The Mariinsky Casting Gods would not be THAT audacious, would they, Cygne? Do they not read reviews (pros or fans) about Somova?
Unfortunately, I think that the Mariinsky Casting Gods
will continue to give her top billing, more and more and more. In fact, at this rate, I predict they will promote her to Principal Dancer within 1 - 2 years. And that will only compound this egregious mistake. There is a consensus out there. If they read the reviews, they're ignoring them. **(More on this point below).
I can think of one -- only one -- 'internet fanatic' who has given Somova good reviews using multiple names but same writing style replete with smiley faces...but, other than that, anybody?
I'm willing to give people 2nd and 3rd chances, over time. Maybe Ms Somova has matured in her ways, learned to tame the wild legs, gained a musical ear, learned to control the jutting out of the chin, etc? I await her transformation, whenever that may happen. Maybe a miracle happened during the summer?
I'm willing to give anyone the benefit of the doubt. BUT exactly where should the knowledgeable, paying public draw the line? Surely, Sept 18's latest O/O attempt must have been (at least) #12 for her (perhaps more - who know's)?
The Swan Lake performance was the first night of the new season and was danced by Somova who my friend was seeing for the first time. She says "the audience that night was mostly tourists. Nobody knew a thing about ballet" and she described Somova's performance as "horrible".
Cassandra's friend's eyewitness report from last week just magnifies this insanity. One would think that at this stage Somova's been given O/O enough times, so far, to be classified better than "horrible" at this point.
It's been almost a year since Boston and Ottawa. They promoted her to second soloist this past Spring. What can we say about that, and the performance she gave on Sept 18? How do we deal with that?
This was the first "Swan Lake" of the new season, not a matinee
at the end of the year. At the Maryinsky, the traditional first "Swan Lake" of the year is supposed to set the tone for the new season. At the very least, Somova had the opportunity to set the tone for her upcoming performances in this new year. What message is she sending to the
Maryinsky faithful? What do they have to look forward to from her this year? The management gave her this opening night. If "Swan Lake" would have opened the ballet season last week, instead of "Romeo & Juliet" (with Vishneva), Somova *(most likely) would have been center stage. Think about that for a minute.
**Reportedly, to date she hasn't improved. When I say 'reportedly,' I'm talking about legitimate
reports - reviews by respected and knowledgeable dance critics
- not reporters who were assigned to cover the ballet and came from the op. ed. or sports division of a newspaper, and wouldn't know a plie from a bourree. I'd also like to add the legitimate
reports, of professional dancers, knowledgeable lay-people and conoisseurs who know
classical ballet, and understand
what is going on onstage.
For example, her July debut as Kitri, in the wake of Osipova's triumphs in London this summer, was pure comedy in the embarrassing
sense. As for a miracle happening this summer, ironically,
, I practically posted those very same words in summer 2005 in BT before
she made her debut as Aurora that Fall in Los Angeles. I was hoping against hope that perhaps she was ready for prime time in this, the most academic and classical of all classical roles. I've seen her "Aurora," and it wasn't her debut performance, and whenever I think of it I still have withdrawals. Now, I won't itemize my viewing resume of her repertoire here, but her Aurora (?) > I counted at least
14 mistakes in the Rose Adage alone
Pleasant transformations can happen.
I agree - and in her case we wait. But while we wait, what is happening in the company? Deserving and superior dancers are either voting with their feet (i.e. leaving the Mariinsky), or languishing in obscurity due to her meteoric rise. Worse, audiences worldwide who have never experienced the true Maryinsky/Petersburg style, will see Somova, and erroneously conclude that they've seen & experienced a legitimate exponent
and purveyor of the Vaganova/Petersburg School.
The $ 1 Trillion question is are we waiting in vain? Who can know the future? I wish I could read the Artistic Director's mind re her. What do they see in her? It hasn't manifested (yet).
For example, I was no admirer of Svetlana Zakharova for a long time but I have become a fan since the recent London Bolshoi season, where she's displayed a new softness, musicality, lifting legs above the ears only when appropriate. But that took 8 years to achieve, with her new Bolshoi coach, Semenyaka. Even at her worst , in her debut season at the Mariinsky in 96/97, Zakharova was never as grotesque or unmusical as was Somova in 06/07, HER fourth season.
I agree with you re Zakharova. Even in her early years, it couldn't
be said that she wasn't professional or without technique. Her first coach was Moiseyeva, and Semenyaka has done some wonderful fine tuning with her. She has the double blessing of two illustrious mentors.
Zakharova has benefitted greatly from her move, in that she's in a company that's riding the crest of popularity right now; the Bolshoi has fought hard for their resurgent success. Zakharova has certainly played
a key role here bringing that about. She works under a visionary
Artistic Director, who is himself a noted choreographer
. Moreover, Ratmansky is a leader who knows how to cultivate promising dancers, and he doesn't "file" his experienced dancers away. He believes in hierarchy and emploi. He's an AD who immediately plugs and engages international choreographic talent when he finds it. IMO, the Mariinsky Ballet doesn't have that
kind of leadership right now.
Natural talent is obviously 9/10 of the battle. Somova is being promoted as the new ideal, and for whatever reason, whether prepared effectively or not
, she does what she chooses onstage. The management subjects us to this and that's where it stands now.