Natalia

Changes at Bolshoi Helm...again!

58 posts in this topic

This is great news for Filin and the Bolshoi :clapping: ! They didn't let the grass grow under their feet filling this post.

Natalia wrote:

Well, I don't think we'll have to worry now about the Moscow public throwing tomatoes at Somova or anyone else affiliated with Mr/Mrs Vaziyev.
This effectively shuts out the Vazievs (and by extension their pupil). What a buzz-kill for them. Makhar Vaziev's La Scala contract expires in 2012.

Mashinka wrote:

" . . . Check out the Russian forums and you’ll discover just how unsavoury the sentiments are and thoughts can sometimes turn into actions, ergo an unwanted director can expect a rough ride. . ."
Anything can happen in Russia re ballet management/administration.

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I'd quote Mashinka's post to reply, but my iPhone won't let me get to the bottom of the post.

While a claque may be the most vociferous and visible part of an audience, it is hardly representative of an audience. Perhaps the question should have been "Would the Moscow claque have allowed a Somova performance to go on interrupted?"

The criticism of dancers, choreographers, and artistic directors here is a lot more polite than on other forums which have different rules, but it can be as stinging. However, the way people criticize behind the relative anonymity of the Internet, and how they behave in public are two very different things.

How many people here would walk up to Alina Somova on the street, in a hotel lobby, or at the stage door and say to her face what they've posted here, using the same language? Or throw something at her in performance or at a curtain call.

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So is Filin's appointment effective immediately? (I think so.) Will he be 'dual head' of the Bolshoi & Stanislavsky for the rest of the season, I wonder? Of course, commitments through the current season are pretty much set into stone but I wonder if Filin could alter some of the plans for next season and the big reopening of the old Bolshoi Theater? Filin is an admirer of Balanchine so I don't see the 'Balanchine's Waltzes' triple bill changing, unless there is a budgetary problem. I also wonder if Filin will effectively be able to stiffle some of the behind-the-scenes power of Grigorovich, who seems to still have a finger in the pie.

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This is pretty exciting :clapping: ...much better news than anticipated. I had assumed the Bolshoi was merely releasing the announcement that there was no replacement yet because of complications with Vasiyev's La Scala contract.

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What I want to know is "Who will replace Filin at Stanislavski?"

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AND Filin is the one who had the great taste and good sense to schedule Yevgenia Obraztsova's debut as Odette/Odile (in a few weeks, at the Stanislavsky). For that alone, I'm cheering for Filin!

Obraztsova as Swan Queen??? Surely, Natalia, you are kidding. Can't imagine a more, hmm... how do I put it politely? Can't think of a dancer who is less suited for the role. Perhaps Filin was looking for a more down to earth, so to say, dancer? In which case, Portman look-alike Osipova is bound to follow as Odette once Sergei warms up in his new role as Bolshoi’s AD.

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And the battle lines are drawn...

I have watched this thread with extreme interest, as I have watched threads regarding the Mariinsky and Somova.

I have not commented thus far, but with the previous slight to Obaztsova I can no longer hold silent. Sergei Filin in inviting Obtaztsova to debut Odette/ Odile was one of the most endearing thing he has done thus far at the Stanislavsky. The misuse of her at the Mariinsky is one of the saddest things I have seen happen there. Having watched Alina's Swan Lake (she is a personal friend, thus I address her as such) on numerous occasions, unfortunately, I have continuously been at a loss. Sure, she has a tall, elongated body, but what else? She is a wonderful girl, and I like her very much in the more neoclassical roles, but I have never understood the idea of promoting her so quickly. I feel it has been a most unagreeable decision to the majority of audiences and critics, and a huge disservice to her. Had she been left to mature slowly, given the right coach, then maybe. But not yet.

