Haglund is looking forward once again to seeing the beautiful sets of On the Dnieper during ABT's upcoming Met season and has been encouraged by comments made by Alexei Ratmansky which suggest that he will continue to work on the piece. Aside from the Prokofiev music that really doesn't grab you by the throat and scream "Dance, you fool, dance!" and aside from the over-steppiness of the choreography, the main problem with the piece from an audience's perspective is the slightness of the story (see synopsis here.)
So, Haglund – always eager to help out especially when he hasn't been invited to – has revised the libretto to give it the kind of weight that he and his friends like to see in a story ballet. Compare this to what's at the link above:
Sergei comes home from war with a group of soldiers. He still loves his Natalia dearly and looks for her in the large crowd of welcomers. He finds her and they embrace but they both sense a distance between them that was not there before.Sergei then approaches Olga and Olga's mother who are searching for their father/husband among the soldiers. Sergei must tell them that their father/husband will not be coming home. He has died on the battlefield - a hero who saved many, including Sergei. Sergei describes the battle and gives Olga and Olga's mother the fallen soldier's personal effects - his flag, his medals, his uniform hat, the family pictures he carried with him.Sergei then tells Olga and Olga's mother that he promised their father/husband as he lay dying, that he (Sergei) would forever take care of Olga and her mother and that the soldier could leave this world in peace.Sergei experiences the expected conflict and torment of loving Natalia but having promised the dying soldier that he would always take care of Olga and her mother. Both Olga and her mother begin to develop feelings for Sergei who responds genuinely to both. (The audience is never quite sure which woman Sergei is servicing or whether he's servicing both.) Sergei continues to desire Natalia and meets with her secretly. During one of these meetings he is observed by Olga who tells her mother what she has seen. The mother and Olga plead with Sergei to be faithful to them and explain that they could not survive another loss as tragic as when their father/husband died on the battlefield.Sergei then attempts to hook up Natalia with his best friend, thinking that she would find supreme happiness with a handsome, wealthy man who was desired by most all other women in town. Natalia initially resists but then pretends to fall in love with Sergei's friend.Seeing Natalia with his best friend, Sergei weeps at his loss but then forces himself to regain his composure. As he strolls slowly away with Olga on his right arm and her mother on his left, he looks back over his shoulder at Natalia who is in a crumpled heap on the floor having realized that she has lost Sergei forever. Sergei's best friend stands off to the side with arms folded not understanding what has provoked Natalia's tears.As Sergei and the women stroll away, there appear the faint shadows of fallen soldiers in uniform who stand and watch them. Sergei pauses to look at one, slowly salutes him, and walks away with the women.
The curtain lowers. The audience applauds and screams wildly. Standing in the aisle, Alastair Macaulay whips out his cell phone to call in his review but can barely be heard over the roar of the crowd. "History has been made and I am so glad to have been here," he dictates. Haglund has not exactly been invited to write Alastair's reviews for him, either, but eh.
On the Dnieper will be performed on June 9, 11, 28 and July 1 – most likely with its original storyline.