Just a couple of responses, Amy (and in no particular order)
I saw several shows of this at Boston. The costumes and sets were borrowed from Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre. I agree with some of your complaints about the props, but shouldn't Ponomarenko (who adapted it for the company) have changed some of this? I didn't know whether Myrtha's "sprig" was rosemary or asphodel, but whatever it was supposed to be, it was way too large and cumbersome. Additionally, the lilies were too loud as they hit the ground (I am assuming they were plastic.) As you said, Amy, it was just a number of little things that didn't seem thought out. My feeling on the whole production was that there was just not enough time to bring the whole company up to speed on the intricacies of this ballet. With so many new corps members (I recognized so few of them, and I see this company pretty regularly), there was no way to set this ballet to perfection in a little over a month. (The dancers returned in August and had to perform a full program at Jacob's Pillow prior to this performance.) Their reactions and/or non-reactions in Act I were obvious.
About the conductor - he is fairly new. My only comment is that I sorely miss Jonathan McPhee.
The two Hilarions that stood out were Paul Craig and Isaac Akiba, both veterans. Craig was so good as Hilarion that I was very disappointed not to see him cast as Albrecht. It makes no sense to me to not cast a perfectly capable and seasoned Principal in the role.
I felt that Act II was missing something and then I remembered that when Maina Gielgud set Giselle on the company, the Willis' entered with veils over their heads. I don't remember how long they kept them on, so perhaps someone can remind me. But I do remember feeling the scene was much more "other-worldly."
The Peasant pas was much better danced in other performances. Ji Young Chae had the task of performing the peasant pas, Myrtha, and Giselle. She is quite the machine, and her jumps are unbelievable. I hope she develops more in her acting skills.
I thought each of the principal couples I saw brought something different to their respective roles. Interestingly, Oga and Dunn were my least favorite, and they were the couple specifically coached by Ponomarenko. And this brings me back to the time given in bringing this ballet to the stage. There was just not enough time for Ponomarenko to put her finishing touches on everyone and every scene. Luckily, several of the Principal dancers had danced the ballet before, which became obvious in seeing several of the shows.
If, Amy, your line of thinking is to follow, then Dunn (as an aristocrat) is too short. I felt as though I should be watching Coppelia or La Fille in seeing Oga and Dunn on stage, and this is probably why their pre-mad scene was appealing. His technique is surely beautiful, but I didn't see Albrecht. Oga was fine, and as you say, she is young. I think the company is hoping for a "Kuranaga" in her. This ballet is a soulful story to be told, and while technique is obviously at the centre of it, there is so much more to it. In their defense, it was their first time together in a full-length. Kapitonova/Yocum and Cirio/Khozashvili have danced together before, and, again, it was evident. I think it may have been a better choice to have Oga and Dunn do the peasant pas before throwing them into the title roles. But, I am sure we will be seeing them do a lot more together.
All in all, I am glad the company finally (after 10 years) brought the ballet back. I hope that they do it again soon, but spend more time in coaching it. With so many recent departures, it will take time to bring the new crop of dancers up to the level of the past few years or prior.