Kate makes some interesting points, most of which I agree with; it strikes me as strange that a move to a company led by Nacho Duarto appears attractive – until you look at the almost limitless resources of the company’s backer. Sarafanov was inexplicably lured to the Mikhailovsky from the Kirov very recently, so maybe a pattern is emerging. There are roles within the Mikhailovsky that would suit this couple though, in fact the excellent revival of Laurencia by Mikhail Messerer springs to mind were it not for the fact that Duato is rumoured to have shelved it.
As to the calibre of these two dancers it is Osipova who is the real deal as for my taste the intrinsic refinement that is the bedrock of classical ballet is missing from Ivan Vasiliev’s dancing. I am told his coach in Moscow was Yuri Vladimirov, a dancer never noted for subtlety and as the often overpowering athleticism of I.V.’s dancing is unlikely to be toned down by that particular coach, a change of environment could prove beneficial.
One has to wonder if Vasiliev saw Hallberg's arrival as one more potential limiting factor in terms of his repertory - and competition for dancing opposite Osipova.
That is also likely to be a factor as there was an assumption that Osipova’s partnership with Hallberg at ABT would continue in Moscow. Not having seen that particular pairing I’m not in a position to comment, but I remember many years ago the highly successful pairing of Asylmuratova and Ruzimatov came to an end when Asylmuratova chose to dance with her less talented husband instead, leaving the ballet world considerably poorer by that decision.
Internal Bolshoi politics no doubt play a part too, with first performances inevitably going to the politically powerful but artistically lacking Zakharova, leaving the two genuine luminaries Osipova and Alexandrova looking like also-rans. The Bolshoi has a new directorship as well and all may not be well in that area, as some alarming rumours have already emerged that cast the new director in a less than favourable light.
Do we have some Russian speakers out there able to tell us what the mood is on the Russian websites?