Waelsung

Osipova and Vasiliev to leave The Bolshoi

105 posts in this topic

One can, of course, say that I go to work abroad too often and therefore don't have time to dance everything that I want. Unfortunately, this is yet another problem related to the Bolshoi Theater. The company is huge, it has very many artists, and no one will adjust to fit my schedule. There is no one to blame here, this is the situation. So it happens that at the moments when I feel that I must do a lot, I sit and do nothing. Therefore I need some push, a different place of work, a different repertory. So for me the transfer to Mikhailovsky Theater in St. Petersburg is an absolutely thought-through and correct decision, purely artistic.

This paragraph sums it up and is also slightly contradictory if you interpret it a different way. Essentially Osipova's outside commitments clash with the scheduling situation at the Bolshoi. She should have said the problem is related to her own needs outside of the Bolshoi instead of saying it was related to how Bolshoi operates. If you read between the lines, the point is that Osipova has become too big for the Bolshoi, no pun intended. Why indeed belong to a company if what she really wishes to do is to dance a good chunk of the year at ABT or in Japan and Europe? It would be so much easier to defect to a company that is only too willing to have her and Vasiliev, one that sees them as trophies and demands less commitments from them than the Bolshoi. To say her decision is purely artistic, well I don't know if I really buy that now. It seems like a big part of it is not wishing to be tied down to a company which requires residency instead of few performances a year from its stars. They don't want to wait for Bolshoi to change its scheduling practices even though they say it's actually getting better under Fililn. I feel like they are treading a fine line between placing gentle blame on the Bolshoi and going scorched earth on the company.

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Please, could someone please explain the "Bolshoi emploi system"?

"Emploi system" = "type casting". E.g., the Bolshoi's point of view is that casting Vasiliev in Swan Lake or Sleeping Beauty would be against type. Vasiliev himself agrees with this in the interview when he concedes that he may not be great in such roles. However, his point is that he would still like the opportunity to try. Bolshoi's spokesperson points out that the Bolshoi has given him Albrecht in Giselle (last May)---which would also be considered against his type.

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One can, of course, say that I go to work abroad too often and therefore don't have time to dance everything that I want. Unfortunately, this is yet another problem related to the Bolshoi Theater. The company is huge, it has very many artists, and no one will adjust to fit my schedule. There is no one to blame here, this is the situation. So it happens that at the moments when I feel that I must do a lot, I sit and do nothing. Therefore I need some push, a different place of work, a different repertory. So for me the transfer to Mikhailovsky Theater in St. Petersburg is an absolutely thought-through and correct decision, purely artistic.

This paragraph sums it up and is also slightly contradictory if you interpret it a different way. Essentially Osipova's outside commitments clash with the scheduling situation at the Bolshoi. She should have said the problem is related to her own needs outside of the Bolshoi instead of saying it was related to how Bolshoi operates. If you read between the lines, the point is that Osipova has become too big for the Bolshoi, no pun intended. Why indeed belong to a company if what she really wishes to do is to dance a good chunk of the year at ABT or in Japan and Europe? It would be so much easier to defect to a company that is only too willing to have her and Vasiliev, one that sees them as trophies and demands less commitments from them than the Bolshoi. To say her decision is purely artistic, well I don't know if I really buy that now. It seems like a big part of it is not wishing to be tied down to a company which requires residency instead of few performances a year from its stars. They don't want to wait for Bolshoi to change its scheduling practices even though they say it's actually getting better under Fililn. I feel like they are treading a fine line between placing gentle blame on the Bolshoi and going scorched earth on the company.

I don't think my translation does full justice to what she is saying. It is pretty clear from the Russian text that she is trying to place more blame on herself than on the Bolshoi. To support this point of view, here is an excerpt from another interview of hers (to Kommersant, http://www.kommersant.ru/doc/1816362):

"This has nothing to do with either Sergei Yuryevich Filin, and certainly not with Anatoly Gennadievich Iksanov, both of whom we love very much. Bolshoi has nothing to do with it, I am thankful to it with all my heart. But I don't want to always feel guilty. I understand that I break the rules all the time, that my touring is a nuisance and creates all kinds of difficulties. But I want to both dance at the company, and go here and there, and all this does not come together, and turns out to be hard."

