By Patricia Boccadoro
PARIS, 8 APRIL 2014 On each occasion that John
Crankos Eugene Onegin, one of the most popular ballets of
the twentieth century, is programmed at the Paris Opera, it signals an
exceptional event, for in 2009, when it entered into the repertoire of the
French company, it was the ballet chosen by étoile Manuel Legris
to give his farewell appearance. The 2012 staging saw the last minute
replacement of an injured Nicolas Le Riche by the tall, darkly handsome Canadian
dancer, Evan McKie, who gave an unforgettable performance, while this
year marked not only the departure of étoile Isabelle Ciaravola,
but also the nomination of Amandine Albisson to the rank of
étoile, both emotional moments.
Amandine Albisson in Onegin
For some time now the attractive ballerina, looking younger than her 25
years, who was awarded the Carpeaux prize in 2009 and the AROP prize in
2013, has been interpreting leading roles, from La Sylphide and
Beauty, to Roland Petits La plus belle fille du Monde
and Le Rendezvous, taking over the role created for Sylvie
Guillem in Forsythes In the Middle Somewhat Elevated. With a
supple, perfect physique added to her considerable dramatic gifts and
effortless technique, she is more than ready to take on the responsibility
of many of the leading roles in the Paris Operas repertoire. Albisson was
nominated étoile on stage at the Palais Garnier on March 5th, by
artistic director Brigitte Lefèvre and Nicolas Joel, director, after her
outstanding performance in Onegin.
As Tatiana Larina ,one of the most sought after and difficult roles for
almost any ballerina, Albisson gave a subtle yet passionate portrayal of
the dreamy young girl who, imagining herself the heroine of all the
romantic novels she reads, falls in love with the penniless loner and
aristocrat, Eugene Onegin.
As an impressionable eighteen
year-old, she danced the mirror pas de deux with youthful
freshness and light, little knowing that true love for her exists only in
dreams, and yet in the final act, in Prince Gremins elegant and
aristocratic palace ten years later, she had the grace and style of a
mature, St. Petersburg princess whose loyalty is to her gentle,
kind-hearted husband rather than the worthless Onegin.
Amandine Albisson and Josua Hoffalt in Onegin
Partnered by the romantic Josua
Hoffalt as Onegin, pleading with her for what she once offered freely,
she reminds us that she has grown up; that she is now a married woman and
despite still loving him passionately, breaks her own heart as well as
that of the audience in a last, highly emotional, theatrical pas de
deux, ending in her dramatic dismissal of him.
As far as the corps de ballet is concerned, it is very much a
ballet of the 1970s, with pretty but fairly conventional choreography.
The dancers almost dissolve into the décor as the interest is
concentrated on four young people who, for different reasons, will never
find love. The pas de deux between Olga and Lensky, interpreted
on this occasion by Marion Barbeau and Fabien Révillion, both young
members of the corps de ballet, are playful and tender, while
those between Onegin and Tatania are conflictind and intense.
However, despite the title of the work, the ballet belongs to Tatania,
just as this very magical evening belonged to Amandine.
Based in Paris, Patricia Boccadoro is the
dance editor for Culturekiosque.
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