Jump to content


Osipova and Vasiliev to leave The Bolshoi


  • Please log in to reply
104 replies to this topic

#76 Ilya

Ilya

    Senior Member

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 173 posts

Posted 17 November 2011 - 08:57 AM

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.


I disagree. The recent scandal involved a tabloid and had nothing to do with mainstream media. It also had nothing to do with factual inaccuracies in news articles. I may be wrong, but my impression is that the Independent has always tried to position itself as a mainstream newspaper, not a tabloid (its actual printed tabloid format notwithstanding). This article---with its errors and bigotry---is worthy of a tabloid, and a pretty bad one at that.

#77 Cordelia

Cordelia

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 37 posts

Posted 17 November 2011 - 09:23 AM

The bigger issue was that Osipova was against an archaic system which served the needs of a big company and its numerous dancers, not herself and Vasiliev, who are international stars. The crux of the matter resides at this main point. Therefore, no fault should reside on their side nor the Bolshoi's side in their defection to a more flexible company. On that front, isn't the Mikhailovsky also catering to Osipova's and Vasiliev's specific needs? Unless it is a company that doesn't require residency or one which bases its scheduling around principal dancers' own outside touring commitments. But good for them for finding one that's able to be so accommodating. I used Sarah Lane as an example of lack of artistic freedom, possibly on a more frustrating or grander scale than what was experience by Osipova. Of course Lane isn't as marketable as an artistic commodity as Osipova. Actually dancers should be more vocal about being financially well-compensated for their craft, not to mention strive for higher status in society. I don't think it's tacky to mix commerce with art and artists, it's a reality of the world we live in today. Dancers have short careers even if they aren't hampered by injuries, so why not profit from their talents while they're in their prime and get some much deserved upgrade in status and recognition? That's why I was happy for their move when I first read about it. The inference of upgrades in pay has already impugned Osipova and Vasiliev in many fans' minds, judging from some that I've talked to. But dancers shouldn't feel the need to justify leaving companies or other actions by citing artistic freedom only and not favorable arrangements, including financial ones. To do so would be feeding into the notion that dancers should be grateful to be suffering for their art, living in penury. Maybe I'm disappointed in the artistic freedom argument because I'm reading too much into Osipova's interviews and also other articles describing the situation. Overall still believe they are making the right move, I hope they got a lot of money out of Mr. Kekhman!

#78 Mashinka

Mashinka

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,177 posts

Posted 17 November 2011 - 09:32 AM

By the way, that Mikhailovsky tour to London last year was the victim of poor planning. It coincided with the Bolshoi at Covent Garden and audiences were embarrassingly minute for most performances.

I have to say I'm not convinced by the pulling power of Osipova and Ivan Vasiliev, their R&J performances with Schaufuss's troupe didn't sell out with first night numbers boosted by complimentary tickets for most of the audience. Before someone comments that they weren't dancing with a front ranking company I'll remind you that Fonteyn and Nureyev could have been dancing with the Outer Hebrides Amateur Dance Group and people would still have fought to see them.

#79 Helene

Helene

    Administrator

  • Administrators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 11,150 posts

Posted 17 November 2011 - 09:38 AM

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.

Inexcusable.

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.

#80 Natalia

Natalia

    Rubies Circle

  • Foreign Correspondent
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,395 posts

Posted 17 November 2011 - 10:54 AM

....What I found most offensive after the allusion to Yanin ...


Was Yanin mentioned or alluded to in the Independent article? That one totally flew by me. I need to read it again... Posted Image

I didn't like the "my children" talk by the Bolshoi's general director either. That was nasty, even if he was thinking in general terms about "prodigal sons and daughters" returning to the fold. It's also a cultural thing especially with older Russians but, agreed, very wrong on Iksanov's part.

EDITED to add: OK, I see the allusion to the Yanin scandal:
"...artistic director resigning after pornographic photographs of him were posted online earlier this year..." but even this is a half-truth because the AD was Burlaka -- not Yanin, who was the Company Manager. They don't check their facts very well at the Independent.

However you cut it, not the most savory of times for all concerned.