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Excerpts from http://www.izvestia.ru/news/506701

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"If the kids leave, they will have more possibilities for touring," thinks Osipova's teacher Marina Kondratieva.

"They very much want to dance, whereas the Bolshoi is unable to give them as many performances as they would want," says Kondratieva. "The kids are counting on switching to a contract, in order to have more possibilities for touring. They have a lot of offers from other theaters. If they are free from required presence at the Bolshoi, it will be simpler for them. They wanted to do this for a long time, but this moment was being postponed."

There is another interview with Osipova's teacher, Marina Kondratieva, which seems to directly contradict the interview I translated earlier in the thread and quoted above. According to this second interview, she was neither consulted nor supportive. Navigating Russian press sometimes is very confusing!

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My translation of excerpts from http://www.itar-tass.com/c9/273022.html

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" I don't think that Natasha made this step out of financial considerations," thinks Marina Viktorovna [Kondratieva]. "The money theme doesn't fit her. She is an artist, she lives through ballet, through her roles. She and I have worked together for five years. I know her well. And she said more than once that she can dance for free. Just to have a chance to dance! Most likely, someone confused the kids."

"No, she didn't even call me. This is hurtful. I am attached to her with my soul and with my heart. We have been very close," admitted Kondratieva. "I wouldn't try to dissuade her. They are young. Perhaps the youth is the reason. Generally, the current generation cannot be compared to ours. They are different. It is not always possible to understand them."

"We will see how it works out for them. I wish that everything would go well for them. However, this does not always happen," remarks Kondratieva philisophically. "I very much wanted Natasha to become a great ballerina. And for this she had all the opportunities at the company. She danced both the classics and the contemporary ballets. She had a large repertoire; but there is still much to be done. She is supposed to dance in the "Nutcracker" in December; other plans were also being considered. And her schedule was quite free: last year, for example, she was absent seven months."

"In 59 years of my working at the Bolshoi Theater I can't recall a single case like this, excepting, of course, the defections abroad during the Soviet times. However, in recent history such things haven't happened. And hopefully won't happen," sums up Kondratieva. "And even regarding Natasha and Ivan I still have hope. Perhaps they will change their minds and will realize what the Bolshoi Theater is. Because, as Yesenin wrote, "great things are visible from a distance." Besides, the general manager Anatoly Iksanov says that the Bolshoi Theater is always open for them, and they can always return."

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In the recent documentary on the POB, the director indicated that the schedule is planned two years in advance. In "Ballerina", didn't someone find out she was promoted from a posting, instead of being told directly? (We have discussed on this board how artistic directors likewise lack courage or strength to fire people directly, and let them wither without roles or interaction.)

I can imagine not being able to plan a schedule for someone who is in demand internationally, and under time pressure, is very frustrating and disturbing. These are very valid concerns to address, and all for valid reasons- artistically, financially, and for emotional well-being. Finding out one's schedule one month, or even three months, in advance does not permit adequate planning. In addition, one faces the risk of injury and cancellation, which also interfere with planning and impose time pressures. Therefore, these pressures explain a lot about the decisions. Furthermore, the number of dancers employed by the Bolshoi is enormous; just look at the roster. When I read it a few weeks ago, I wondered how anyone gets a chance to perform.

One expects that the dancers would express publically their artistic motivations, not their financial ones. I interpret this as a matter of etiquette and image. I noted a long time ago that almost all dancer interviews are very similar, giving rise to a tentative conclusion that people are trained to say certain acceptable things in interviews or learn from example.

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In "Ballerina", didn't someone find out she was promoted from a posting, instead of being told directly?

Several times people at NYCB found out by looking at the program with the printed roster.

