Thanks Catherine, Cassandra and NataliaN for all your insights! The Financial Times' bio on Peter Aspden states the following:
Peter Aspden is the Financial Times’ arts writer, having previously been its arts editor for five years. He joined the paper in 1994, as deputy books and arts editor and a general feature writer on Weekend FT. He has written on numerous subjects, including travel, religion, politics, history, most art forms and sport: he covered the Olympic Games in Atlanta in 1996, and the World Cup in France in 1998.
He was born in London in 1958, but spent much of his childhood in Greece, where his mother was born. He was educated at St Edmund Hall, Oxford, where he read Philosophy, Politics and Economics, before going into journalism. He joined the Times Higher Education Supplement in 1985, where he went on to become deputy editor.
He has been writing a weekly column on contemporary culture since January 2004; it appears in the Life & Arts section every Saturday. - -
1. I stand corrected re my suspicions on the true idenity of this journalist.
However, my criticism of the person to whom I referred still applies, (and he knows who he is).
2. I was correct in my suspicion that Mr. Apsden was no relevant journalistic authority, nor expert re classical ballet, dance in general, Russian classical ballet in particular, or the Maryinsky Ballet specifically.
I'm not a journalist, nor authority, nor do I purport to be such. I am a staunch balletomane who loves
this company and it's tradition. I've watched and followed it closely for over 25 years - before Aspden became a journalist. He, however, is paid to at least know his subject and research it before
he writes about it. That's not the case here, as evidenced by his ham-fisted, thrown together article.
Catherine, I'd also like to add to your points that classical ballet doesn't fall under the category of "contemporary culture," as in "Britain's Got Talent," "How do you solve a problem like Maria," "So You Think You Can Dance" "Jon & Kate" reality t.v., or gossip/entertainment "news" shows. That's how Aspden approached the subjects of the Maryinsky Ballet and Alina Somova.
3. I'm astonished that the Financial Times allowed this "weekend" columnist and former Arts editor to publish such trivial nonsense - espeically in the wake of Crisp's astute and perceptive critique of the main subject - namely, Somova's tragi-comical opening night "Juliet."
4. I now wholeheartedly co-sign the belief that this was
a damage control "review" designed to counter-punch the other London critics - (including Crisp), for Somova's sake.
The London critics and the London audience don't need to be lectured on what is "star" quality, what constitutes it or who has it. Nor should they be reprimanded or scolded for telling the truth, or voting with their feet. Was it "commissioned" or not? Draw your own conclusions. Whatever the truth is, it's an extremely weak counter-punch; and what's more it's the only
one out there. Aspden's article doesn't change facts.