to be read before the performance
In choreographic episodes, combining dream, memory, premonition and reality John Neumeier's ballet "Tatiana" brings to life the story of Tatiana, a young girl brought up in the Russian countryside and her first great love. She communicates her passion spontaneously in a letter to Onegin – an impressive yet eccentric young man from the city, who clearly rejects her unconditional love. Years later, in mirror symmetry, Tatiana, already married, rejects Onegin's sudden ardent love. In his ballet, John Neumeier develops the narrative freely after Alexander Pushkin's verse-novel "Eugene Onegin", published in 1833.
According to John Neumeier, "Tatiana is an outsider, a stranger within her own family. Possessing boundless imagination, she creates and lives much of her time in a world of dreams and phantasies inspired by the many novels she loves to read. Pushkin describes her as 'wild as a deer', a girl close to nature. The other main character, handsome mundane Eugene Onegin, is neither hero no demon. Like Tatiana, he is endowed with Shakespearean complexity. Onegin seems to pursue his path through life without true passion, obligation or commitment. No burning desire inspiring his journey, no curiosity directing his drifting, Onegin's initial cynicism masks a feeling of emptiness and unfulfiled longing."
Tatiana is quite different. Her lyrical disposition is not a symptom of a naïve mind but rather the expression of her power to give a shimmer of poetry to a prosaic world. Tatiana's unrequited love for Onegin reflects the dramatic destinies of the characters in her beloved novels but in reality her deep personal disappointment hastens her development as a woman. In the end it is she, who sends Onegin away, although still in love with him. During her final encounter with Onegin her reactions to his direct and passionate protestations of love are clearly articulated, at the same time woven through with moving observations about her own life. She remembers, for example, her "poor nurse's tomb" and constructs in her imagination an image of "the neglected garden" of her childhood. Then, unexpectedly, she says: "I love you (what's the use to hide behind deceit or double-dealing?)." She leaves Onegin in no doubt about her true feelings. According to Neumeier, Onegin does not, at any moment during the story, possess Tatiana's honest resolution and her ability in the end to balance heartfelt emotions with rationality.
Above all looms the premonition and memory of the duel in which he killed his friend Lensky who was engaged to Olga, Tatiana's sister. This tragic event, result of passion and uncontrolled jealousy is enforced by an immovable code of honour, represented by the figure of Zaretsky. Onegin, who searched for passion and purpose in his life, shot Lensky, who possessed exactly that passion and purpose to a profound degree. Lensky's death haunts Onegin all his life.
The Russian-American Lera Auerbach has accepted the commission to compose the original score for the ballet. John Neumeier has worked together with Ms. Auerbach on several occasions, most recently for his ballet "The Little Mermaid".
Music: Lera Auerbach
A Commission by the Hamburg Ballet, the Hamburg State Opera and the Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow Music Theatre
Choreography, Staging, Set and Costumes: John Neumeier
A Coproduction with the Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow Music Theatre.
Supported by the Foundation for the Patronage of the Hamburg State Opera
3 hours | 1 intermission
The Hamburg Ballet, Hamburg, Juni 29, 2014
In the Repertory:
Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow Academic Music Theatre