kirovboy

Alina Somova

217 posts in this topic

I VERY MUCH prefer Bouder's rendition of Spessitzeva's Solo, which is Mme. Fracci's after Markova-Dolin to Somova's Russian based one. That, along with her more restrained arabesques, beautiful body type and her whole stylistic take on the ballet makes her, in my eyes, a definitive far way winner over Somova, who fails to convince me.

Here is Somova's Solo. :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aSWpj5RNzbM

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While I think Somova is too thin, Bouder seems to be quite bulky and almost masculine in her build, which could contribute to her limited extensions. Somova has the ability to go too far in the other direction. I don't think Bouder is restraining her arabesque; I think that is just the height of her arabesque.

Also, I know wasn't there to see Obraztsova or Bouder live, but I find it impossible to believe that Obraztsova didn't outclass Bouder in every way. Yes, Genia has danced the role before, but her Giselle was something special even from her debut several years ago. I hope someone who was there can report. Sorry to get off the Somova topic.

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I don't think Bouder is restraining her arabesque; I think that is just the height of her arabesque.

I've seen Bouder dance Balanchine, and she is restraining her arabesque, which goes higher when she chooses.

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Allowing for the odd camera angle, and for the special nature of the choreography in this section, it does seem a very careful performance, or perhaps that's just her technical strength showing. (The camera angle and the lighting unfortunately convey a sense of solidity -- as in the Act II opaque-looking white skirt.)

I admire her willingness to expand into this repertoire.

Azulynn, you call Bouder's performance in Act II "extraordinary." Please, can you tell us more?

(I know this is off-topic for this particular thread, but there are many Bouder-followers on this Board. I know they would love to hear your impressions.)

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While I think Somova is too thin, Bouder seems to be quite bulky and almost masculine in her build...

...the old issue that has been historically applied to a certain number of great ballerinas, from Kschessinska or Lepeshinskaya's times all the way to Bouder, Viengsay Valdes or Hayna Gutierrez. I, for once, would take this physique ANY TIME over all the Lacarras, Zakharovas or Somovas. They USUALLY show more control and strength in they turns and balances. But that's only my opinion.

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Azulynn, you call Bouder's performance in Act II "extraordinary." Please, can you tell us more?

(I know this is off-topic for this particular thread, but there are many Bouder-followers on this Board. I know they would love to hear your impressions.)

not to go off-topic too much

that's what i posted about Obraztova in Italy http://ballettalk.invisionzone.com/index.p...mp;#entry264556

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Somova means what, then? all true balletomanes seem to disparage, if not despise her, perhaps rightly so, or not. She does not seem to be going into an autumn decline, so is this just 'ballet dumbing-down' that therefore sells because of cheap gimickry? These discussions about Somova have been going on for some years, and yet she only seems to get promoted and publicized? So what gives here? I've never seen a ballerina so loathed by balletomanes since I started here 4 years ago. Really am curious. Are there other 'tasteless and vulgar' ballerinas who are also deemed worthy of some kind of stardom somehow, and is she somehow just the worst exemplar? Is her 'vulgarity' actually the 'cutting edge' of trends that are selling and are known to excite popular audiences? Becuase there's got to be some sort of huge positive response somewhere in the audience, or she wouldn't still be so constantly 'in evidence'.

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Really am curious. Are there other 'tasteless and vulgar' ballerinas who are also deemed worthy of some kind of stardom somehow..?

Yes Patrick. Cuban Viengsay Valdes has also fallen within this category in this same board...

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Somova means what, then? all true balletomanes seem to disparage, if not despise her, perhaps rightly so, or not. She does not seem to be going into an autumn decline, so is this just 'ballet dumbing-down' that therefore sells because of cheap gimickry? These discussions about Somova have been going on for some years, and yet she only seems to get promoted and publicized? So what gives here? I've never seen a ballerina so loathed by balletomanes since I started here 4 years ago. Really am curious. Are there other 'tasteless and vulgar' ballerinas who are also deemed worthy of some kind of stardom somehow, and is she somehow just the worst exemplar? Is her 'vulgarity' actually the 'cutting edge' of trends that are selling and are known to excite popular audiences? Becuase there's got to be some sort of huge positive response somewhere in the audience, or she wouldn't still be so constantly 'in evidence'.

She appeals because she sells seats to non-balletomanes precisely because she's like an identi-kit assemblage of everything a non-regular ballet goer, imagines a ballerina should be.

She's very thin, very very pretty, takes a lovely photo. She smiles winningly, she has legs which go up to her earholes, round the back of her head and back again. She can stand on pointe, she puts her legs up very high, she's very pretty - and she looks very very good in publicity.

And that's the thing, most people who go to ballet don't care about it very much, the punters who block book those incredibly expensive seats are mainly corporate geezers and their wives/mistresses etc.