One can, of course, say that I go to work abroad too often and therefore don't have time to dance everything that I want. Unfortunately, this is yet another problem related to the Bolshoi Theater. The company is huge, it has very many artists, and no one will adjust to fit my schedule. There is no one to blame here, this is the situation. So it happens that at the moments when I feel that I must do a lot, I sit and do nothing. Therefore I need some push, a different place of work, a different repertory. So for me the transfer to Mikhailovsky Theater in St. Petersburg is an absolutely thought-through and correct decision, purely artistic.

This paragraph sums it up and is also slightly contradictory if you interpret it a different way. Essentially Osipova's outside commitments clash with the scheduling situation at the Bolshoi. She should have said the problem is related to her own needs outside of the Bolshoi instead of saying it was related to how Bolshoi operates. If you read between the lines, the point is that Osipova has become too big for the Bolshoi, no pun intended.

I don't see it as contradictory or blaming the Bolshoi at all. She was describing her situation in the company, and it is incompatible with what she wants, and why another place fits what she wants. She's solved her own problem.

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I was only 'half-joking' above, when I wondered if David Hallberg would now be the man-in-line to be groomed by Yuri

Grigorovich for next season's Ivan the Terrible revival.

More to the point:

Who, in your mind, might be the dancers on the current Boslhoi roster who may be able to step in to dance the leading roles most often associated with Natalia Osipova (technical whiz/soubrette/romantic-tutu jumping roles) and Ivan Vasiliev (tech whiz/demi-charactere hero)?

Vasiliev - this may be the 'easier' void to fill -- Lantratov, Lopatin, Bolotin, Vorobyov, Smolianikov, Tsvirko, Efimov? The Bolshoi ranks are packed with both 'tall and princely' and 'shorter and zingy' male talent!

Osipova - this one seems a little harder, as so many Bolshoi soloist & 'heavily featured corps' ladies are in the tall-and-willowy Swan mode - Kaptsova already dances a lot of the leading soubrette roles, though she's not as technically great as Osipova; recent transplant Kretova?; guest principal Obraztsova?; from the corps: Kokhlova, Okuneva, Vlashinets, Kern, or Vorontsova?

Ideas?

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In "Ballerina", didn't someone find out she was promoted from a posting, instead of being told directly?

Several times people at NYCB found out by looking at the program with the printed roster.

One can, of course, say that I go to work abroad too often and therefore don't have time to dance everything that I want. Unfortunately, this is yet another problem related to the Bolshoi Theater. The company is huge, it has very many artists, and no one will adjust to fit my schedule. There is no one to blame here, this is the situation. So it happens that at the moments when I feel that I must do a lot, I sit and do nothing. Therefore I need some push, a different place of work, a different repertory. So for me the transfer to Mikhailovsky Theater in St. Petersburg is an absolutely thought-through and correct decision, purely artistic.

This paragraph sums it up and is also slightly contradictory if you interpret it a different way. Essentially Osipova's outside commitments clash with the scheduling situation at the Bolshoi. She should have said the problem is related to her own needs outside of the Bolshoi instead of saying it was related to how Bolshoi operates. If you read between the lines, the point is that Osipova has become too big for the Bolshoi, no pun intended.

I don't see it as contradictory or blaming the Bolshoi at all. She was describing her situation in the company, and it is incompatible with what she wants, and why another place fits what she wants. She's solved her own problem.

Exactly, Bolshoi is incompatible with what she wants at this point in her career. The scheduling conflicts never were problems until she became the star that she is today, so it is really the case that she outgrew the Bolshoi. I do not believe dancers owe audiences or their former company any explanations as to why they left one company for another. However, once a dancer offers up her version of the split, it should be done in non self-serving way as much as possible. Why did Osipova bring up the fact that she danced only two La Bayaderes, when the point she attempted to make originally was how messed up the scheduling was to her own needs? Now Osipova's coach offers many contradictions to further cloud the intrique. Seriously if indeed she was absent from the Bolshoi for total of 7 months, and was allowed to dance major roles not to mention being prepped for new ones, then how much freedom does a dancer need? Couldn't she give the Bolshoi management and Filin more time to change the theater's scheduling policies in order to better serve both parties?

