There is some lovely “stage magic” in the “Letter Scene”, where Alina Cojocaru (ideally cast to play a girl on the cusp of womanhood but not perhaps so convincing as a stately princess “some years later” as her small frame makes her look like an eternal child) advances towards a cut out in the rear wall which represents a full length mirror – an identically dressed dancer appears in the gloom on the other side and they dance as girl and reflection. Nice idea for Onegin to then suddenly step from the far side of the mirror through the frame and into the bedroom – just like a nightmare. Seeing that earlier in Act 1, Tatiana has been playing the ancient Russian game of “mirror gazing”, in which young girls stare into a mirror and see the face of their future husband reflected behind theirs, this makes a nice point – do we ever see a person (or indeed ourselves) as they really are, or just the image they choose to portray? And what happens if the image we see does not reflect the real person? Discuss, using both sides of the paper if necessary.
The emotional heart of this ballet is the Act 3 duet between Onegin and Tatiana – and by god did Cojucaro and Johan Kohlberg (an icy, powerful Onegin) go for it at this point. It was raw emotion expressed in dance – yes, I know that I just contradicted what I said above. His BBness overhead a woman in the street afterwards saying “They MUST be At It to be able to dance together like that” – obviously not knowing that Mr. Kohlberg does indeed regularly slip the comely Miss Cojucaro a length of hot Danish sausage. Well, they must have been doing something right, because the ovation at the end lasted for a good five minutes – long enough for his BBness and I to gather our coats and bags and reach the ground floor of the Opera House, where the cold light of reality awaited us. There was no furlined Troika waiting to drive us home through the bloodstained snow, unfortunately.