Reprinted from yesterday's late editions.
Ballet is an essentially conservative form; and the Stuttgart Ballet's achievement has been to serve up Old World romanticism in a form palatable to 20th-century tastes.
The set for Wednesday night's repeat performance of "Eugene Onegin" at the Kennedy Center Opera House evoked the world of Hans Christian Andersen, or of an extremely tasteful German advent calendar, full of autumnal browns and mauves and billowy layers of artificial lace.
The Stuttgart Style manages to remove more than half the ham from Pushkin's tale of unrequited love avenged but still leaves intact most of the sensual elements a true balletomane craves. The mime blends smoothly into a nuanced dance that translates the structure of a conversation or relationship into pure movement.
In the second act ballroom scene, Tatiana, Olga, Lensky and Onegin enact the tangled convolutions of their unhappy quartet while weaving in and out of the various waltzes without missing a step, and it's a sign of the integrity of the total dance conception that last night's audience did not once interrupt to clap after passages of virtuoso dancing.
Eileen Brady danced the role of Tatiana with reserve and a touching awkwardness that duplicates the very real awkwardness most people suffer in difficult moments of their lives. Vladimir Klos's caddish Onegin seemed a bit heavy-handed at times, and the character remained opaque, but his cool and perfect grace made a studied contrast to that awkwardness.