John Cranko’s Onegin draws on a Russian verse-novel, but in 1965 Cranko’s first cast was led by the Brazilian Marcia Haydée and the Spanish-American dancer Ray Barra. Yesterday, the Royal Ballet also cast two dancers of South American and Hispanic origin as Onegin and Tatiana: Thiago Soares and Itziar Mendizabal.

From the start, Mendizabal’s sincere and vulnerable Tatiana offers a touching foil to Soares’ dark, proud, and brooding Onegin; it is a clash between her naïveté, and his world-weary sophistication and sense of honour. Preferring to read her novel rather than look at new dresses, Mendizabal’s Tatiana is simply not very interested in the bourgeois society that Onegin scorns. Her mood as she writes to him is romantic and wistful, and when Soares appears in her dream, she seems a little cautious in the high lifts, as if not quite ready fully to abandon herself to passion. On the other hand, when Soares ripped up her letter, her stillness, embodying the mute pain of rejection, made me cry. (more…)

DANSOX presents a lecture on major twentieth-century choreographer John Cranko, by Dr Julia Buhrle (Oxford).

John Cranko (1927-1973) was a South African born ballet dancer and choreographer with the Royal Ballet companies who went on to lead the Stuttgart Ballet.  The creator of entertaining shorter early works such as Pineapple Poll and Lady and the Fool, he is perhaps most internationally famous for his much loved and performed “literary” ballets, which include Romeo and Juliet (1962), with music by Prokofiev; Onegin (1965), an adaptation of the verse novel by Alexander Pushkin, with music by Tchaikovsky; and the sparkling comedy The Taming of the Shrew (1969).

Date:  Thursday 23rd February 5.30pm

Venue: Jacqueline du Pré Music Building, St Hilda’s College, Cowley Place, Oxford OX4 1DY

There will be a drinks reception after the event. Free and open to all – booking essential at Eventbrite.

Book your place here

Find information about DANSOX here or by contacting Dr Susan Jones here