#81 Helene

Helene

    Administrator

  • Administrators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 11,150 posts

Posted 17 November 2011 - 11:34 AM

I didn't like the "my children" talk by the Bolshoi's general director either. That was nasty, even if he was thinking in general terms about "prodigal sons and daughters" returning to the fold. It's also a cultural thing especially with older Russians but, agreed, very wrong on Iksanov's part.

If this were China, each would have to reimburse the state for their training. Le Yin, who danced for PNB as a Principal Dancer after dancing for the Houston Ballet, described this in a Q&A.

It's not surprising that in a profession that calls adults "boys" and "girls", and in a theater where most of the dancers have trained in the school at state expense for many years and are coached privately by dancers who have a long lineage at the theater, that the theater considers itself a family, and the dancers are the children. In many families, children are investments, and that has not changed in the last 20 years.

Osipova studied at the Moscow Choreographic Academy from 1996-2004, according to her English website. Vasiliev was trained at the Belorussian Ballet School according to the old English website, but for the major theaters, the assumption is a one-way talent flow to them.

#82 Helene

Helene

    Administrator

  • Administrators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 11,150 posts

Posted 17 November 2011 - 11:54 AM

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)?

Or the prominent "Credit Suisse" logo on the Bolshoi website, and that's a foreign company sponsor. (The English version of the site has disappeared, hopefully temporarily, since it looks like a major site re-design.)

#83 Jayne

Jayne

    Gold Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 870 posts

Posted 17 November 2011 - 03:47 PM

Everything that's been written here about the true meaning, the prodigal son references, etc - I had the same thoughts yesterday and today as more articles come out. The arts media eats this stuff up! But at the end of the day, the contracts are in place, and everyone will move on. And some people will move up! O&V will get to dance a wider rep at the Mikh, with roles against 'type' (although it's difficult for me to fathom the size of O's calves preclude her from Swan Lake. But I don't have a Russian mindset of what Odette / Odille are 'supposed' to look like.

At Bolshoi, there will be funds available to promote a female and male soloist to principal, and then to promote a second soloist to first soloist, etc. I think there are some hopeful hearts among the lower ranks tonight.

Regarding Mr Kekhman, consider that he may be a modern version of Lincoln Kirstein. Mr. Kirstein was a Bostonian, jewish (therefore not a societal brahmin), socially awkward in NY and Boston, and deeply passionate about the arts. He brought a choreographer from a completely different culture, with new ideas of movement, and set up a company rivalry with American Ballet Theater's classical rep. Dancers came to this company, sometimes leaving better pay and acclaim in more traditional ballet companies and cities. Mr. Kirstein was never fully accepted by the company or NY society, and he tried to dominate the company despite his complete lack of professional ballet experience.

I think Mr Kekhman is a bold thinker and while the Mikh theater may look garish, the real proof is in the dancing.

#84 leonid17

leonid17

    Platinum Circle

  • Foreign Correspondent
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,413 posts

Posted 18 November 2011 - 02:27 AM

http://www.mikhailov...ontent/history/

#85 JMcN

JMcN

    Bronze Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 371 posts

Posted 18 November 2011 - 04:04 AM

By the way, that Mikhailovsky tour to London last year was the victim of poor planning. It coincided with the Bolshoi at Covent Garden and audiences were embarrassingly minute for most performances.

I have to say I'm not convinced by the pulling power of Osipova and Ivan Vasiliev, their R&J performances with Schaufuss's troupe didn't sell out with first night numbers boosted by complimentary tickets for most of the audience. Before someone comments that they weren't dancing with a front ranking company I'll remind you that Fonteyn and Nureyev could have been dancing with the Outer Hebrides Amateur Dance Group and people would still have fought to see them.