Obtaztsova on the otherhand is one of the true jewels at the Mariinsky at the moment. Small, beautiful, and with an artistry that is astonishing, to me she is in the long line of delicate ballerinas such as Makarova, Sizova, Kolpakova etc. To call any one of them unsuited for Odette is ridiculous. Just because a ballerina does not fit into the current 'trend' does not make one unsuited for a role. Look at the rehearsal video. I have several friends, ex-professional dancers like myself, who have been waiting for her to have a chance at this role in particular. Filin was very smart to bring her to the Stanislavsky and to give her opportunities her parent company, for some reason, continue to deny her. She has a huge following of not only fans, but of ballet critics who adore her. The clean, pure technique she exhibits is a breath of fresh air.

And to the subject at hand, I am so happy for Sergei Filin. He is a most deserving candidate for the job. And it could not have happened to a nicer man!

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I am still a little puzzled at Burlaka's departure--I just reread the opening of thread and Natalia's original report said that it was his wish. But that report took a long time to come to fruition and did so amidst the stickier situation the company faces now.

The company I saw in London this past summer was simply brilliant and I was not alone in that opinion. And the recent scandal did not have anything to do directly with Burlaka. So I continue to be a little puzzled. If this was his wish, then has he anywhere given his reasons? If not, then what about his directing--say, his repertory/casting choices or personal leadership of the company, or relationships to the higher-ups--made it impossible for him to be 'allowed' to continue?

Yanin: one of the finest character dancers I have ever seen; Osipova and he together in Act II of Coppelia will go down among my all time ballet-going highlights. Plus he must get some credit along with Burlaka for the marvelous state of the company I saw. So...as far as the 'scandal' part of this goes, I can't help myself in either direction: I'm kind of curious and kind of would prefer not to know anything.

Filin: I remember as an elegant Romeo to Stepanenko's Juliet in Washington some years ago. Certainly, to an outsider he sounds like a promising choice...

(Angelique: I realize you were making a joke of sorts, but still...Osipova looks nothing like Natalie Portman...)

Edited by Drew

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If this was his wish, then has he anywhere given his reasons? If not, then what about his directing--say, his repertory/casting choices or personal leadership of the company, or relationships to the higher-ups--made it impossible for him to be 'allowed' to continue?

Drew, if we base our conclusions on Russia’s official press, former Artistic Director Burlaka wants to devote himself to what he loves most – restoring old ballets.

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Drew, a lot has to do with the backstage power of Grigorovich (and Grigorovich supporters doing his dirty work), I suspect. Burlaka was hoping to reconstruct the ca-1899 Sleeping Beauty (Gorsky's version, after Petipa) for next October's grand reopening of the main Bolshoi Theater but, instead, the existing Grigorovich version will be presented.

I agree that Yanin was (is) a wonderful character dancer! Not to belittle the alleged doings that got him booted out but, as many of you know, Russia is a place where sabotage and blackmailing are rampant. I would not be surprised if the photos were photo-shopped. Also, sadly, Russia remains a country full of 'homophobia' (homosexuality was crime until mid-1990s) and the nature of these photos played to these feelings. Altogether a very sad episode because Gennady Yanin is a spectacular artist. One would hope that he will be able to find employment outside Russia soon.

As I've said before: Connect the dots to arrive at the truth.

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This effectively shuts out the Vazievs (and by extension their pupil). What a buzz-kill for them. Makhar Vaziev's La Scala contract expires in 2012.

Not sure where the above logic leads, but as it is, the position of Artistic Director of the Bolshoi had been offered to Makher Vaziev first and foremost, fact which *was widely reported in mainstream press. Kudos to Mr. Vaziev for having put professional ethics first most and not breaking the contract with one of Europe's leading cultural institutions in the middle of the run.

Please view actual quotes here.

*Edited to replace "press release" with "mainstream press" and added link to the quotations from the press.

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Obraztsova as Swan Queen??? Surely, Natalia, you are kidding. Can't imagine a more, hmm... how do I put it politely? Can't think of a dancer who is less suited for the role. Perhaps Filin was looking for a more down to earth, so to say, dancer? In which case, Portman look-alike Osipova is bound to follow as Odette once Sergei warms up in his new role as Bolshoi’s AD.