Compare her plight to soloists deserving of more stage time or promotion in other companies, it's not even a fair comparison. For example, a dancer like Sarah Lane at ABT must be seething to see her company hire foreign guest principals to dance major roles, instead of developing its own homegrown talents like herself. What about the perpetually slighted and fated to never be principal, POB dancer Ould-Braham? I can't seem to think of any Russian ballerinas who are in Lane or Braham's situation, maybe some of you will kindly educate me on this happy.png

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One can, of course, say that I go to work abroad too often and therefore don't have time to dance everything that I want. Unfortunately, this is yet another problem related to the Bolshoi Theater. The company is huge, it has very many artists, and no one will adjust to fit my schedule. There is no one to blame here, this is the situation. So it happens that at the moments when I feel that I must do a lot, I sit and do nothing. Therefore I need some push, a different place of work, a different repertory. So for me the transfer to Mikhailovsky Theater in St. Petersburg is an absolutely thought-through and correct decision, purely artistic.

This paragraph sums it up and is also slightly contradictory if you interpret it a different way. Essentially Osipova's outside commitments clash with the scheduling situation at the Bolshoi. She should have said the problem is related to her own needs outside of the Bolshoi instead of saying it was related to how Bolshoi operates. If you read between the lines, the point is that Osipova has become too big for the Bolshoi, no pun intended. Why indeed belong to a company if what she really wishes to do is to dance a good chunk of the year at ABT or in Japan and Europe? It would be so much easier to defect to a company that is only too willing to have her and Vasiliev, one that sees them as trophies and demands less commitments from them than the Bolshoi. To say her decision is purely artistic, well I don't know if I really buy that now. It seems like a big part of it is not wishing to be tied down to a company which requires residency instead of few performances a year from its stars. They don't want to wait for Bolshoi to change its scheduling practices even though they say it's actually getting better under Fililn. I feel like they are treading a fine line between placing gentle blame on the Bolshoi and going scorched earth on the company.

I don't think my translation does full justice to what she is saying. It is pretty clear from the Russian text that she is trying to place more blame on herself than on the Bolshoi. To support this point of view, here is an excerpt from another interview of hers (to Kommersant, http://www.kommersant.ru/doc/1816362):

"This has nothing to do with either Sergei Yuryevich Filin, and certainly not with Anatoly Gennadievich Iksanov, both of whom we love very much. Bolshoi has nothing to do with it, I am thankful to it with all my heart. But I don't want to always feel guilty. I understand that I break the rules all the time, that my touring is a nuisance and creates all kinds of difficulties. But I want to both dance at the company, and go here and there, and all this does not come together, and turns out to be hard."

Thanks for the translation by the way, and I agree that the last paragraph Natalia sounded very genuine and thankful. Maybe emotions are still very new and raw for both Bolshoi and the couple, that's why so many contradicting things have been said.

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Just look on the roster of Osipova's old company, Cordelia. Many, many examples of talented ladies who have either been in the corps for years or only recently were elevated to the next level of "soloist" (equal to "choryphee at the Mariinsky) - such as Chinara Alizade, who won the 2005 Moscow IBC Gold Medal for Juniors. (2005 was also the year when Osipova won a Senior Solo Bronze medal, to Obraztsova's Sr. Solo Gold and Krysanova's Sr. Solo Silver.)

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Often, many factors influence a decision, to different degrees; this does not render the stated reasons "contradictory."

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Why did Osipova bring up the fact that she danced only two La Bayaderes, when the point she attempted to make originally was how messed up the scheduling was to her own needs?

Because it's a description of her situation? Because she'd prefer to do more and wants a situation where she can instead of sharing with a number of other Bolshoi ballerinas, which is the reality of a large institution? Baryshnikov gave two reasons for defecting: wanting to dance more modern rep, and only dancing with the Maryiinsky a few times a month, which wasn't enough stage time for him.

Seriously if indeed she was absent from the Bolshoi for total of 7 months, and was allowed to dance major roles not to mention being prepped for new ones, then how much freedom does a dancer need?

