Though this is now their home company, Vasiliev and Osipova still look like guest stars, their dancing grand and expansive against the softer approach of the Mikhailovsky. They’re extraordinary, but it takes them longer to build excitement.
Yet, watching this production on opening night, it feels like a ballet being pulled in conflicting directions. Natalia Osipova is a prodigiously talented dancer who resembles Sylvie Guillem in her attempts to reinvent the roles she performs. Her Giselle is a headstrong young woman who's stumbled into a gothic horror; while she dances much of the first act with a sunny buoyancy, dark cracks of apprehension zigzag across her happiness, eventually imploding into a mad scene of psychotic intensity.
Perhaps inevitably, these two Titans here eclipsed everyone else on stage to a distracting degree: those used to the Royal Ballet’s corps (and indeed orchestra) may have been disappointed, besides which it remains to be seen how the remaining Giselle casts will fare by comparison. Still, anything’s possible, and at any rate this truly remarkable duo will be fronting other works by the Mikhailovsky between now and April 7. I’d get booking.