I wrote that "for many years" she was my absolute favorite. Recently I finally got to see Lopatkina and I was overwhelmed. I would have to say Makarova/Semenyaka/Lopatkina are definitely THE Swan Lake interpreters who have made the most profoundest impression on me. ....
Ha-ha, for me, Lopatkina's the one who seems like she's the one who will not change an eyelash from performance to performance. Her readings are so richly detailed, and it's a joy to see what she's found, but I do miss the suggestion of spontaneity.
I know that most people find Lopatkina anything but spontaneous...and I would not exactly say she looked spontaneous to me. But I will say the performance of Swan Lake I saw didn't look at all calculated, not least because it came across as completely without affectation. I felt as if I were getting a kind of pure distillation of the ballet. I experienced it as if, after all these years, I had suddenly gotten a revelation of the Platonic form of Odette. It sounds like I'm going soft in the head, but I'm very sure I saw a great performance even if it would not be to everyone's taste.
But since this thread is about Makarova, I should say I am plenty grateful to have bookended my Swan Lake going up to this time in such fashion, and remember what you describe about each performance having a distinctive quality.