Catherine Pawlick wrote:
Buddy I do agree that Lopatkina sets the standard for Swan Lake these days...
I'd add Kondaurova to the list because the performance just prior to her promotion to principal was unforgettable.
I also agree with you completely about Ekaterina Kondaurova. I've seen her perform Swan Lake twice and she is breathtaking. I waited outside the stage door in London last summer to congratulate her. This is the only time that I've ever done that.
For those who will be in the US in October there will be a wonderful chance to see the Season begin. The castings have been posted for the Mariinsky visit. There will be Swan Lake performances in Costa Mesa and Berkeley, California and performances of Alexei Ratmansky's Cinderella in Washington DC.
I hope to be able to see as many of the Costa Mesa Swan Lakes as possible. The castings look excellent with Ekaterina Kondaurova, Alina Somova, Viktoria Tereshkina, Oxana Skorik and Anastasia Matvienko dancing the female lead as Odette/Odile. ('Ekaterina, Alina, Viktoria, Oxana and especially Anastasia' -- great first names.)
Of these five, four are exceptional in their linear, statuesque presentations. Viktoria Tereshkina, who is perhaps not as 'linear' is also outstanding. Several years ago, after her Act I Odette, I really didn't want to get out of my chair. I was in such a state of reverie.
Alina Somova has some of the most beautiful lines that I've seen. She is exquisite in her positioning and posing. I've only seen Anastasia Matvienko once in Swan Lake, but I would say the same for her appearance in that performance. Ekaterina Kondaurova is also magnificent in this respect.
Oxana Skorik at the most recent Mariinsky Festival was Remarkable(!) in her Act I Odette duet at the last night's Gala. She danced beautifully and there were moments in her interpretation the were Absolutely Spellbinding ! I certainly look forward to seeing her again.
I was also hoping to see Anastasia Kolegova, but she is no longer listed. Those who will be be fortunate enough to be in Berkeley will have the only chance to see Ulyana Lopatkina.
The DC castings for Alexei Ratmansky's Cinderella also look excellent with Alina Somova, Ekaterina Osmolkina and Maria Shirinkina scheduled to dance the lead. I once saw an entire series and its success, for me, was very much dependent on the lead ballerina. Diana Vishneva danced twice and what she did was a Revelation !
I'm still entranced by Alina Somova's performance that can be seen on five internet video clips. She is handsomely partnered by Alexander Sergeyev. I've watched these video clips at least once a day, almost everyday, for about a month. I could write a book about them. One of the things that most impresses me for the moment is the way that Alina Somova's upper body just floats like a cloud no matter what her feet and legs are performing. I've read that this is an important characteristic in Frederick Aston's choreography. The footwork is very animated, while the upper body remains very 'balletic'. I'll try to pay more attention to this if I can see more of his works. This also seems very true of Alexei Ratmansky's Cinderella. There is a wonderful balance between highly animated (sometimes almost quirky) motion and exceptional gracefulness. I've also noticed how well Alina Somova can do this in other works. In Cinderella she accomplishes it all magnificently with such delightful charm and heartfulness.
(While checking my spelling of my idea of "Heartfulness" I found this definition at Wikipedia and have to share it. Stand back !
"Heartfulness is a calm awareness of one's bodies feelings, the vibration of consciousness,The united sounding of the sacred word or conscious feeling itself. i.e. compassionate mindfulness.
It can be related to the Hindu idea of transcendence, (Not the process of transindental meditation as TM by Brahmananda Saraswati) the process of moving beyond the bodies limitations created by the mind and to connect the body itself directly with the source.)"
Wow ! -- I think that Alina Somova can be great, but this is something ! )
I was also hoping that Daria Pavlenko would appear, but for the moment this is not the case. Interestingly Ekaterina Kondaurova will dance the Stepmother along with Alexandra Iosifidi and Sofia Gumerova. This is a very comical part, as I recall, with probably a lot of technical demand. I remember Alexandra Iosifidi's interpretation (almost ten years ago) and she was delightful. It should be a chance for Ekaterina Kondaurova to spread her wings and show how wonderfully versatile she can be. I'm so used to her now as a 'Statuesque Goddess' that I can forget how great her range is.
Ekaterina Osmolkina and Maria Shirinkina as Cinderella should offer a lovely difference. I tend to think of them as 'Butterflies' along with others like Ekaterina Krysanova (Bolshoi), who in Yuri Posokhov's version of Cinderella set a standard for lighter-than-air, heartwarming expressiveness. They should be a beautifully fairy-like and lovely contrast to Diana Visheva's remarkable and expansive expression from ten years ago and Alina Somova's more statuesque enchantment today.