This will be Dasha Pavlenko's first appearance as Lilac in either production (1890, or '52) in five years
! It's wonderful that the 1890 is coming back. But, last year this time they announced the 1890, and pulled the 1952 switch at the last minute. Golub danced one performance as Aurora, and then of course, Alina Somova. They may do the same thing again this time, because they will have come home from a series of '52 "Beautys" at Kennedy. I hope they keep the announced production. Oh, how I wish I could be in Peter for this! This is a good example of the Maryinsky's '"TBA" casting policy. They announce the opera and ballet performance schedule at the beginning of the month, sans the leads. One doesn't know who is on until a few days before - and even then they'll switch at the 11th hour before curtain.
The casting is no surprise: Alina Somova is listed as Aurora.
Yes, this was deliberate. It's a subscription performance. It was announced at the start of the season last Fall. I don't understand why Shklyarov is chained to her again; and in this
(or anything else for that matter). After the "R & J" opening night disaster in London last summer this is inexplicable.
One can only assume the Russians like what Somova does; here in London she opened and closed the season last year and was disliked by critics and audience alike. I saw the last act of her Sleeping Beauty on the final night and the applause was light and brief. The customary flower throw from the audience on the last night of the season didn't happen this time around. . . .
That's the absolute truth. However, the majority of Petersburg's audience doesn't appreciate Somova's manufactured "prominence" on their stage. The leading lights are Lopatkina, Kondaurova, Obratzova, Vishneva and Tereshkina. Whenever any of these ladies dance it's an event in the artistic life of the city. Increasingly, 1st Soloists Obratzova and Kondaurova are taking their place in this exclusive club. And thankfully, Dasha Pavlenko is slowly but surely making a comeback. Somova, however, remains on the outside looking in. She has her faction, yes, but it isn't large. The coaches may pronounce their displeasure but it doesn't matter. The culprits who determine Somova's schedule are the chief stage manager who is in charge of casting, and the ballet director who rubber stamps his approval - in that order. It's not because Petersburgers are clamoring to see her. Moreover, she is also prominently cast during the Festival season when tourists frequent the Maryinsky Theatre. No doubt, the tourists' response, and box office receipts at home and abroad, have a huge influence on the decisions of the ballet director and the stage manager. This time it looks like Kennedy's
box office and her reputation
may have impacted the recent decision to subtract one Aurora from her original two in next week's engagement.
Ms Somova is strictly not for export.
This is true. Mariinka.org's forum, the online HQ for Team Somova has been shut down: http://www.mariinka.org/forum/
. That sounds like a "farewell" to me. Here are some other examples that may give evidence that a threshold has been reached. I was informed that on Jan 8, Somova appeared with Anastasia Matvienko and Obratzova in the 100th Birthday tribute to Ulanova. That's a travesty full stop. When I first learned this I think I lost two pints of blood. Matvienko was assigned Maria in an excerpt from "Fountain of Bahkshiserai," Somova was given the mad scene out of context from Giselle (good gravy Marie
), and the Ballroom segment from "R&J" Act 1 and balcony pdd were given to Obratzova. Reportedly, Obratzova received the highest praise and the greatest floral tribute that night. There's also the consternation that Somova received a Golden Mask nomination for "Little Humpbacked Horse" over Tereshkina. Another example: This past weekend (Jan 29 & 30), a small group of Maryinsky stars appeared at the Northern Lights Festival in Tromso, Norway. The indefatigable Somova didn't go - which is highly unusual because she hardly ever injures herself because of her flex-abilities and she's reportedly rarely ill. Even so, they took the rest of the 'A' Team - along with Obratzova and Kondaurova. Obratzova, Kondaurova and Matvienko each figured prominently during the Baden-Baden Christmas engagement. And now Somova is reduced to one Aurora for Kennedy and Tereshkina, Kolegova and Matvienko will be showcased. Perhaps the numerous embarassments of the past and present have caused some in the management to re-think their position.