I find it astonishing that neither Obraztsova nor Osipova has yet danced Odette/Odile. They are two of Russia's best and I thought everyone was awaiting their debuts with baited breath.

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..... the position of Artistic Director of the Bolshoi had been offered to Makher Vaziev first and foremost, fact which is supported by numerous press releases of the day. ....

What "numerous' press releases? The one (1) that you pointed out 'BOLSHOIGATE 2011" forum? One is hardly "numerous." :toot:

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Are there any official press releases from the Bolshoi that announced Vaziev as head of the Bolshoi? If there were, I would expect them to be on the Bolshoi website and widely reported in the legitimate press, including press in Europe and NA.

Links to these press releases from mainstream press or official company websites, please. Fan sites are not official sources.

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Are there any official press releases from the Bolshoi that announced Vaziev as head of the Bolshoi? ....

None whatsoever. I believe that Angelique was using the words 'press releases' in a more general sense, to cover a statement in the press (an article in a newspaper) rather than formal press releases from the Bolshoi, so I continued her train of thought on 'press releases' but, no, there were none. The only formal press release appeared when Filin was named. :thumbsup:

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This effectively shuts out the Vazievs (and by extension their pupil). What a buzz-kill for them. Makhar Vaziev's La Scala contract expires in 2012.

Not sure where the above logic leads, but as it is, the position of Artistic Director of the Bolshoi had been offered to Makher Vaziev first and foremost, fact which is supported by numerous press releases of the day. Kudos to Mr. Vaziev for having put professional ethics first most and not breaking the contract with one of Europe's leading cultural institutions in the middle of the run.

Well let's see if this "scans" for you. There's was only one press release confirming Filin as the successor. The others namely Moscow Times and Kommersant et.al. were speculative as to who might be chosen. It is a fact that Vaziev's contract in Milan ends in 2012. La Scala isn't really chomping at the bit to keep him; not after December's Somova Lake Fest, or his mis-handling of the MacMillan production of "Romeo & Juliet" last year. His "leadership" was so outrageous, that MacMillan's widow, Lady Deborah MacMillan almost pulled it because of his ineptitude as well as his inability to deal with the theatre's unions. Vaziev is the kind of man who would save face publicly by saying (and this isn't sourgrapes), "I have the other commitment; ergo I didn't really want it in the first place." The Bolshoi didn't want pay for play, (pay for performance), a practice that was started by Vaziev and has been perpetuated by his successor Fateev. After the Volochkova Era, and this recent bro-ha-ha the Bolshoi didn't want to go down that road, because that's precisely what they would have gotten if they had chosen him.

*Edited by Cygnet to remove hearsay.

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Links to these press releases from mainstream press or official company websites, please. Fan sites are not official sources.

With pleasure:

Генеральный директор Большого театра Анатолий Иксанов на прошлой неделе заявил, что из множества кандидатов на должность он отдает предпочтение Махару Вазиеву. И это было предсказуемо: его репутация балетного интенданта безусловна благодаря 13-летней успешной деятельности в Мариинском театре. Но нынешний контракт Вазиева с театром Ла Скала действует до второй половины 2012 года, и он решил его не прерывать.

http://www.rg.ru/2011/03/18/filin-site.html

... A very reputable publication, I might add. There are other, of course.

Now this:

His "leadership" was so outrageous, that MacMillan's widow, Lady Deborah MacMillan almost pulled it because of his ineptitude as well as his inability to deal with the theatre's unions.

Sorry to be so dense, but why on earth Deborah MacMillan who resides in GB if I am not mistaken cares about union situation in Italy?

Quite simply, the Bolshoi turned Vaziev's wish-list down. He wanted to bring himself, his wife and Somova with him, in addition to the not yet Vaganova graduated little sister (Alexandra Somova) as a coryphee by-passing the Bolshoi corps.

Cygnet, will you kindly substantiate the above claims with relevant links, thus satisfying "no gossip" rule of the board? Will be very much obliged.

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Links to these press releases from mainstream press or official company websites, please. Fan sites are not official sources.

With pleasure.

