Reviewed by Paula Citron
When Xiao Nan Yu and Jiri Jelinek took their bow, the audience exploded into a rapturous ovation. The couple had just performed the lead roles in John Cranko’s masterpiece Onegin.
Jelinek’s Onegin was far more physical than most interpreters. Using both body language and facial expression, he was able to convey Onegin’s cosmopolitan snobbery, as well as the broken man Onegin becomes at the end. Yu was simply incandescent as both the innocent and mature Tatiana. These dancers are able to mask their formidable technique within their acting skills.
Kudos to both Heather Ogden for her luminous portrayal of the shallow Olga, and Guillaume Côté for his sensitive Lensky. The opening night also brought the great Rex Harrington back on stage as Tatiana’s elderly husband Prince Gremin.
Santo Loquasto’s new sets and costumes for “Onegin” do him little credit. Jürgen Rose’s original design for “Onegin” had colour. Loquasto’s is bland.
Onegin continues at the Four Seasons Centre until Jun. 25.
National Ballet of Canada
Choreographed by John Cranko
Performed by Jiri Jelinek, Xiao Nan Yu, Guillaume Côté, Heather Ogden and Rex Harrington
Four Seasons Centre, Jun. 19 to 25, 2010