Eifman Ballet's 'Eugene Onegin' makes China debut in Shanghai
When Tchaikovsky's classical music is integrated with Alexander Sitkovetsky's rock and roll, Pushkin's "Eugene Onegin" is injected with new vitality, bringing new sensory impact to an audience who may have become accustomed to the heaviness in opera and drama versions of the Russian literary classic.
This modern and hormone-filled ballet adaptation of "Eugene Onegin," presented by the Eifman Ballet of St Petersburg, is making its China debut at the Shanghai Oriental Art Center this weekend.
Russian choreographer Boris Eifman, known for exploring psychological and philosophical themes, portrays Pushkin's heroes as urban men and women, who are living at the turn of the century when the social environment is undergoing great changes.
With his characteristic expressive techniques, Elfman combines dance with drama and music. With precise and powerful body language, Onegin's inner emotions are vividly portrayed, as well as his pursuit of desire and his intricate relationships with others.
The other work that Eifman Ballet brought to Shanghai earlier this week is an adaptation of another literary classic – "Anna Karenina."
"When I rely on great literature in my ballets, I do it in an attempt to express, by means of choreographic art, the emotional impact and amazement I get from learning the wisdom and creative power of our great predecessors," Eifman said.
The choreographer had read some literary critics who described Pushkin's versified novel Eugene Onegin as "the encyclopedia of Russian life" which depicted the Russian national character of his time, and created the poetical image of the Russian soul – mysterious, unpredictable, and unparalleled in its sensuousness.
"With all my art I have been endeavoring to discover the secrets of the Russian soul," Eifman said. "My choreographic treatment of Eugene Onegin is only another attempt at expressing in dance the mystery of the human spirit."
By relocating Pushkin's characters to modern times, Eifman made a sort of experiment to answer questions that concern him: What is the Russian soul today? How would the main characters of the novel order their own destinies today?
"The art of choreography does not provide us with solutions to the burning issues of life and the development of society," he said. "Yet, by handling them in a creative way, analyzing them, and offering an individual assessment of them, we thereby partake in the process of life's improvement and betterment."
Date: November 4, 7:15pm; November 5, 2pm
Tickets: 180-1,080 yuan
Venue: Shanghai Oriental Art Center 上海东方艺术中心
Address: 425 Dingxiang Road, Pudong New Area 浦东丁香路425号