I quite enjoyed it! It had been a while since I'd seen Mariinsky because I missed Corsaire in April. However, I do agree that there wasn't much meat in the plot. It was difficult to follow, even already knowing the plot before hand.
I stand with my previous sentiments about Khoreva-- stunning technique, but no stage presence and can't really act or play a character other than smiling. And her shoes were distracting. She has such beautiful arches but those shoes make her seem like she's barely pointing her foot, and for the first act at least, were tanned too light for her legs, and it cut off her line and distracted. But, she gave a very clean and impressive performance for a nineteen year old. Once she matures a little and gets better with artistry, she'll be a showstopper.
Maria Shirinkina-- wow! She subbed in for Chebyakina both shows yesterday and today-- and was promoted today! Much deserved. She was an utter delight to watch. Konstantin Zverev was also a joy.
Renata Shakirova was the strongest dancer in this performance. Her personality was explosive, even during the short amount of time she was onstage and her dancing was stunning.
I was actually quite surprised by May Nagahisa, her variation was delightful and quite impressive. Her lines were long and breaktaking, and she held quite a few of those moments. However, she didn't seem totally effortless. While I don't think she has the ability to carry a full length, this variation really played to her strengths.
A personal favorite of this performance was Vlada Borodulina. I've been very excited to see her in action, and she certainly did not disappoint! As Roberta said in the Paquita thread, very charming with the use of face/eyes! She was very strong throughout the entire ballet, and between the four friends, she got one of the stronger rounds of applause.
Ionova a surprise as well, though I still don't know how to feel about her. Her port de bras was captivating throughout her variation, however she struggled through the last line of développé-arabesques. Throughout the first act she didn't participate on the sidelines and play her character, she just kind of stood there and watched the whole ballet happen in front of her.
My stance on Nuykina also remains unchanged. She was sloppy in her variation, and lacking in some areas of basic technique.
The children were a highlight, an utter joy to watch. Those lines & the crispness of their movement-- outstanding. They received quite the round of applause at curtain, and even some more at the stagedoor.
The horse and moving trees were also moments I found quite humourous.
But I also agree, the awkward moving of Paquita and Andres around during the prison scene in the silence went on too long and defeated the magic when you could hear sets moving and people backstage.
Also possibly another set timing error-- the roses of Act III didn't come down until much after Paquita's fouettes, when a friend told me who went to the Wednesday show that they came down during her fouettes. Anyone else catch this?
Overrall, while it wasn't the strongest plot-wise, I quite enjoyed it! As someone with an understanding of technique, this show was an utter delight as these are some of the finest dancers in the world. The music was beautiful and I got goosebumps quite a few times in the third act. Costumes (especially those tutus) were stunning, and the Act III set was charming (I found the pink hues and portraits to be unique and complimentary. While not ideal, I've seen worse).
I think one way to describe this ballet is that it is not a ballet I'd recommend as a first time ballet, or for someone who has little ballet knowledge. This isn't Swan Lake or Nutcracker, it's for someone who has a more keen eye for technique and nuance.