Maybe I am being unfair to Matvienko, but I know quite a few Russians who share my point of view, so I also know it's not just me. To clarify one thing, I do believe she's a beautiful dancer -- she has gorgeous legs and a great technique, but I've never seen her emote.
I agree. For example, I've seen Nastya Matvienko's O/O, which in the Maryinsky is the "measure of a female principal," and IMO her's was a boiler plate interpretation, with little characterization. IMO her approach would be better suited to the Bolshoi's Grigorovich production, or Nureyev's POB production. The Mikhailovsky is an excellent company, but on the "larger" stage of the Maryinsky, one has to project quite a bit more than what she's is used to doing. Perhaps with time and more showings her tentative approach will change.
Then again -- at the Mariinsky, I've not seen her dance roles with the dramatic bite to them as you saw, roles such as Giselle or Spartacus. I've seen her in divertissements, (Grand Pas Classique, Don Q Grand Pas), "showpiece" pas de deux, and several times as Gamzatti... but not in the roles you mention. I would be very curious to see her Giselle, specifically, as I think that would be a good measurement for her acting chops. So it may be an issue of exposure, or how she fares on tour...I dont know. (Yes Gamzatti is a dramatic role but I wasn't bowled over...)
Frequent, (or rare) casting at home and on tour has alot to do with how they present themselves onstage; Nastya's no different. It effects dancers either positively (they rise to the challenge), or negatively. She received the high honor of dancing the current season's first "Swan Lake" on Oct 8. This was her first big "test" in this
theatre, not her debut in the role. It was her debut in this
production in this
theatre. She passed, so she may or may not
get more exposure. The Maryinsky management is unpredictable and in many cases unorthodox in their decisions.
I do agree with you that there's no one in the MT now that matches some of ballet's greatest couple partnerships -- Maximova/Vasiliev, and the like.
I agree. However professional and proficient the Matvienkos are, as Maryinsky "outsiders" they aren't as revered as the Sergeyev/Dudinskaya, Kolpakova/Semyonov and Asylmuratova/Zaklinsky partnerships. Furthermore, as "outsiders" they probably won't be. Denis left for the Bolshoi, and now he's come back with a wife in tow. They've given her a spot among the 1st soloists - a demotion but still a coveted spot. It's unspoken by those on the inside looking in, but the dancers know who has and has not
worked their way up through the ranks. In some glaring cases there are names, such as Osmolkina, Dumchenko, and Zhelonkina who have vegetated as 1sts for years
. Loyalty means alot to the Maryinsky management. Kostya Sergeyev and Natalya Dudinskaya were the first couple of Soviet ballet in late 40s and 50s, but the advent of Maximova and Vasiliev eclipsed them all. As great as these three Kirov-Maryinsky partnerships were, they were by no means as famous, as decorated or as prolific as Katya and Volodya's partnership.