Natalia

Kirov's AD, Vaziyev, to resign?

49 posts in this topic

Perhaps we could get this topic back on track? :)

So it appears, according to today's NYTimes -- as per the March 28 '08 Links forum -- that Vaziyev is still waffling and may very well leave after the current season. So the cheer-leaders at the post-festival party last Sunday may be groaning in a month or two? Awwwwww...the emotion of it all!

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The verb Baryshnichat means to profiteer, usually in horsedealing. A person who does it is a Baryshnik. Ov (or ev) at the end means, son of. Nureyev is son-of-Nuré or Nuri, a Russified Turkish name meaning 'light, or pale'. http://mirslovarei.com (in Russian) has a comprehensive list. Vaziev is not in the list, but I suppose that it might be a Turkic version of Vasiliev (Basil = king) type names, such as son-of-the king. Makhar means blessed. But Valery means strong. Tsiskaridze is Georgian, and derives from 'Tsiskari', a very old Georgian name meaning dawn. One of Balanchine's nephews is apparently a ballet dancer called Tsiskara Balanchivadze. See http://www.opentext.ge/art/BALANCH.HTM

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Sounds like the issue is more one of "when" rather than "how."

According to the Times,

The Kirov’s director, Makhar Vaziev, has given conflicting signals about whether he was leaving the company, saying as recently as Wednesday night that he was retiring, said Sergei Danilian, the company’s promoter in New York. “One day he’s in; one day he’s out,†Mr. Danilian said. The Maryinsky’s overall director, the conductor Valery Gergiev, said in an interview that he fully expected to Mr. Vaziev to come to New York. He acknowledged Mr. Vaziev was “not totally happy,†and he said Mr. Vaziev told him he would discuss retiring this summer, once the busy Kirov season is over.

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I saw the NY Times article and have to say, I was perplexed! Why make that announcement at the Astoria and then contradict it less than a week later? (It is strange tomorrow will be one week, it seems like it was a month ago already!)

I can only interpret this to mean he is still serious about leaving and I suppose the Astoria announcement was made in order to ease immediate concerns (ie. they will have a director on the NY tour). Actually (as is very common in mass media today) the article does not say he is NOT coming to NYC and I did see his name on the flight lists (which left today, the 29th). It is clear he is not happy and has not been happy for some time, and the reasons for that unhappiness inside the MT are not changing, erego he wants to make a change and do something about it (ie leave). I personally would presume not to see him this fall, but it will be a lot of back and forth until we hit that point. I cannot see him truly leaving before the season ends though. Just intuition. And to his credit, I suppose, he is sticking to the initial plan -- therefore the zayavlenie, in essence, holds, and the date is TBD.

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An article in a St Petersburg weekly GOROD on April 7th about the Kirov/Vaziev turmoil is strongly critical of Valeriy Gergiev, the conductor and theatre's overall artistic chief. Irina Gubskaya writes that it is not at all clear that the ballerina Ul'yana Lopatkina has the company's support as the next ballet artitic director, as when she was officially designated "director" of the American tour -- with the prospect of "the company directorship" in due course -- it aroused an "indignant flurry" or "upset" inside the company. This was said to be why the dancers were so noticeably relieved on the eve of the tour that Vaziev was announced as still in position. This turmoil has been reignited since, in America, as Gergiev "urgently" called up Igor Zelensky to dance in the US, abandoning his planned performances in the Mikhailovski theatre in St Petersburg. This is seen as indicating favour for Zelensky as Kirov company leader and currying favour with American audiences. The absence of Vaziev when the company arrived in the US is said to have astonished the producer Sergey Danilian, who would have been expected to know all about it, but didn't.

M eanwhile, Gergiev's pronouncements on the ballet's general aspect have unearthed that he dislikes Forsythe ballets being done in the Kirov, thinking that they are "not of our tradition", and he also disapproves of several recent new productions there. (It isn't stated whether this includes the "reconstructions") . He has lately shown interest in Yuriy Grigorovich, but the writer comments with heavy irony that apparently Maestro doesn't know about the existence of "foreign" classical ballet, such as Bournonville.

She also remarks that if Gergiev is now making blanket criticisms of the ballet policy -- which she says he did also in America, 5 years ago -- he himself is accounted as the policy's author, being the theatre's artistic director and in part the ballet's artistic director, a policy which Vaziev has only carried out for him since he himself has always been denied the title and job of artistic leader. The policy is: Petipa, Balanchine, leading contemporary ballet choreographers, and a smattering of Russians (yet not so far any interest in earlier "golden age" Soviet choreographers). If Gergiev disapproves of this, says the writer, he has made no alternative proposals. However Gergiev has mentioned that he longed, from childhood, to see a ballet based on 'The Tsar's Bride', has talked with Alexey Ratmansky about new productions, and he has, to give him his due, recalled some older stars of recent times, eg Makhalina, to pass on their experience.

