Pushkin’s classic verse-novel of unrequited love inspires a rollercoaster of shifting emotions in Onegin, John Cranko’s full-length interpretation, new to The Royal Ballet repertory last year. The naive Tatiana is infatuated with the sophisticated and arrogant Eugene Onegin. But her feelings are not reciprocated: he tears up her letter of love in front of her, he flirts to distract himself from boredom and so provokes a duel with his own friend Lensky, who is killed. Some years later, Tatiana has blossomed to elegance and sophistication through her marriage to Prince Gremin; the rural dances of her youth have now become the pageant of a St Petersburg ball, and it is in this grand setting that she meets Onegin once more. He recognizes in her what he has lost and writes to declare his love, but it is she who now tears up his letter and orders him to leave – for ever.

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