Obviously they needed more than that, and the market is such, that they found someone else to give it to them.

Couldn't she give the Bolshoi management and Filin more time to change the theater's scheduling policies in order to better serve both parties?

It's not in the nature of institutions to accommodate individuals, apart from CEO's who are hired and fired like hothouse flowers, which is possible, because there's only one CEO and dozens of top dancers. If they make special arrangements for her, why wouldn't the other dancers want the same thing?

Compare her plight to soloists deserving of more stage time and/ or promotion in other companies, and it's not even a fair comparison. For example, a dancer like Sarah Lane at ABT must be seething to see her company hire foreign guest principals to dance major roles, instead of developing its own homegrown talents like herself.

I agree that it's not a fair comparison: Other dancers have nothing to do with their situation, their marketability, and their choices. If they can get more than they are getting now, whether that be artistically, financially, or a combination of both, it's up to them to make the trade-offs. If we think they are making poor artistic choices, we can lament them, but they are the ones leaving all of the perks at the Bolshoi, and they obviously feel it is worth the risk. Many dancers stay at companies because they've chosen prestige, stability, salary, city, repertory, and personal relationships over the progress of their careers and/or their own artistic satisfaction, and some of them complain publicly. Some are happy to be paid decently for something they love, even if they aren't wearing the big crown, others have said they've made peace with never going up the ranks, others have other roles within the company that give them satisfaction (like union rep, teacher).

Sarah Lane isn't as marketable as Osipova or Vasiliev, but it is very likely she has or could have other choices than staying at ABT, if she's upset about being bypassed. That could be said of ABT for many decades, and it's the well-known and well-establish double-edged sword for dancers who join the company from ABT II or directly into the corps. It's not a company that is known for its Lifetime Achievement awards.

What about the perpetually slighted and fated to never be principal, POB dancer Ould-Braham? I can't seem to think of any Russian ballerinas who are in Lane or Braham's situation, maybe some of you will kindly educate me on this happy.png

Obratzova, one of the finest dancers I've seen dancing recently, is not at the top rank of the Mariinsky. Neither is Kondaurova nor Korsakov.

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Looking at American companies, how many principals dance more than 3x / month at their own companies in lead roles?

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Nor many, MANY dancers at the Bolshoi. I mentioned Chinara Alizade a bit ealrier. Ditto ANNA NIKULINA, who is so talented that, as a student (ca 2003), was tapped to dance Odette in the complete 4th act of Swan Lake in a tribute gala to Ulanova, telecast when I lived in Russia. We all assumed that she'd quickly move up the ranks to Principal long ago. Not so. (Happily, luck is turning her way, as she's just been cast as one of the Auroras in the new Sleeping Beauty!)

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There's no company in North America that has a ten-month schedule like the Mariinsky, Bolshoi, Royal Danish Ballet, or Paris Opera Ballet. Granted, all are rep companies that share with the Opera, but there are two theaters in Paris and Copenhagen. (I'm not sure what they are doing with the New Stage at the Bolshoi now that the main theater's been renovated.) The Mariinsky and Bolshoi tour regularly as well; during tours of full-lengths, generally just a few dancers share the leads, while the rest are home.

The only NA companies that the number of performances that would warrant more than three performances a month are the companies who do lots of mixed rep and/or have lots of performances. Only NYCB has a schedule where they dance for months at a time straight: all other major NA companies share a theater with opera, and have six-eight reps a year, with usually between four-twelve performances total.

For full-lengths, some Principal dancers might get one-three performances over two weeks as the lead, and, depending on the dancer, maybe another one or two as a secondary lead or featured dancer. (Aurora and Lilac, Titania and Hippolyta, Giselle or Myrtha and Peasant Pas, Sugar Plum Fairy and Dewdrop, etc.) For that month, or at NYCB, week(s) of full-lenghts, they are lucky to dance three times.

