A 3-for-1 tonight: quick summaries of the last three performances of Swan Lake with Lopatkina, Tereshkina, and Somova. Danila Korsuntsev partnered the first two, while Igor Kolb partnered Somova.
After hearing about her Odette/Odile, I had high hopes for Lopatkina. She didn't disappoint as Odette, with a deep performance and an attack that brought out the animalistic nature of her swan: it was like she could barely contain the energy of herself. With nice long lines, pretty feet, and continuous movement, she really brought this role to life. As Odile, it was a bit different: she stayed at one even level, and seemed generically evil. You knew she was bad news, but you weren't sure why. She had basically one expression: an evil grin. Her partner didn't help much as he was pretty flat and expressionless. He's a beautiful danseur noble, but he doesn't get out of himself much.
Tereshkina I found to be the opposite: an even-keeled, some (me) would say boring, Odette, and a memorable Odile. Dangerous, evil, too smart for everyone's good, and very sexy, she manipulated poor Siegfried to do what she wanted and enjoyed every moment of it. She was a classic villain.
Somova tonight was a mixed bag, unfortunately mostly negative. First the positives: she's young, and she's got really nice feet, good flexibility, and potentially nice legs. Unfortunately, she's a bit weak physically , and this came through in many ways. First of all, what I previously liked as her coltishness was really not appropriate for this role. Flying limbs left and right don't work for either Odette or Odile --- one is a queen not a young princess, and the other is a powerful evil person. Her attacks were inconsistent in quality and generally too manic, and I don't know whether that's due to her still developing physicality or her youth and seeming inexperience. I kept thinking I was watching a little girl doing the choreography.
If I wanted to give her the benefit of the doubt for her white swan, I couldn't for her black swan. There was little characterization, and her physical weakness is just not appropriate for this role, which is supposed to be a very strong woman who knows what she wants and how to get it. She is miscast in this role. She appears to be a natural turner (and of the 3, she was the only one who threw in doubles in her 32 fouettes, which is all but necessary for anyone dancing Odile today), but her fouettes were ugly. U-G-L-Y. I couldn't believe my eyes, because she was committing the same mistake that girls at my local ballet school do: she flicked her gesturing leg in too quickly instead of showing the position in 2nd to the side. This led to a pretty manic-looking set of 32 fouettes bouncing up and down. I have to wonder why she's a soloist. In ensemble pieces, the corps around her as well as the other soloists looked stronger than she did, both in technique and physical strength.
Of the two men, I found Korsuntsev to be pretty flat both nights, but he could perhaps be playing the strong, silent danseur noble. Kolb tonight was far more expressive, and impressive in technique. I especially liked his big jumps, and his very expressive arabesques.
Jesters for both nights were really good. We had Andrei Ivanov and Grigory Popov. Both had good technique, and pulled off many tricks. Both also had good comic timing and expressiveness from the stage. Ivanov was a bit over-the-top and played to the crowd. His turns were just that bit better than Popov. Popov however had that bit more ballon in his jumps. Both were good --- these are nitpicks.
The pas de trois in the beginning has been consistently good, but my favorite set was tonight's: Ekaterina Osmolkina, Irina Golub, and Anton Korsakov. Nice sparkling technique, good ballon from all three, and just really joyous dancing, though I wish Korsakov would smile more than once.
The character dances were handled well, too. And finally the corps: wow. I don't know what more to say than that. They danced together and expressively. I can't get over how big the whole company dances, but somehow there's still a unity of movement and style that doesn't make them look like they're going every which way when people are all trying to dance big. And big doesn't mean just jumps, but every gesture is big and reads very well. The heads and shoulders are turned just a little bit more, their hands will make that extra motion, and they cover just that much more ground. I love how the company uses their eyes, too --- their lines just never stop and never stop moving.
I'm very happy so far, and I'm looking forward to tomorrow's performance with Diana Vishneva and Andrian Fadyeev.