Published: 21/01/2016 14:21 - Updated: 03/02/2016 01:09

Eve Mutso's final curtain for Scottish Ballet in Inverness

Eve as Blanche in A Streetcar Named Desire. Picture: Nisbet Wylie
Eve as Blanche in A Streetcar Named Desire. Picture: Nisbet Wylie

by Margaret Chrystall

IT will be a big moment for principal Eve Mutso as Eden Court’s velvet curtains fall on Scottish Ballet’s final performance of Cinderella – her last for the company.

"My husband and my daughter Hele-Riin will be there, so I think it will be quite a lovely end," she said.

Eve – who had been dancing with the Estonian National Ballet after leaving ballet school in the country’s capital Tallinn – was one of the group of international dancers brought in by former Scottish Ballet artistic director Ashley Page when he took charge of the company in 2003.

Since then Eve has appeared in the company’s major productions – both works by Page and new artistic director Christopher Hampson – plus classics by ballet greats such as George Balanchine.

Eve (left as Tall Stepsister) partnered with Sophie Martin as Small Stepsister in the latest Scottish Ballet production of Cinderella. Picture: Andy Ross
Eve (left as Tall Stepsister) partnered with Sophie Martin as Small Stepsister in the latest Scottish Ballet production of Cinderella. Picture: Andy Ross

But she has also had the experience of collaborating with choreographers who have worked with Eve to make new work "on" her.

One of those processes became Eve’s dramatic interpretation of Blanche DuBois in Nancy Meckler and Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s stunning A Streetcar Named Desire for the company.

  

REVIEW A Streetcar Named Desire, March 2015

“Director Nancy Meckler and choreographer Annabelle Lopez Ochoa make our first glimpse of Eve Mutso — every inch the fragile Blanche — like a moth flying to the light as she stretches up a delicate, fluttering hand to the warmth of… a bare lightbulb. “

Not surprisingly, Eve sounds sorry to be leaving the company after 13 years.

But she is equally enthusiastic about the idea of creating what will be her second career after full-time performing with Scottish Ballet finishes.

Sophie Martin as the Short Stepsister, Eve Mutso as the Tall Stepsister, Pascal Johnson as a Dressmaker and Sophie Laplane as the Stepmother in Christopher Hampson’s Cinderella. Picture: Andy Ross.
Sophie Martin as the Short Stepsister, Eve Mutso as the Tall Stepsister, Pascal Johnson as a Dressmaker and Sophie Laplane as the Stepmother in Christopher Hampson’s Cinderella. Picture: Andy Ross.

"I thought it was my time to move on and I take my experience and knowledge – being here has taught me so much and given me the opportunity for so many great performances," says Eve.

"And the love and the support of Scottish Ballet’s audiences have always been there, so I am going to take all that with me and hopefully deveop even more – and be a better artist."

REVIEW The Nutcracker, January 2015

“... stand-out on the night was principal Eve Mutso as the Arabian, swooping strides on her toes giving an early reminder of the sensuous energy she will bring again as Blanche when A Streetcar Named Desire returns in March...”

Eve is keeping her options open, as she explains: "I’m going to take a little bit of time to find out exactly what I am going to do.

Eve (centre) as Lady Capulet in Scottish Ballet's production of Romeo & Juliet
Eve (centre) as Lady Capulet in Scottish Ballet's production of Romeo & Juliet

"In the meantime, I’m going to choreograph a bit, perform a bit and I’m going to guest a bit – as a guest artist – and see where my passion really lies.

"It has been a really intense 13 years with Scottish Ballet, as we are a small company. We tour a lot and we constantly rehearse for the next season.

"And it will be nice for me to spend a bit more time with my family and find my new path to different projects for the next while."

Eve will take part in Dance UK’s Choreographers Observership Programme which means working with and shadowing contemporary dance chorographer Christopher Bruce next year.

Her own choreography has already featured – elEven was performed at Edinburgh’s Dance Base at last year’s Fringe.

Eve Mutso in rehearsals for Helen Pickett’s world premiere, The Crucible. Picture: Christina Riley
Eve Mutso in rehearsals for Helen Pickett’s world premiere, The Crucible. Picture: Christina Riley

And for the immediate future she will stay in Scotland.

"Scotland will be home for the next year or so, definitely.

"But I’ve been asked to be part of a choreographic workshop in Estonia – that is just one of the projects and collaborations.

"And I’ve got offers to do a few other things, a Fringe programme included. But I don’t want to take too many things on.

"I want to direct my energy into building and facing my future.

"I’ve met so many incredible artists from so many different aspects of art and theatre, so I’d like to invest my time and energy – and passion – into more of those dialogues I’ve been having over the years."

Eve Mutso and Christopher Harrison in rehearsals for Helen Pickett’s world premiere, The Crucible. Picture: Andy Ross
Eve Mutso and Christopher Harrison in rehearsals for Helen Pickett’s world premiere, The Crucible. Picture: Andy Ross

Choosing favourite roles is difficult for Eve.

"I find it hard to pinpoint – there have been so many and I have been incredibly lucky over the years with the repertoire.

"And I have had the pleasure of being choreographed on and being part of new creations with choreographers.

"Obviously Blanche in A Streetcar Named Desire is one of my most favourite roles."

It’s hard to think Eve will no longer be in the Scottish Ballet productions that cometo Inverness.

REVIEW Hansel & Gretel: 2014

“But this show belongs to the witch – and Eve Mutso makes the most of every phase of the transformation from teacher, to beautiful ethereal superbeing hanging from a Busby Berkeley moon to the itchy-headed, hunched crone that tries every trick to get the children into the giant, red-flamed oven.

Just like all the naughty, bad-for-you food on offer to Hansel and Gretel, the witch’s is so beautifully bad that you’re almost sorry when one last gruesome horror movie touch gives us her silhouetted hand against the scarlet fire.

She even got her own panto-style boo from the crowd at the curtain call!”

Eve’s height – tall for a ballet dancer at five feet seven – adds elegance to her dancing, her dramatic skills make her equally believable as the forbidding but loving Lady Capulet in Romeo & Juliet, terrifying and hunched as the crone-like witch in Hansel & Gretel and both vulnerable and flirtatious as Blanche duBois in A Streetcar Named Desire.

In Cinderella, her final show for the company, she embraces three different roles – as one of Christopher Hampson’s revamped comedy Stepsisters with Sophie Martin, the fairy godmother and also Cinders’ bossy stepmother.

Eve enjoys the contrasts.

Becoming a principal dancer at Scottish Ballet means Eve is leaving at the top.

"I know that a massive big part of my life as a ballet dancer is going to end at that level.

"Most of all I want to find my new passion."

"Obviously my second career will be longer than my first one.

"But the first one has seemed like a life of its own," Eve laughs.

Scottish Ballet’s Cinderella comes to Eden Court on Wednesday, January 27 and the final performance is on Saturday, January 30. For details: www.eden-court.co.uk

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