For mixed rep, there are far more opportunities. As an example, in PNB's recent "Love Stories" program of five ballets and excerpts, which ran for seven performances over two weekends, the original casting, before injuries set in and dancers lost their partners, was:

Nakamura: 3x "Divertimento from 'Baiser de la fee'" ('Baiser'), 3x "Romeo et Juliette 'Balcony Pas de deux'" ('R&J')

Foster: 2x "Baiser", 2x "Afternoon of a Faun" ("Faun"), 3x "Bluebird"

Porretta: 3x "Baiser", 2x "Bluebird"

Korbes: 2x "Faun", 2x "R&J"

Bold: 2x "Faun", 2x "Black Swan Pas de deux" ("Black Swan"), 2x Prince Desire ("Aurora's Wedding")

Rausch: 2x "Faun", 1x "R&J", 2x Aurora

Orza: 2x "Faun", 2x Prince Desire (could have been a typo, since his partner got 3), 2x "Gold and Silver" ("Aurora's Wedding")

Postlewaite: 3x "R&J", 3x "Black Swan", 3x "Gold and Silver"

Imler: 3x "Black Swan", 3x "Gold and Silver"

Cruz: 2x "Black Swan", 3x Prince Desire (may have been a typo, since his partner got 2)

Chapman: 3x Aurora

For context, there are 11 Principals at PNB of 41 dancers + two apprentices at the time the program was danced, or about 25% of the company. (There are now 42 dancers + four apprentices, since the official annoucement yesterday that one dancer re-joined the corps after 8 seasons, and two more apprentices were hired.)

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The Bolshoi has two active stages, both featuring both opera and ballet...sometimes with two different ballet programs playing simultaneously, on the Main and New Stages. It was like this in 04/05, before the Main Stage closed for renovation & is the same once again.

Even the Mariinsky Ballet has two 'active' theater buildings, as mixed bills requiring smaller casts very often play at the new 'Mariinsky Concert Hall' down the road from the main Mariinsky, even though the Concert Hall has no proscenium. Carmen Suite and Carnaval, for ex, regularly play at the Concert Hall...sometimes on the same nights when larger-scaled ballets are at the main Mariinsky. [For a while, Daria Pavlenko and Irma Nioradze seemed to be the Queens of the Concert Hall but even the more often-used dancers can be seen at the Concert Hall every now and then, including Lopatkina.]

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Looking at American companies, how many principals dance more than 3x / month at their own companies in lead roles?

It's not even American companies, though. Around the world you'd be pressed to find a company that could give each of their principals much more stage time than that (NYCB excluded because of their specific rep, but they also have a lot of layoff time as well). I understand the frustration that Osipova and Vasiliev feel, but the reality is that it's not just them, it's what most principal dancers deal with in their own companies; this is only magnified by being off and dancing internationally. Look at Cojocaru and Vishneva--both of them reached the top heights in their own companies and then took their careers internationally as well. They now dance considerably less with their home company. It's a trade off. I don't think you can have it both ways and still be fair to others in your home company, who maybe don't receive the same type of outside work.

I don't begrudge them wanting to dance more things, more frequently (who wouldn't?), but it's a reality that today's dancers cannot expect to be everywhere and dance everything in the ballet world, immediately--no matter the star power behind them.

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All sounds like they've got a wonderful opportunity then in joining the other company, if it is offering more chances to dance before they are 30, original repertory, and touring freedom... maybe they'd be nuts not to go?

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Chinara Alizade should be further up the rankings by now, it would be interesting to know what or who is holding her back. The older Goriacheva is seriously under used as well

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The irony is that Alizade was just promoted out of the corps two months ago, so I think she'll be at the Soloist rank (Choryphee equivalent) for a while.

Back to the main topic:

This article from the London newspaper, The Independent, suggests that money & perks were indeed behind O&V's move, in addition to 'artistic freedom.' Read and find out why several of us have called Kekhman the 'Bananaman' for a while:

http://www.independent.co./news/world/europe/russia-is-rocked-by-a-bolshoi-revolution-6263239.html

Now to a related tangent:

The "management take-over" -- for lack of better term -- of the Mikhailovsky by Kekhman and the partners (including Rosneft) seemed to have happened overnight in 2006/07. Does anybody know how the Maly/Mikhailovsky took on the 'commercial' patina, over and above the normal receptions with donors that we see at the Mariinsky or Bolshoi during pre- and post-performance receptions (or Gergiev's infamous long intermissions)?