For Vaziev the writer has a lot of sympathy. She says that all mistakes will be put down to his account, including of course Gergiev's -- since "Gergiev can hardly be wrong".

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Gergiev's pronouncements on the ballet's general aspect have unearthed that he dislikes Forsythe ballets being done in the Kirov

I dislike Forsythe ballets being done by any classical company. I think I'm beginning to warm to Maestro Gergiev.

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Thanks once again, delibes, for that very illuminating translation.

This turmoil has been reignited since, in America, as Gergiev "urgently" called up Igor Zelensky to dance in the US, abandoning his planned performances in the Mikhailovski theatre in St Petersburg. This is seen as indicating favour for Zelensky as Kirov company leader and currying favour with American audiences.
It would be interesting to know what this is all about, especially given Gergiev's position with, and ocmmitment to, the Metropolitan Opera.
She also remarks that if Gergiev is now making blanket criticisms of the ballet policy
Is this a new stance on Geregiev's part? Based on what I've read here on Ballet Talk, I had the impression that he was not terribly interested in the ballet portion of the Maryinsky.
For Vaziev the writer has a lot of sympathy. She says that all mistakes will be put down to his account, including of course Gergiev's -- since "Gergiev can hardly be wrong".
Ah ... Gergiev joins the club of other powerful chief executives (going back to Caesar at least) of whom this can had has been said. :clapping:

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delibes, do you have the link to the Gorod article? I'd like to read the complete version in Russian if possible.

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Catherine, sorry to be so long to check in. I found it through a link to another Russian article and when I copied the text for translation I didn't keep the full link. If you use this link to the Gorod site and search in the Kultura section you could find it. http://www.gorod-spb.ru/index.php

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Thanks delibes. Someone sent me the full link (it too reverted to the index page; the second copy/paste succeeded though). Anyway it is largely speculation and rehashing of everything Gergiev *already* said in the initial ITAR TASS article that was picked up by the New York Times.

It says Zelensky left an engagement at the Mikhailovsky to join this tour. But as drb pointed out, Zelensky was booked already on the NYC tour months ago (was he not)? This is just more Russian double casting confusion in my book and doesn't really relate to Vasiev's departure in any way. Dancing abroad is not directing a company abroad (MHO).

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...Zelensky was booked already on the NYC tour months ago (was he not)? ....

Oh but he was not, Catherine. Kolb was to have danced Scheherazade with Vishneva on that Sunday afternoon. I know some Kolb fans who traveled from Japan to the USA specifically to see Kolb w/ Vishneva, who were extremely disappointed to get Zelensky -- not looking his greatest at age 40ish -- instead.

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...Zelensky was booked already on the NYC tour months ago (was he not)? ....

Oh but he was not, Catherine. Kolb was to have danced Scheherazade with Vishneva on that Sunday afternoon. I know some Kolb fans who traveled from Japan to the USA specifically to see Kolb w/ Vishneva, who were extremely disappointed to get Zelensky -- not looking his greatest at age 40ish -- instead.

Yes, Ardani did not list Zelensky, but he was to perform: the Sunday, April 6th performance was a Gala for the White Nights Foundation of America, who sent out the following information last October to sell Gala tickets.

(Subsequently I understand a blessed event prevented Ms. Pavlenko from performing.) This was posted on the Kirov Ballet at City Center thread at the time:

Oct 30 2007, 09:44 PM

Post #69

Today a brochure from the White Nights Foundation of America arrived. It turns out that the Sunday, April 6 performance is to be a Gala. Following the 3 PM performance, there is to be a cocktail reception followed by a seated dinner with the Artists, at the NYCC Atrium. Valery Gergiev is slated to conduct Scheherazade.

According to the brochure, Igor Zelensky and Daria Pavlenko are to be among the dancers during the City Center season, but no specific dancers are mentioned for the Gala performance. The document is not dated, so it might well pre-date Ardani's casting, or may not. In a way, perhaps a cautionary note regarding reliability of Mariinsky casting.

The organization's phone number is 212-757-9632 and they give their website as www.wnfa.org

The event is very expensive; the organization is headed by former Pepsi Chair and Goodwill Ambasador for Presidents Nixon and Bush pere, Donald M. Kendall.

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Who got that brochure, drb? How would Kolb's fans in Japan know this, for example?

