It's probably a given on Ballet Talk that Alina Somova is ... how can I put this gently? ... not admired.
What intrigues me is the much broader and seemingly contradictory criticisms of this company's performances. "I loved it. I hated it." "He was good. She was dreadful. But she was good in the next work." "It was a beautiful production; it was a tawdry production." "The orchestra played X beautifully. The orchestra played Y dreadfully." Etc. etc.
After reading many reviews -- especially in the British press -- I get the impression of serious inconsistency. Is it time to wonder whether this company needs a bit more Quality Control? (I'm just asking
Flanders, for example, praises corps and demi-solo work in Serenade
, but finds the lead ballerina -- not
Somova, but a dancer who has been praised
on Ballet Talk -- to be "a principal in the old, eye-rolling school of dance, presentation in place like a mask, simperingly unaware of the Sturm und Drang
of the work in which she was appearing." The same ballerina appears in Symphony in C, "giving a performance to Bizet that was identical to the one she had already given to Tchaikovsky.
" [My italics.] Another couple is accused of "mugging and vamping," The lead in the 2nd movement, on the other hand, receives real and thoughtful praise.
The Soviet Sleeping Beauty is said offer
tired sets and garish, synthetic-looking costumes and straw wigs ... The court world in the ballet has been reduced to an embarrassed token gesture; and because of this, the restoration of Beaty and her prince at the end cannot become a symbol of Petipa and Tchaikovsky's imagined triumph of courtly life.
The work of several excellent dancers was
diminished by the vast swaths of indifferent 1950s choreography interpolated among the original Petipa.