Генеральный директор Большого театра Анатолий Иксанов на прошлой неделе заявил, что из множества кандидатов на должность он отдает предпочтение Махару Вазиеву. И это было предсказуемо: его репутация балетного интенданта безусловна благодаря 13-летней успешной деятельности в Мариинском театре. Но нынешний контракт Вазиева с театром Ла Скала действует до второй половины 2012 года, и он решил его не прерывать.

http://www.rg.ru/2011/03/18/filin-site.html

... A very reputable publication, I might add. There are others, of course.

Now this:

His "leadership" was so outrageous, that MacMillan's widow, Lady Deborah MacMillan almost pulled it because of his ineptitude as well as his inability to deal with the theatre's unions.

Sorry to be so dense, but why on earth Deborah MacMillan who resides in GB if I am not mistaken cares about union situation in Italy?

Quite simply, the Bolshoi turned Vaziev's wish-list down. He wanted to bring himself, his wife and Somova with him, in addition to the not yet Vaganova graduated little sister (Alexandra Somova) as a coryphee by-passing the Bolshoi corps.

Cygnet, will you kindly substantiate the above claims with relevant links, thus satisfying "no gossip" rule of the board? Will be very much obliged.

No it's my pleasure, Angelique. Lady MacMillan "cared" because Italy's union unrest last year greatly effected the new production of "R & J" she went down to Milan to oversee. Lady MacMillan oversees all redactions of her husband's ballets, wherever they're mounted. She owns the license and she can pull it at her discretion. Vaziev was "MIA" through the entire process, especially in addressing her concerns with La Scala's unions. This is just one

reputable source of that entire saga. The publications in Italy were alot more colorful.

http://www.theartsdesk.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=1894:milan-romeo-and-juliet-la-scala&Itemid=29

On your last point, this is from today's Moscow Times which not only confirms (with finality as the city paper Filin's appointment), but also he speaks in his own words his concern about the Bolshoi's image, which I alluded to in my reply.

Iskanov may have desired Vaziev to take the job; but the last word comes from the Kremlin. With the Bolshoi it has

ever been thus. You brought up Vaziev's professional ethics; I clarified exactly what’ "Vaziev Ethics" means to certain Mariinsky principals and soloists whom I know personally. As far as Somova is concerned, Vaziev has always had an agenda. Over the last 7 seasons it's pretty obvious what that agenda is. On the other hand, the truth has no agenda. http://www.themoscowtimes.com/arts_n_ideas/article/bolshoi-theater-gets-new-artistic-director/433381.html

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Thank you, Cignet. This makes a very fascinated reading, However, none of the links offered address the following speculation of yours:

Quite simply, the Bolshoi turned Vaziev's wish-list down. He wanted to bring himself, his wife and Somova with him, in addition to the not yet Vaganova graduated little sister (Alexandra Somova) as a coryphee by-passing the Bolshoi corps.

Surely, one must have a reliable source for making such bold statement, no? Allow me to quote site administrator's own words:

Links to these press releases from mainstream press or official company websites, please. Fan sites are not official sources.

Do "certain Mariinsky principals and soloists whom" one happen to know qualify as such? And if they do, who exactly are these "certain Mariinsky principals and soloists"?

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Are there any official press releases from the Bolshoi that announced Vaziev as head of the Bolshoi? ....


None whatsoever. I believe that Angelique was using the words 'press releases' in a more general sense, to cover a statement in the press (an article in a newspaper) rather than formal press releases from the Bolshoi, so I continued her train of thought on 'press releases' but, no, there were none. The only formal press release appeared when Filin was named. :thumbsup:


To be clear for our members for whom English is not their first language, the single definition of a press release is a stand-alone statement released by or by a surrogate of a company or person, usually to the press, who may print and edit it. It is not a sound bite or part of an interview with company officials or members on a topic.

There may be an unauthorized press release, where someone jumps the gun and releases a spoken or written statement that was not agreed on by the company or person. There may be rogue statements that are made to appear like official press releases, where the medial is fooled. There is no such thing as an "unofficial" press release.