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Who got that brochure, drb? How would Kolb's fans in Japan know this, for example?

One was sent to me. I am not a member and do not know why (I had purchased some tickets well before October: could they have obtained a list of such people from City Center?). I was motivated to then buy tickets (upstairs) for that performance, just on the hunch I might get to see Zelensky. I was not disappointed in his performance. Even the updated casting list that's been available in the outer lobby since the season began made no mention of Kolb's replacement.

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Even the updated casting list that's been available in the outer lobby since the season began . . .

============---------------:: screeching brakes :: >>>>>>>

Wow! I'm always in such a hurry to get out of that crowded anteroom that hadn't even noticed that there was one! :blink: Thanks, drb!

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Russian papers report that Makhar Vaziev is out and is succeeded as company manager by ballet master Yuri Fateyev.

Interview with Valery Gergiev about the matter in Rossiskaya Gazeta and article in Kommersant.

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Russian papers report that Makhar Vaziev is out and is succeeded as company manager by ballet master Yuri Fateyev.

Interview with Valery Gergiev about the matter in Rossiskaya Gazeta and article in Kommersant.

The issue with Vaziev reminded me too much of what happens with a head coach or manager of a professional sports team at the end of a poor sports season. :)

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Gergiev's interview in Rossiskaya Gazeta, June 4:

Headline: Crisis in choreography: Yuri Fateev will lead the Mariinsky ballet.

An introduction outlines the on-off saga of Vaziev offering his resignation in March but it not being ratified, his non-appearance in the US tour, and Fateev's being deputed to lead that. It says that Gergiev has been reconsidering the ballet management, and Vaziev "undoubtedly" hoped that there might be a last-ditch offer to recognize by retitling him "artistic director" his sterling work in overhauling the Kirov's repertoire and world ranking, through adding mastery of 20th and 21st-century styles, Balanchine and Forsythe, as well as the 19th century reconstructions of academic classicism to their core repertoire.

In the interview itself, Gergiev was first asked why the Vaziev problem had dragged out for two months.

Gergiev: There was no problem whatever. Our company's manager gave notice of his leaving, perhaps under pressure from some nervous overload or tiredness, since recently he was not giving his all. We had these big spring tours to New York, Britain, and performances in Moscow. I gave Vaziev time for thought, but on the other hand the theatre is no place for wavering to and fro: yes, I will, no I won't, yes I want to, no I don't want to. Why upset the collective before an important tour in New York? That is what you might expect of an inexperienced or unwise director. Of course I also had to consider whether in principle the structure of the ballet directorship was right in our theatre. This structure appeared in years of heavy crisis and perhaps has by now run its course. It's in relation to that history that people spoke of some crisis or other in the Mariinsky. But there is not the slightest crisis. No one blames Vaziev because Russia has produced no brilliant choreographers of the middle or younger generations. We noted Ratmansky at that time, when indeed, no one else knew of him; he was a 27yo dancer in Denmark. The choreographic crisis is not a Mariinsky problem, but a general one. As regards the structure and organisation of work in the Mariinsky ballet company, with such an evident problem with finding a leading choreographer, I had to consider the best possible formula which would allow us to guard the highest standards of the company and also create new productions.

Q: Resulting from your reflections, what have you decided to keep of old? Or are you now going to operate in line with Western troupes- Covent Garden, Paris, La Scala, where in general there isn't an artistic leader, but just a ballet director [in Russian they have several ways of differentiating the top job; what we call artistic director in a ballet company is usually called "chief balletmaster" acknowldging an essential choreographic core to the job, while leaving the administrative job to the "ballet director" or company manager, which is what Vaziev is. By reverse, in English "balletmaster" means classroom coach, not as important even as the company manager. The term "artistic director" in Russian seems currently to be applied only to Gergiev, as the overall strategic artistic chief of the theatre]

A: In our theatre the structure of ballet directorship has continually altered under the influence of circumstance. In Soviet times when the chief balletmaster was Igor Belsky or Konstantin Sergeev, or Oleg Vinogradov, their superiority over everyone else was obvious, like that of Yuri Grigorovich in the Bolshoi Theatre. Productions were seen as landmark events. And in those days there was a clarity of style. I remember how people argued whether to allow Vinogradov into the Kirov, because he was from Malegot [Maly Ballet, or Mikhailovsky] and had no connection at all with the Kirov. Now it's all changed, but in a great country there is hardly one choreographer apart from Ratmansky of whom one can seriously talk as an artistic leader. To whom in reality can one entrust a company like the Mariinsky?

