Alexei Ratmansky’s all-new production of Sergei Prokofiev’s On the Dnieper received its World Premiere on June 1, 2009 at the Metropolitan Opera House as part of American Ballet Theatre’s All-Prokofiev Celebration and was danced by Veronika Part (Natalia), Marcelo Gomes (Sergei), Paloma Herrera (Olga) and David Hallberg (Olga’s Fiancé).
Prokofiev’s score for On the Dnieper was originally
commissioned by the Paris Opera and the ballet received its World Premiere
in 1932 by the Paris Opera Ballet.
On the banks of the mighty Ukrainian river, the Dnieper, the young soldier Sergei arrives home from the battlefields of war. Upon his return, Sergei realizes he no longer loves his fiancée, Natalia, but is attracted to Olga, a village beauty who is betrothed to another man. After a brief encounter, the lovely Olga finds she, too, is completely charmed by Sergei and begins to doubt she loves her fiancé.
At a celebration of Olga’s betrothal, the villagers enjoy lively dancing and boisterous cheer. Filled with jealousy, Sergei interrupts the festivities to challenge his rival, Olga’s groom, and a brawl ensues. The guests disperse as the fight comes to a close, leaving Sergei and Natalia alone. Grief-stricken yet noble, Natalia unselfishly helps the young lovers, Sergei and Olga, escape together to a life of happiness. Natalia is alone, heartbroken.