They don't go to the ballet to deconstruct technique, to compare choreography, productions, variations. To remember such and such a dancer in such a role x years ago and how that role has progressed in the hands of various ballerinas since.

The people who pay the money to keep theatres running, who can regularly afford to buy those very very expensive seats want thin, pretty, winning, charming, winsome ballerinas with legs that go up to their ears. And can vaguely keep in time to music, which is what they're mostly listening to anyway.

Somova is a ballerina for the corporate block, as opposed to those great Russian ballerinas of the past produced by the Soviet bloc.

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Really am curious. Are there other 'tasteless and vulgar' ballerinas who are also deemed worthy of some kind of stardom somehow..?

Yes Patrick. Cuban Viengsay Valdes has also fallen within this category in this same board...

And going back to Somova/Bouder. If digging deeper into technical details, one can see that Bouder definitely outshines Somova. For instance, Bouder's renverses are beautiful and completed...Somova's are barely there. Where Bouder does her two series of triples -(left and right)-Somova has to do a quick change and finishes with the opposite leg the two times. Later on Bouder's diagonal of sautees on pointe makes the count up to 33, whereas Somova decides to stop and pace around a little at merely 27. And yes...Bouder's final Markova's diagonal of pirouettes vs. Somova's Russian piques...(I know it is just an alternative take on the choreography, but still...the complexity level difference between them is easily noticeable )

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I can't believe I'm saying this, but I thought Somova was charming in that variation. The legs went way too high in the beginning, of course, and her style of dancing and body type are the antithesis of Romantic ballet, but that video might be the best I've seen from her. I'm a bit afraid to see what the rest of the ballet looked like, though...she's proven in the past that she's incapable of maintaining her turnout during jumps, and Giselle has to do a lot of those.

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... that video might be the best I've seen from her.

Now...to be fair, I must say I agree 100 % with you on that, Hans.

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Viengsay Valdes is certainly vulgar (yes very nice dear, now go away and ponder on the meaning of tasteful) but from what I've seen of her she has very strong technique. There have been dancers in the past that have been vulgar with VV’s perfume of the circus about them, but they all had strong basic abilities. What makes Somova unique is that her vulgarity isn't down to misuse of technique, rather it is vulgarity tacked on to very weak technique. Yes, I agree she is very pretty and for all I know a nice warm generous human being to boot, but as a dancer she is fundamentally lacking in every aspect of performance. Anastasia Volochkova, another very pretty girl, was also vulgar but technically everything was there – she just chose not to use it. Somova isn’t in that category.

What we see in Alina Somova is the ‘dumbing down’ phenomena infecting the art of ballet.

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I note that Alina Somova is to appear as a guest artist at La Scala, Milan.

http://www.teatroallascala.org/en/stagioni/2010_2011/opera-e-balletto/jewels.html

On the face of it this isn't so surprising as I believe her former champion at the Kirov, Makhar Vaziev, is now in charge of the ballet there and presumably seeks to boost his former protégées career.

La Scala is perhaps the most famous house for opera in the world and I can't help wondering what her reception would be were she a singer. Now I really can't imagine that house inviting an operatic equivalent of Somova to La Scala to start with, but if by some fluke she were to appear and if we could imagine her dancing skills transformed into musical ability, I imagine the hyper-critical Milanese would boo her off the stage.

I would like to ask the question, are ballet fans politer and or they less technically aware then the opera buffs?

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I note that Alina Somova is to appear as a guest artist at La Scala, Milan.

La Scala is perhaps the most famous house for opera in the world and I can't help wondering what her reception would be were she a singer. Now I really can't imagine that house inviting an operatic equivalent of Somova to La Scala to start with, but if by some fluke she were to appear and if we could imagine her dancing skills transformed into musical ability, I imagine the hyper-critical Milanese would boo her off the stage.

I would like to ask the question, are ballet fans politer and or they less technically aware then the opera buffs?

The loggionisti that terrorizes opera performances have their own agenda; they simply like to hear themselves and get off on terrorizing singers. It's really just a snobbish, nasty clique.

But I don't know if the loggionisti's "expertise" carries over to ballet or if they actually even attend performances other than opera that are held at La Scala (not just ballet but also recitals and orchestral concerts with and without soloists).

Carla Fracci always complained that Italian audiences had no where near the interest in ballet as they do in opera.

But to take your "transmutation", if Somova were a singer, and sang in the same distorted way she dances, I suspect she would hear quite a lot from the loggionisti and it wouldn't be applause!

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I note that Alina Somova is to appear as a guest artist at La Scala, Milan.

http://www.teatroallascala.org/en/stagioni/2010_2011/opera-e-balletto/jewels.html

On the face of it this isn't so surprising as I believe her former champion at the Kirov, Makhar Vaziev, is now in charge of the ballet there and presumably seeks to boost his former protégée’s career.

