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.
During CBC coverage of the Figure Skating World Championships in Moscow last spring, one of the intros showed commentator Scott Russell standing in front of the Bolshoi Ballet and speaking about the reconstruction and how Nureyev and Baryshnikov had graced its stage. The amount of general ignorance in the mainstream press is amazing.
]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.
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.
I don't think the Russian press would care about reviews in London, but the "Independent" should.
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).
I have to say that I, too, was very disturbed by the veiled anti-Semitism in the Independent article.
Edith Wharton wrote a many books about how the crude, monied interloper took over "genteel" New York society. (Those vulgar upstarts started the Metropolitan Opera when they weren't given the prestigious seats at the old money Academy of Music.) The nostalgia for the old in the face of commercialism is nothing new, regardless of how the not-always-pretty origins were established, Russian oligarchs have been painted with the same, broad brush, and surely not all of them are Jewish. I'd be interested to hear how the descriptions of Kekhman are different than the others, apart from making fun of anyone who earned their money in a non-sexy field like high tech or oil. (Just as I was about to graduate from NYU's business school, it was renamed for a major donor who was known as "Pasta Man".)
What I found most offensive after the allusion to Yanin were the way the writer puts his spin on things. For example, he quotes Bolshoi spokeswoman Novikova, and then concludes, that she "suggested that they had been "manipulated" as part of a plot against the theatre." What exactly did she say? He had the opportunity to quote her exactly. (From the "Esmeralda" HD, it's clear that she speaks English very well and on her feet, as well as French.) Of General Director Anatoly Iksanov, "He said that the theatre saw the pair as its children, and would always be willing to have them back, hinting that they had been lured to St Petersburg by the promise of pots of cash." What did exactly did Iksanov say to lead him to this conclusion? About Mr. Kekhman, "He suggested that a creative malaise at the Bolshoi was more of a factor behind the pair's decision than financial considerations." The author has just quoted Kekhman extensively: why not quote what led him to believe that Kekhman "suggested" this?
My favorite is "Mr Kekhman admitted that he offered "good conditions" to Ms Osipova and Mr Vasiliyev, and had thrown some city-centre property into the mix as well, but denied that he was offering any more that other top European ballet theatres would." Based on his quotes from Kekhman, "stated outright" sounds more like Mr. Kekhman's style., rather than be forced by the author's pointed questions to admit anything.
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.
I agree, although this shows how low the standards have become.