Based on the title, the three ballets featured on this program are not surprisingly inspired by literary classics – Onegin by Alexander Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin, The Winter’s Tale by William Shakespeare’s play of the same name, and Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy’s novel.
Yet they are distinct in how each choreographer has decided to tell their stories.
Period costuming and expressive non-verbal conversation are key to portraying the relationship between Eugene Onegin and Tatiana in John Cranko’s Onegin. Onegin’s aristocratic dismissiveness contrasts that of Tatiana’s innocent romanticism by use of well-timed choreography and articulate body language.
For The Winter’s Tale, it is the pure joy of dance that conveys the young love between Perdita and Florizel. As the name of the location (Bohemia) of the scene suggests, Christopher Wheeldon’s choreography for the couple and their friends has a free spirited and ceremonial energy with vibrant costumes to match.
Closing is John Neumeier’s Anna Karenina adapted for the 21st century. Pedestrian mannerisms and household elements are integrated with the balletic choreography to narrate the internal conflict Anna Karenina has between the passion she feels for Count Alexei Vronsky and the love she has for her son, Seryozha.