La Scala is perhaps the most famous house for opera in the world and I can't help wondering what her reception would be were she a singer. Now I really can't imagine that house inviting an operatic equivalent of Somova to La Scala to start with, but if by some fluke she were to appear and if we could imagine her dancing skills transformed into musical ability, I imagine the hyper-critical Milanese would boo her off the stage.

I would like to ask the question, are ballet fans politer and or they less technically aware then the opera buffs?

Your comment and your question make me think that you have not seen La Scala Ballet Sleeping Beauty in London. It was named among the disasters of the year on Dance Europe, even if according to Milan regional news it was a huge success.

The theatre is sold out only if Big Bolle dances and part of the audience thinks that when they see Zakharova and Bolle together they have the best in the world. I think that Somova is perfect with the other two: the same deep and subtle artistry.

When I went back to La Scala for the Béjart night in January I realized to have not been there for 14 months in a row: it's just 30 min walking, but in those months I preferred to watch more than 50 shows in London, Paris, Hamburg, Zurich, Barcelona, Madrid, Ravenna...

Some (very few) dancers are interesting, but the company is definitely not as relevant as the name of the theatre where they usually dance (a beautiful theatre, but absolutely inadequate for ballet show: the seats with a clear view are a small minority)

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But to take your "transmutation", if Somova were a singer, and sang in the same distorted way she dances, I suspect she would hear quite a lot from the loggionisti and it wouldn't be applause!

It was inevitable that Vaziev would summon her to Milan; I wonder what took him so long. In his eyes, Alina follows in Zakharova's footsteps. This was the master plan. After Sveta's departure for the Bolshoi, a void needed to be filled. First the Mariinsky,(and now) La Scala. Vaziev remains a true believer in Alina, so he's doing all that he can for her career because she's his creature.

If Somova were a singer, it would be like hearing Lady Ga Ga as Lucia di Lammermoor on helium. Opera audiences wouldn't indulge an artist that's on 45% of the time, and off the other 55% in the majority of her performances. If a soprano is off because of a cold that's one thing; if she's flat or bungles phrases, hit and miss, that's quite another. Persistant inconsistency isn't a characteristic of the world's top divas, or prima ballerinas. Theoretically, that's not how they get to the top, or how they build an audience, let alone maintain career longevity. In this regard, Alina is a special case study as to what can happen, when expectations are unrealistic at best, and when things get out of hand at worst. At this stage there's no way they would or could rescind her appointment without looking foolish.

Meanwhile, someone at the Mariinsky seems to have stopped drinking the kool-aid. Alina was slated to open the season's first evening "Swan Lake," September 18, with a performance the following night as the Tsar Maiden in "Little Humpbacked Horse." The honor will now go to Katya Kondaurova, with Sofia Gumerova (another deserving but rarely seen 1st Soloist), who will dance the matinee. Kondaurova will follow up with another performance on October 3. This is the first time in a number of years that a soloist opens the new season's "Lake" over a principal.

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But doing basic math. According to the records of this board, Somova has always been an unpopular dancer, known for her extreme lack of technique, hence the vast majority of posters has somehow agreed for once-(unlike, let's say, Part or Valdes, with their ambivalent signature in their fan/detractors circles). Now, if it is a FACT that Somova was, is and will be a BAD ballerina, EVEN with as many powerful connections/sponsors/godfathers and the like she might have on her side. Having this clear, I wonder...HOW in hell is it possible that she's been able to step over the whole world, to the point of getting so much promoted, booked, invited and recorded...?

Are all this network of people of hers so strong to the point of extending its power overseas to such places as La Scala...?

Does her case has any precedent in the history of ballet-(or opera)- at all...?

If Somova were a singer, it would be like hearing Lady Ga Ga as Lucia di Lammermoor on helium.

:rofl:

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It was inevitable that Vaziev would summon her to Milan; I wonder what took him so long.

It was Mariinsky fault: she was invited as a substitute of Zakharova in Ballet Imperial in May-June this year, but the Mariinsky didn't give the permission, so we had Alina... Cojocaru (maybe not the best ballet for a guesting, but her second adagio with Murru was one of the best thing I've seen in La Scala).

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Are all this network of people of hers so strong to the point of extending its power overseas to such places as La Scala...?

Does her case has any precedent in the history of ballet-(or opera)- at all...?

Bolle. Just think at the press coverage (in Italy, of course, but also in the US) for his debut with ABT.

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Actually I did see the La Scala Beauty at Covent Garden: the guest artists were quite nice though.

I find it significant that whenever the name of Bolle is mentioned his admirers always seem to refer to his good looks. Those preferring dancing to looks tend not to mention him at all.

Somova does seem to be the worst dancer at that level. There were a few ropey (alleged) mistresses of communist chiefs back in the Soviet era, but they weren't that prominent and certainly would never have opened and closed a season at Covent Garden. The Royal Ballet has had a few technical inadequates and still does, particularly among the males. Their worst was Marguerite Porter but she was still better than Somova.

