. Onegin appears at one of the prince’s balls, disappointed in life. When he unexpectedly sees Tatiana there again, he realizes that he has rejected the only true love of his life. He searches for some sign of her former feelings for him, but the roles are switched: Tatjana turns away from Onegin, apparently unaffected.

Tatiana’s boudoir

Onegin has written Tatiana a letter. She does her utmost to avoid an encounter, but her pleas to the carefree Gremin not to leave her alone that evening are in vain. Onegin enters and confesses his love. Struggling with her emotions, Tatiana declares that Onegin’s insight comes too late: before his eyes, she tears up his letter. Onegin rushes off in despair, Tatiana is left behind in despair.