Stuttgart’s Australian tour: Onegin and a galaxy of stars

As the Australian Ballet is bringing Onegin back to the stage next year, it’s interesting to recall that the first performance of the ballet in Australia was not by that company, but by the Stuttgart Ballet.

At the Mitchell Library in Sydney, I found the program for the tour that took place in October and November of 1974, less less than 18 months after the sudden death of John Cranko, the artistic director of the Stuttgart Ballet and the choreographer of Onegin.

That year, a galaxy of stars toured to Canberra, Adelaide, Melbourne, and Sydney, with their last appearance being at the Sydney Opera House on November 16.

The artistic director then was Glen Tetley, and the assistant director was Anne Woolliams, who, as artistic director of the Australian Ballet, brought Onegin into the company’s repertoire in December 1976.

The ballet manager was Dieter Gräfe, who owns the copyright to Cranko’s ballets.

But it’s the roster of dancers that intrigued me most. One of the seven soloists was Reid Anderson, now artistic director of the Stuttgart Ballet, while a second soloist was Jiri Kylian. His wife, Sabine Kupferberg was in the corps de ballet as was William Forsythe.

The ballerina, Marcia Haydée, danced the role of Tatiana with Heinz Clauss in the title role.

The repertoire also included Swan Lake and The Taming of the Shrew.

Michael Edgley brought the company to Australia in association with J C Williamson Theatres Ltd and the Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust.

As for the program, I liked most of all a simple statement about Onegin by Cranko: “I have this great thing about doing ballet about real people”.

3 Comments

  1. Posted December 1, 2011 at 1:00 am | Permalink

    Lovely piccies of the 1977 and 1990 Australian Ballet productions on Picture Australia (just search “Onegin”) : http://www.pictureaustralia.org/index.html

  2. valerie
    Posted December 1, 2011 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    Thanks Robert, it’s good to see those Walter Stringer photos from 1977 once more

  3. Posted April 28, 2012 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    Thank you Valerie, your articles are so informative, well documented and entertaining to read. Not to mention, I always find the answers to my questions!

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L to R: back row, Gudrun Lechner, Jiri Kylian, Betsy Wistrich, David Sutherland. front row, Ruth Papendick, Hella Helm

L to R: back row, Gudrun Lechner, Jiri Kylian, Betsy Wistrich, David Sutherland. front row, Ruth Papendick, Hella Helm

Stuttgart Ballet program cover for Australian tour, 1974

Stuttgart Ballet program cover for Australian tour, 1974

Vladimir Klos, Monica Knapp, Reid Anderson, Stuttgart Ballet program, 1974

Vladimir Klos, Monica Knapp, Reid Anderson, Stuttgart Ballet program, 1974

Marcia Haydée, Stuttgart  Ballet program, 1974

Marcia Haydée, Stuttgart Ballet program, 1974

Dieter Gräfe, Stuttgart Ballet program, 1974

Dieter Gräfe, Stuttgart Ballet program, 1974