Alina Somova has lovely lyrical qualities, even ballerina qualities, but I don't think she can yet carry a ballet, and certainly not "Ballet Imperial." (Unless one loves her, and when one loves a dancer, the choices and development are what are most interesting. I could see why someone would make that choice.)
Feel totally different about this, to my great surprise. All the things sz said about Somova, in opposition to most, in the early ballets or Petipa and Fokine days and nights seemed to be Somova for me in 'Ballet Imperial.' I couldn't believe it, because I still thinks she looks soggy and numbed (at least with Nytol or Sominex) in those awful Auroro YouTubes. Interesting that you would say you thought Kondaurova was the 'first 21st century Kirov ballerina'. It occurred to me that that is what Somova will be, and I also agree with sz that she will do 'Diamonds.' Since nobody answered my query about Agnes Letestu and whether she became able to do 'Diamonds' or if somebody else also dances it at POB, I will just say that Ms. Letestu is not even there on the POB DVD, and she literally ruins the otherwise fabulous POB Jewels. I can't see 'the big mess' the Somova is accused of making this afternoon, I thought she glittered in a way I thought absolutely impossible--I had been given this ticket as a birthday present last year and then had chosen the particular performance because I wanted to see Vishneva. I realized I would probably hate Somova after what many had said on here and what I had thought of those godawful YouTubes. I was totally disappointed, and therefore startled that I think what it may possibly be is this: The talent is so huge (going along with sz's 'extreme dancer' term), that it does go out of control a lot as it developa. So, yes, as Helene says 'Unless one loves her.' I do, and though even I could see some things that didn't work, she was not unmusical, the high extensions were never distracting, her body is one of the most beautiful ballerina bodies I have ever seen, and it is capable of doing things that other bodies are not doing. She was not mostly messy today IMO, and she glittered enough to blind someone like me had this been something I was prone to. She was sublime in her spring season. Too many grins is the only one of the annoyances posted by many that were way too frequent. That piece doesn't need a cheerleader face for it, but she is A STAR, and will probably become a great Balanchine ballerina instead of Petipa.
What was a HUGE MESS was the piano-playing of the concerto, Ludmila Somebody (they announced it, i believe) made absolute mud when she was not playing with the orchestra. Didn't anybody hear this? It was GHASTLY. Because this is a charming Balanchine work and even at the much-maligned NYCB orchestra at least the soloist always sounded like he/she was not about to run out of gas at any moment. I mean, this is one of those times one resents censorship of ordinary four-letter words at the BT. Hideous.
I also didn't think the secondary soloist and her two men were very Balanchinian, and there were many male dancers throughout the afternoon I thought lacking in much of the spirit of Balanchine as I had thought I understood it from NYCB. But most of the men did not interest me very much, only Schklyarov.
Loved Kondaurova and Tereschkina in 'Serenade', and thought this much better than I'd ever seen it elsewhere. Ms. Tereschkina is what I was glad to see most, I wanted to see one of the ones more in line with traditional Kirov as has been spoken of much here. Also loved Kondaurova in 'Rubies', and also Schklyarov especially. I think someone said something about one of the lead male dancers in 'Rubies' too wiry to get the jazzy americanisms of 'Rubies.' A number of them seemed like they hadn't descended from ABFAB's Patsy's '400 years of potato diet' , or when they had, they weren't really charismatic. Not so, the Schklyarov, who is almost too pulchritudinous for anyone's own good. I didn't even notice Novikova, wondered if she needed another partner, or perhaps my jaded sensibilities just can't see this kind of dancer. I can't say I saw any of the McBride that others are talking about. I never really looked at her though. My other bad taste acc. to BT, Galina Mezentseva, made me do the same thing with Odette/Odile on the video, even though Konstantin Zaklinsky is much prettier than she is. Mezentseva looks just like a Politburo wife when she's not in character, but I never quit looking at her as either Odette or Odile, and I thought I wouldn't like her Odette because the Odile is so brazen. Well, I did. And although Novikova was cute, I looked Mr. Schklyarov the whole time--he's got Nureyev attributes and is fabulous.
I sat next to a most wonderful young woman who i've invited to Ballet Talk. She knows tons about ballet, and is a huge fan of Ananiashvili in particular. She wasn't quite as familiar with 'Jewels' as with some other ballets, and we were talking about it--she thought there was a 4th Jewel--Amethysts. We had quite a laugh over that and I told her it was very, very important to come to BT, and that I would be signalling by writing about the missing jewel, the Amethysts.
After the POB set for 'Rubies' (and especially for 'Diamonds' too), they all look harlotish after such perfect understatement, not least some of those candy-box effects at NYCB that people do the ooh-ing and ahh-ing about. But THIS--the Kirov has the tackiest 'Rubies' set I've ever seen. It all looks like 14th Street Xmas Style and the backdrop looks like the 3 dollar cloth pictures drawn on cheap black velvet. I couldn't even believe it. I guess it was a great 'Rubies' I saw today, but while I loved Kondaurova, I guess I'd want to see Ms. Novikova with somebody less charismatic.
Well, this thread among all i've read at BT within 2 years has by far the most animalism about it. Tribute probably to the excitement that the Kirov causes more than any other company. But all the fast shuttle-trips by Natalia, the constant controversy over Somova, hideous audience conduct (I saw none today that was as bad as much I've been victim of at NYCB), canbelto's audience member from hell (but whose line "Are those programs different, or are you just taking pleasure in reading the same program three times?" is so inane as to be nearly immortal... nysusan's many enthusiastic posts, FauxPas's always sensitive and thoughtful pieces (he can even see what I see in Ms. Mezentseva), Haglund's super-brash statements full of energy.
I now have enough material to write 'The Balletomane' from this thread alone!