The distinction is important, because Dancer A or Associate Direct B or Arts Official C may have given an interview and/or have been quoted as saying "We wanted to hire Vaziev to run the Bolshoi". This is not a press release. This is a statement to the press.

The rules on Ballet Alert! are similar in both cases: there must be a citation substantiating the assertion. For example a statement like "the position of Artistic Director of the Bolshoi had been offered to Makher Vaziev first and foremost, fact which is supported by numerous press releases of the day [or was widely reported]." must be substantiated by citations to actual press release(s) or press statements. It is fine to say that the official press release/press statement was published in "Newspaper A", "Magazine B", and discussed on TV Station C, and was picked up by numerous other media outlets. "Numerous" alone is unsubstantiated.

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The rules on Ballet Alert! are similar in both cases: there must be a citation substantiating the assertion. For example a statement like "the position of Artistic Director of the Bolshoi had been offered to Makher Vaziev first and foremost, fact which is supported by numerous press releases of the day [or was widely reported]." must be substantiated by citations to actual press release(s) or press statements. It is fine to say that the official press release/press statement was published in "Newspaper A", "Magazine B", and discussed on TV Station C, and was picked up by numerous other media outlets. "Numerous" alone is unsubstantiated.

Very well, let me try again...

Several mainstream publications reported that Markar Vaziev was number one choice for the position of Atistic Director of the Bolshoi. Rossiyskaya Gazeta wrote:

Генеральный директор Большого театра Анатолий Иксанов на прошлой неделе заявил, что из множества кандидатов на должность он отдает предпочтение Махару Вазиеву. И это было предсказуемо: его репутация балетного интенданта безусловна благодаря 13-летней успешной деятельности в Мариинском театре. Но нынешний контракт Вазиева с театром Ла Скала действует до второй половины 2012 года, и он решил его не прерывать.

http://www.rg.ru/2011/03/18/filin-site.html

And this is as mainstream as it gets. ITAR-TASS wrote:

Так что с 15 марта у балета Большого театра должен появиться новый худрук. По словам Иксанова, на эту должность рассматриваются несколько кандидатур, среди наиболее вероятных - Махар Вазиев.

http://www.itar-tass.com/txt/level2.html?NewsID=16024452&PageNum=0

If there are further problems with my wording, Helene, don't hesitate to point them out for I will be more than happy to make necessary corrections.

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I don't speak or read Russian, so this is through Microsoft Translator, which translates the ITAR-TASS quote as:

So from 15 March at the Bolshoi Theatre Ballet, you should see the new hudruk. According to Iksanova, for this post discusses several candidates, among the most likely-Mahar Vaziev.

which means that as of the time Iksanova made the statement, Vaziev was the front-runner in according to Iksanova. According to the translation of the Rossiyskaya Gazeta article, Vaziev was also Iksanova's preferred candidate:

Bolshoi Director Anatoly Iksanov said last week that many candidates for the position he preferred Maharu Vazievu. And this was predictable: its reputation through endless Ballet intendanta 13 years of success at the Mariinsky Theatre. But the current contract with La Scala Vazieva runs until the second half of 2012, and he decided not to interrupt.

There is no announcement of an appointment or contract offer to Vaziev or any other candidate in these statements. In translation, the second implies that Vaziev decided not to try to break his contract with La Scala, but not that he did this before or after an offer. There might be nuances in Russian, either through the expression used or a verb type or tense that has meaning or implications that the translation does not express.

While a candidate may be the preference of one person at a point in time, that does not mean that there aren't other people who have input into the process or that preferences change over time as more and new information becomes available to the people making the decision.

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which means that as of the time Iksanova made the statement, Vaziev was the front-runner in according to Iksanova. According to the translation of the Rossiyskaya Gazeta article, Vaziev was also Iksanova's preferred candidate:

As a side note – it’s Iksanov, not Iksanova. Anatoly Iksanov is Director General of the Bolshoi Theatre. More information on him here.

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Thank you for the correction. It explains why a search for "Iksanova" wasn't getting many good results.

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