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This article from the London newspaper, The Independent, suggests that money & perks were indeed behind O&V's move, in addition to 'artistic freedom.' Read and find out why several of us have called Kekhman the 'Bananaman' for a while:

http://www.independe...on-6263239.html

It does, indeed. With a lot of suggestive innuendos and beyond, and really condescending classist remarks about trying to fit in with his betters... I don't feel I know any more fact of the matter after reading that than before but I certainly have a bad taste in my mouth.

(and I agree with Kekhman's comment about artists not being children, I actually thought the same thing)

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This article from the London newspaper, The Independent, suggests that money & perks were indeed behind O&V's move, in addition to 'artistic freedom.' Read and find out why several of us have called Kekhman the 'Bananaman' for a while:

http://www.independe...on-6263239.html

The number of factual errors in the Independent article referred to by Natalia is a little too much even for the British press. For example, here are the first two sentences:

For decades, Russia's ballet dancers have had one dream – to dance at the Bolshoi. With the exception of a few defections to the West during the Soviet era, the Bolshoi is the company that everyone wants to join and nobody wants to leave.

What about Irek Mukhamedov, Nina Ananiashvili, Andris Liepa, Andrei Uvarov who left the Bolshoi without defecting, for various reasons, and to various companies? What about other people (e.g., Rudolf Nureyev and Polina Semionova) who declined offers to join the Bolshoi after graduation?

Here is another gem:

The Bolshoi Ballet has been beset by problems recently, with its artistic director resigning after pornographic photographs of him were posted online earlier this year

The only recent artistic director I can think of is Mr. Burlaka. It's absolutely stunning that garbage like this would be printed in a major newspaper.

The rest of the article rehashes all the trash from the Russian media that has been said about Mr. Kekhman, with its tinge of antisemitism ("greedy merchant", "banana oligarch", etc). Somehow completely missing both from the Russian press and from the Independent account are any attempts at evaluation of the Mikhailovsky Theater during Kekhman's directorship and immediately preceding it. Didn't the ballet company tour London last year? Didn't it get good reviews in several British newspapers, including the Independent? I wonder if the author of the article is aware of this.

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I have to say that I, too, was very disturbed by the veiled anti-Semitism in the Independent article.

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The Mikhailovsky Theatre has quite an illustrious history.Many wonderful dancers such as Nikolai Zubkovsky, Nikita Dolgushin and Valery Panov danced there.Fyodor Lopukhov,Leonid Lavrovsky and Oleg Vinogradov used to be Artistic Directors.

As Leningrad State Academic Maly Opera Theatre(MALEGOT for short) it was always very experimental in its productions.

So as usual British with their arrogance think they know better.This theatre has always been known to ballet lovers.

These days such greats as Alla Osipenko,Nikita Dolgushin and Zhanna Ayupova coach there.

It has wonderful dancers.Last year Leonid Sarafanov left the Mariinsky and joined Mikhailovsky and his wife the great Olesia Novikov(still not a prima balerina with the Mariinsky) guests there partnering her husband.By the way Sarafanov and Osipova daned quite a lot together either at the Bolshoi or Mariinsky so hopefully that partnership will continue.

What about Irina Perren - Mikhailovsky Prima - what a jem.

Such luminaries as Elena Obraztsova and Farukh Ruzimatov are still involved with the theatre no longer as AD of Opera and Ballet but as Advisors.

It's a wonderful theatre .

Bravo for Osipova and Vasiliev.You go Natasha and Ivan.

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For those familiar with the current scandals in the British (though Australian owned) press, the inaccuracies in the report are mild by the usual standards. Wonderful pictures accompanying this piece in the actual paper though.

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