That may have also had something to do with the ticket prices for most of the decent seats! I've always adored the Ashton Romeo and was going to book for this until I saw the cost! Add the cost of travelling to London, it became prohibitive! Off topic, but the Schauffuss company did a couple of performances outside London without the stellar guests and the top price at, for example, Llandudno was £20 compared to a top price of £120 for premium seats or £85 for ordinary at the Coliseum

#86 Natalia

Natalia

    Rubies Circle

  • Foreign Correspondent
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,395 posts

Posted 18 November 2011 - 04:57 AM

http://www.mikhailov...ontent/history/


Thanks, Leonid. Alas, here is how the critical 2007 changes are described:
In 2001, the Mikhailovsky Theatre got its original name back. Year 2007 witnessed the revival of the Mikhailovsky Theatre; its magnificence came back to Arts Square.

So what happened from 2001 to 2007 to necessitate the changes? A little something is missing in this 'history.'

I was there in 2006, just before Mr. Kekhman took over, and the theater was glorious -- great company & beautiful Tsarist-style building with muted, elegant lighting and colours. The full-length Esmeralda -- no longer in the rep --that I saw on that night was extraordinary, with the theater packed to the rafters. I'm still puzzled how the pre-2007 Mikahilovsky Ballet company was deemed to be sub-par and 'saved' by the Kekhman. That's where I'm coming from. Not to bash the new per se...but to lament the glory of the pre-2007 years and 'style.' How did one arrive from Point A to Point B? Why was a radical change deemed necessary? I'm genuinely hoping to find out.

#87 Natalia

Natalia

    Rubies Circle

  • Foreign Correspondent
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,395 posts

Posted 18 November 2011 - 09:17 AM

Related the above, this 2010 interview in the St. Petersburg Times sheds more light on the 2007 changes than does the theater's website's 'history':
http://www.sptimes.r...&story_id=31897

For starters, I've just learned through this, that the Maly/Mikhailovsky Theater of Opera and Ballet is owned by the City of St. Petersburg; it is not a national theater at all. (I guess that it was a 'national' theater when the Tsar owned it. Posted Image ) However, at one point, the article states that Kekhman is the "principal owner, doubles as director." So perhaps it is jointly owned by the City of St-P and Kekhman, through some special arrangement? Interestingly, the theater's website doesn't mention that it is under the City of St-P's Ministry of Culture. A small oversight, no doubt.

Kekhman himself states that he had never set foot in the theater before his appointment (!) by City Hall.
“I liked the address — No. 1, Arts Square,” he said .... adding that he hadn’t been inside until he received the appointment.

This is a little bit different from the Lincoln Kirstein analogy, as Kirstein was a highly-educated and passionate arts goer well before he contributed to Balanchine's various ventures.

If Osipova & Vasiliev make more $$$ for their nest-egg thanks to Kekhman's generosity, then more power to them! I hope that Sarafanov, too, has benefited...and the Matvienkos and Farouk Ruzimatov, before that.

#88 Helene

Helene

    Administrator

  • Administrators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 11,150 posts

Posted 18 November 2011 - 10:38 AM

Not to bash the new per se...but to lament the glory of the pre-2007 years and 'style.' How did one arrive from Point A to Point B? Why was a radical change deemed necessary? I'm genuinely hoping to find out.


This wouldn't be the first time that a company changed direction or looked to create a different niche for itself. Ironically, it was Maya Plisetskaya who was ousted from the Spanish National Dance Company by the Spanish government's arts forces and was replaced by Nacho Duato, who since has been replaced by Jose Carlos Martinez. (The company now has a rep that resembles the non-classical Paris Opera Ballet rep.) However, given that many prominent dancers in Russia have said repeatedly that they want more non-classical rep, it seems like Mr. Kekhman is delivering. It's not what I would like to see the dancers in, but I don't get a vote.

#89 Natalia

Natalia

    Rubies Circle

  • Foreign Correspondent
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,395 posts

Posted 18 November 2011 - 10:52 AM

Good point, Helene! Oh, so now it's Jose Carlos Martinez?! 'Jose Martinez' didn't sound Spanish enough?

#90 cinnamonswirl

cinnamonswirl

    Bronze Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 304 posts

Posted 18 November 2011 - 12:50 PM

I think in Spain he's been referred to as Jose Carlos Martinez for sometime. It was in France he was called Jose Martinez.


0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users


Help support Ballet Alert! and Ballet Talk for Dancers year round by using this search box for your amazon.com purchases (adblockers may block display):