John Cranko

November 22 – 26, 2023

John Cranko

November 22 – 26, 2023


John Cranko’s extraordinary Onegin is a ballet which the very best artists of our age aspire to perform. A dance drama beloved for its rich characterization, musicality and passionate vocabulary, Onegin is based on Alexander Pushkin’s 19th-century verse novel Eugene Onegin and tells a nuanced story of unrequited love. Onegin is set to a gorgeous selection of music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and was redesigned in 2010 with period sets and costumes by Santo Loquasto and lighting by James F. Ingalls.

Onegin Trailer

The Story

Eugene Onegin, an urban aristocrat, visits the countryside out of boredom and attracts a young woman, Tatiana. When Tatiana expresses her love for Onegin in a letter, he rips it up and amuses himself by flirting with her sister Olga, fiancée to his friend Lensky – an act of casual cruelty that ends in tragedy. Many years later Onegin and Tatiana meet again and he realizes that he has loved her all along. But Tatiana rejects him, knowing their time has passed.


Five Things to Know
  1. 1Dancers the world over love Onegin, particularly the most experienced artists who – in the words of Artistic Director Hope Muir – can bring “all of their knowledge and passion and deep understanding of stagecraft to these roles.”
  2. 2Five dancers are making debuts in the dramatic lead roles. Their coaches – former Principal Dancers Rex Harrington and Xiao Nan Yu – were iconic as unrequited lovers Onegin and Tatiana, with Rex having partnered Nan in her exquisite 2000 debut.
  3. 3Principal Dancer and Choreographic Associate Guillaume Côté is performing for the last time as Onegin, a role close to his heart. His interpretation is elegant and intense, reflecting his consummate artistry at this stage of his career.
  4. 4Onegin has a rare musicality owing to its special arrangement of music by Tchaikovsky. The result, says Music Director and Principal Conductor David Briskin, “is a pastiche of gorgeous and expansive Russian melodies that weave their way through the emotional world that Onegin explores.”
  5. 5Even the design of Onegin is stunning, with its richly toned costumes, icy birch trees and sumptuous chandeliers. According to Hope Muir, “Onegin is an example of when all the stars align – music, design and choreography all stitched together by this incredibly story. You just never get tired of it.”
Watch and Explore

The Emotional Arc of Onegin

Onegin in a Nutshell

Guillaume Côté on Onegin

Jurgita Dronina on Tatiana

Onegin View Gallery

Read Hope Muir’s Reflections on Onegin
Read About the Glorious Music of Onegin

The Choreographer

Born in South Africa, John Cranko danced with The Royal Ballet and choreographed some of the finest examples of the 20th-century story ballet. Works such as Romeo and Juliet, Onegin and Taming of the Shrew are richly characterized, dramatic and musical, and are performed by the world’s top ballet companies.

The Composer

The late 19th-century Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky created some of the most popular works in the classical repertoire, particularly his three full-length scores for ballet: Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker. His work includes full-length operas, multiple symphonies and concerti.


“An emotionally rich work of art” – The Globe and Mail

“A glorious, heartstring-touching sobfest of a ballet – complete with fatal duel – and the National’s dancers play it for all it’s worth.” – Toronto Star

“It's impossible not to get swept up in this foreboding autumn world… All things combined, this Onegin is pure magic” – The National Post

“Perfect marriage of movement and music” – The Ballet Review

Running Time

  • Act I 40m
  • Intermission 20m
  • Act II 30m
  • Intermission 20m
  • Act III 30m
  • Total (approx) 2h 20m


Eugene Onegin
Guillaume Côté (November 22, 24 at 7:30 pm)
Naoya Ebe* (November 23 at 2:00 pm/November 25 at 7:30 pm)
Christopher Gerty* (November 23 at 7:30 pm/November 26 at 2:00 pm)
Larkin Miller* (November 25 at 2:00 pm)

Jurgita Dronina* (November 22, 24 at 7:30 pm)
Koto Ishihara* (November 23 at 2:00 pm/November 25 at 7:30 pm)
Heather Ogden (November 23 at 7:30 pm/November 26 at 2:00 pm)
Svetlana Lunkina (November 25 at 2:00 pm)

Tina Pereira* (November 22, 24 at 7:30 pm)
Emerson Dayton* (November 23 at 2:00 pm/November 25 at 7:30 pm)
Genevieve Penn Nabity* (November 23 at 7:30 pm)
Tirion Law* (November 25 at 2:00 pm)
Jeannine Haller* (November 26 at 2:00 pm)

Harrison James (November 22, 24 at 7:30 pm)
Keaton Leier* (November 23 at 2:00 pm/November 25 at 7:30 pm)
Isaac Wright* (November 23 at 7:30 pm/November 26 at 2:00 pm)
Siphesihle November* (November 25 at 2:00 pm)

Prince Gremin
Ben Rudisin (November 22, 23, 24, 25, 26 at 7:30 pm/23 at 2:00 pm)
Donald Thom* (November 25 at 2:00 pm)

Madame Larina
Stephanie Hutchison# (November 22, 24, 25 at 7:30 pm/November 23 at 2:00 pm)
Alexandra MacDonald (November 23 at 7:30 pm/ November 25, 26 at 2:00 pm)

Chelsy Meiss (November 22, 24, 25 at 7:30 pm/November 23 at 2:00 pm)
Stephanie Hutchison# (November 23 at 7:30 pm/ November 25, 26 at 2:00 pm)

* Debut
# Guest Artist

All casting is subject to change.


Three Act Ballet by John Cranko
Based on the Novel by Alexander Pushkin

Music: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Arranged and Orchestration by Kurt-Heinz Stolze

Set and Costume Design: Santo Loquasto

Lighting Design: James F. Ingalls

Staged by: Jane Bourne

Supervised by: Reid Anderson

Copyright: Dieter Graefe

World Premiere: Stuttgart Ballet, Stuttgart, Germany, April 13, 1965

The National Ballet of Canada Premiere: O’Keefe Centre (now Meridian Hall), Toronto, June 14, 1984

This production entered the repertoire on June 19, 2010.

Onegin is generously supported by an anonymous friend of the National Ballet.

Running Time

  • Act I 40m
  • Intermission 20m
  • Act II 30m
  • Intermission 20m
  • Act III 30m
  • Total (approx) 2h 20m

Create Your Own Subscription and Save!

Many Options Available


Delve Deeper

Visit our News Hub for a more in-depth look at all of our productions.

Visit News Hub

Ballet Talks

The National Ballet invites you to attend the Ballet Talk 45 minutes before every performance in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts.

Learn More

Email Newsletter

Be the first to know when casting is announced by signing up for Ballet News.

Sign Up Today