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Cubanmiamiboy wrote,

I wonder...HOW in hell is it possible that she's been able to step over the whole world, to the point of getting so much promoted, booked, invited and recorded...?

Chalk it up to the identical personal preference of Vaziev's successor Yuri Fateev plus connections. Gergiev chose Fateev because he's a yes man, doesn't question and doesn't rock the boat. When Vaziev went to La Scala, Fateev represented continuity. Fateev was subordinate to Vaziev as a leading ballet master; ergo, her promotion,(though ill-advised), was almost bound to happen. Her coach was Vaziev's wife. Re bookings and invitations, mainly she's been sent to provincial companies in the Federation, such as the Paliashvili Theatre of Opera and Ballet, Georgia, and the like - but only as Odette/Odile. This role is her main claim to fame, her first major role, and the centerpiece of her short-list of roles. When Vaziev gave her that assignment, she was hyped at the time to be the youngest, if not, one of the youngest in the Mariinsky's history to do it.

She has done one night stands with the Warsaw company in "Bayadere." She hasn't been requested by Zelensky for his company in Novosibirsk, nor Perm, nor Kiev or any Moscow, or other Petersburg company. That fact is significant. She appeared a few years ago in Canada in the Etoiles Gala, and with Canadian Ballet Theatre in the Vainonen "Nutcracker." But the following Christmas of that year (which was recent but escapes me at the moment), CBT requested 1st Soloist Maya Dumchenko. That fact is also significant. Basically, she participates in company and joint gala tours with Bolshoi stars in Japan, leads the company on Western tours, and is featured during tourist season at the Mariinsky International Ballet and White Nights Festivals.

Here's another factor that's in play. Fateev is considered by the Theatre, or rather considers himself to be a "Balanchine expert." So, his vision of the company's repertory has been expanded with an eye to give her a place in that repertory. To that end, she's been given those Balanchine roles that she could try to master in conjunction with her OJT performances in the standard Petipa rep. Therefore, that's why she's Fateev's first choice to deploy to Milan for "Diamonds." Tereshkina and Novikova also dance "Diamonds," but they aren't considered "bank," and they don't have the name recognition that Somova has, and Lopatkina doesn't guest.

Recordings? Well we all know she has been recorded most frequently on Youtube. That's unofficial. She's been recorded in the Lessons dvd set with Novikova, Tereshkina and Obrastzova, (Japanese production), as a big swan in Lopatkina & Korsuntsev's "Lake" dvd, and as Dryad in the Novikova/Sarafanov "Don Q" dvd. Unfortunately, these are official. She hasn't been showcased in a major full-length role on dvd...yet.

Does her case has any precedent in the history of ballet-(or opera)- at all...?

By the Mariinsky's standards, (and their indulgence of her's), her rise is unprecedented. My conclusion? Two words: Manufactured career.

Mashinka wrote,

The Royal Ballet has had a few technical inadequates and still does, particularly among the males. Their worst was Marguerite Porter but she was still better than Somova.

I agree. I recall that Porter was also burdened with the media hype that she resembled the young Fonteyn, and so it went on from there.

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I agree. I recall that Porter was also burdened with the media hype that she resembled the young Fonteyn, and so it went on from there.

I thought Porter DID resemble the young Fonteyn rather strongly--just not the young Fonteyn as a dancer (and, as one discovered, she had no stand out traits/strengths of her own). Perhaps the resemblance itself was as much a burden as any hype it generated. As I recall, she was rather delightful in the secondary role Ashton created for her in A Month in the Country as a servant girl who flirts with the hero, and that may have also helped to make her seem more promising than she was.

I would like to return to topic, but have never seen Somova. For a while, all the (negative) hoopla made me curious, but by now I find it depressing to think about. An over-rated ballerina at the Maryinksy--even at the Maryinsky--is scarcely an unheard of scandal. But an over-rated ballerina cast as their young superstar at home and abroad is, shall we say, unexpected...

(I do think that Zakharova, with all her limitations, is considerably better than the Somova I have read about; I understand the reasons for the comparison, but doubt it is entirely fair to the former.)

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Recordings? Well we all know she has been recorded most frequently on Youtube. That's unofficial. She's been recorded in the Lessons dvd set with Novikova, Tereshkina and Obrastzova, (Japanese production), as a big swan in Lopatkina & Korsuntsev's "Lake" dvd, and as Dryad in the Novikova/Sarafanov "Don Q" dvd. Unfortunately, these are official. She hasn't been showcased in a major full-length role on dvd...yet.

She was the lead in 'Paquita' in the new years' performance that was broadcast on Arte, and that may end up on DVD..

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The silver lining in that broadcast is Tereshkina's Nikiya.

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