Q: How did Yuri Fateev figure, given your assessment of this situation?

A: Yuri Fateev is our balletmaster-repetiteur, knows the company exceptionally well and has worked in this theatre all his life, so he is a predictable person. Imagine, you are on tour, you have 200 people. They must know what they're rehearsing tomorrow. It was said that the company manager had given notice; peple kept asking me about why I had not signed off Vaziev's declaration. I say: please, let the man work. No, Vaziev doesn't want to work. I say, okay, let him write me a two-page assessment of the situation. It doesn't come. He is a complex character: makes things hard with Uliyana Lopatkina, who is a world-class artist, and has problems with Diana Vishnëva. There were also more difficulties than was necessary with Svetlana Zakharova, which is why she left. Why must we lose our best people? Why don't I have issues with Vladimir Galuzin even though he's an outstanding singer? Because I know he is a great artist. I need everybody, Olga Borodina, Anna Netrebko, Larisa Dyadkova, Galuzin. Therefore for entirely pragmatic reasons I decided to look for a person who can construct precise working processes and normal relationships: which people will rehearse, which ones perform, when technicians will be needed, or orchestral rehearsals. Apart from that, there's a need to support the younger ones. I say frankly that in two days of talks with Fateev that I got more firm grounds for action than in the past three to five years working with Vaziev. I never intended and I don't intend now to drive anyone out or remove them. I simply want that our chief should occupy himself calmly and steadily with the company, without shouting and fuss: rehearse, put up the casts. So I don't suddenly discover that our artists are running off to dance at the Mikhailovsky theatre. And if suddenly I should sound out Ratmansky about the job of chief guest choreographer, he should know he would encounter no organisational difficulties here, and concern himself entirely with creativity. Yuri Fateev can fix this kind of thing.

Yuri Fateev CV: Born Aug 21 1964 Leningrad. Graduated Leningrad's Vaganova Academy. 1982 taking into the Kirov ballet. Appeared on stage up until 2003. As coach prepared productions by Balanchine, Roland Petit, John Neumeier, at the Kirov. Has taught at the Royal Swedish Ballet, Pacific North-West Ballet, where he staged the Mariinsky productions of 'Raymonda' and 'Le Corsair'. Assisted in the staging of 'Le Corsaire' at the Royal Danish Ballet.

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I'll add my thanks! A very interesting interview indeed. Gergiev's assessment of the talent worldwide is especially interesting -- and, I believe, quite apt. Who indeed is there today, except perhaps for Ratmansky, who is so far above the rest that s/he should be leader? (Wait! That is a rhetorical question, not intended to invite nominations and divert the thread to other companies :) )

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What is intriguing here is that all previous reports said that Gergiev wanted Vaziyev out but that Vaziyev was determined to stay. Here Gergiev is indicating that the desire to leave came from Vaziyev but that he started waffling and wavering putting off a final decision. Gergiev also is suggesting that Vaziyev was derelict from his professional responsibilities with the company. The earlier reports were that he was removed from the tour and Fateev put in charge.

Clearly we have Rashomon here. Gergiev doesn't want to be charged with pushing Vaziyev out. Clearly Fateev is a transitional figure who will clean house getting all the ducks in a row until a real artistic director such as say, Ratmansky (who clearly Gergiev wants but who doesn't want that job again) comes in to lead the Mariinsky.

Very interesting spin on the events. I suspect Vaziyev has a very different take on the situation.

Meanwhile, I think getting rid of Vaziyev is defensible and even more so, his wife Chenchikova as coach who is responsible for Alina Somova among other things. Hopefully some of the old guard will be invited back like Osipenko, Kolpakova and Terekhova to bring back the old style to the company. Hopefully the corps will get a proper coach to raise them back to their former glory.

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Personally I think this interview is far too biased to be taken serious as a source for the current state of affairs at the Mariinsky. The only reason I linked it was because it was one of the first articles which stated Vaziev's departure as official. But I would be rather careful about the way Maestro Gergiev puts things.

It's interesting for example how he puts up such a negative image of the man he kept in charge for 13 years. Rashomon, you say? I was thinking more in the direction of a biblical Roman character, if comparisons are to be made, while Gogol is not very far either :) Maestro is also frightfully short of memory when he reminds us that he needs everybody and implies he respects his artists - no doubt Gorchakova, Prokina and some others will disagree about that one.

FauxPas, Terekhova has been back as ballet master for several years now and I don't think anybody of the old guard would make much difference in this hornet's nest.

But to be continued....

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Oh my. It sounds like we should have popcorn ready as we watch this drama unfold, Marc?

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