Stepanova is clearly talented, but bravissima to Kondaurova: what mesmerizing authority....Shrinkina is an interesting choice for the opening night reviewers, since she's a dancer who has generated interest and isn't a dancer they've seen every tour, ....
It seems rather unfair to Shirinkina to have her debut during an opening night--a kind of favoritism that could effectively hurt her if she needs some seasoning in the role. I hope she does do really well, as she definitely caught my eye the one time I saw her and she seems a natural 'Cinderella.' But yes, it's a bit odd.
Shirinkina was on the most recent Kennedy Center tour -- leading Chopiniana (jete solo and pdd). DC and all of N. America have seen Shirinkina often since she appeared in the April 2008 NY City Center season, her first with the MT after having been acquired from Perm. She is a capable dancer, if not spectacular. Her 'star' is helped by her private and professional partnership with one Vladimir Schkyarov, no doubt. But she is capable and should fare nicely as Cinderella. I wouldn't want to see her as Aurora or Odette/Odile or Nikiya...but Cindrella is within Shirinkina's means...but, good grief, the opening night of a big tour, in front of reviewers?
The MIRACLE of the KennCen casting is that Somova is not getting opening night and not being subjected to the critics...which may explain that. [And may explain why Somova was kept off the Edinburgh Festival tour altogether. The irony is that Cinderella is her best starring role, IMO & where she had the best chance of garnering truly positive reviews. Go figure.]