Catherine

Mariinsky Open Letter to Minister of Culture

89 posts in this topic

If we are to discuss the recent exodus from Mariinsky or the graduates who declined to join entirely because of the initiquitous situation there, then the list becomes a very long one. Only off the top of my head - Obraztsova, Lobukhin and Smirnova to Bolshoi, Shapran to Stanislavsky, Sarafanov, Lebedev and Strelkov to Mikhailovsky, Dolmatova also recently left, also Matvienko, and not forgetting lovely Cheprasova. If Fateyev/Gergiev had managed to retain all these dancers and they were dancing regularly at MT imagine the magnificence of every performance, instead of the dismal ones we see now with all these favoured and sponsored dancers who should never be given these opportunities.

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Echoing Tiara's sentiments, would have given anything to see this company live in the 60s. And I support/agree with all of your points here, Leonid. It's with every hesitation that I myself even post this information on the forum. But I am trying to reflect the facts as they develop (in English) for people to draw their own conclusions.

Please post whatever news you can about the open letter, because secrecy is useless to the dancers, and it is only if all of this is brought out into the open that something must eventually be done about it.

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Also on the list: Elena Sheshina who came from the Maly initially but is now sadly at the Hermitage (tourist) Theatre; Vladimir Shishov and his then-girlfriend Elena who went to Vienna Opera Ballet. Ivan Popov (Vienna then San Francisco). The list is very long indeed.

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I have read, misprint or not, that a 1000 new staff will be employed.

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Slightly off-topic, but I happened to be watching the Charlie Rose Show last night and they had a repeat of the interview with Valery Gergiev:

http://www.charlierose.com/view/interview/12615

There's quite a lot of discussion about current politics in Russia, and it made me wonder if perhaps Gergiev might segue into political life at some point. I'm not sure that would be a good thing, but who knows?

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Slightly off-topic, but I happened to be watching the Charlie Rose Show last night and they had a repeat of the interview with Valery Gergiev:

http://www.charliero...interview/12615

There's quite a lot of discussion about current politics in Russia, and it made me wonder if perhaps Gergiev might segue into political life at some point. I'm not sure that would be a good thing, but who knows?

Not at all off topic for me :-) I am most interested to better understand the current politics and how it affects the arts in general and ofcourse especially the dancers in Russia. I like Charlie's show too actually so I thank you very much for posting.

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I think the casting for DonQ on Feb 17th says it all in terms of how Pavlenko is fairing after all these events.

She is slated to dance Street-dancer next to Kampa's 2nd shot at Kitri.

wallbash.gif

Now that is what I'd call a low blow ( even though I don't think she does Kitri... ??) considering she has been Principal for a decade and Kampa is Corps for less than a full season and had a rather shaky debut this week in the role.

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If this were the Bolshoi, Kampa would not even be in the company...she'd be back in Boston in back row of corps. The Bolshoi has ethics and does not prescribe to the 'Pay for Play' corruption. Sergei Filin refused to accept 'pay for play.' [New American Boslhoi corps member, Joy Womack, danced Spanish Doll solo in Nutcracker...exactly where she should be as a highly-talented 1st-yr corps member. She is achieving her dream the Old Fashioned Way: EARNING it!]

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I think the casting for DonQ on Feb 17th says it all in terms of how Pavlenko is fairing after all these events.

She is slated to dance Street-dancer next to Kampa's 2nd shot at Kitri.

wallbash.gif

Now that is what I'd call a low blow ( even though I don't think she does Kitri... ??) considering she has been Principal for a decade and Kampa is Corps for less than a full season and had a rather shaky debut this week in the role.

Sounds like standard operating procedure - complain and you are attacked with the "nuts and sluts" defense playbook - here, quite literally.

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...The Bolshoi has ethics and does not prescribe to the 'Pay for Play' corruption. Sergei Filin refused to accept 'pay for play.'

I have no insider knowledge whatsoever, but from the outside recent events at the Bolshoi rather create the impression that if artistic directors in Russia are giving way to pressures from not so savory characters, well...they may have reason...In which case I think forces outside the theater need to collaborate with those inside to establish an atmosphere of physical as well as financial security. Maybe the Mariinsky just suffers from garden variety corruption of various kinds, but at this point I'm willing to believe just about anything could be happening to explain the situation there.

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Anton Korsakov, who notes that he hasn't had much work at the Mariinsky lately, sounds off:

- You no longer like it at the Mariinsky?

- I worry about our team, on which I've worked for so many years. But what's happening now is a mess. The troupe is being rejuvenated, new people are coming. This is a normal process. But under Vaziev these were people were from the Academy of Russian Ballet, with the Russian spirit, school, tradition. Now we have an international troupe - there is a Korean, an Englishman. Even though they are not dancing leading roles, I do not understand the hype. For small variations, our artists would be sufficient. Previously there was a creative spirit of competition between soloists on stage; each had to prove himself worthy of his place under the sun. Now the mess consists in everyone dancing whatever they want. People are used to plug up holes to prevent the stream of performances from stopping. I don't really understand such troupe management. People want to see big names. And names have to be built up.

- Not long ago, the union members of the Mariinsky Ballet wrote to the Minister of Culture with a request to look into these situations.

- Unfortunately, at the time I was away and could not participate in the appeal. But nothing has changed; everything has remained as it was. This is yet another reflection of the management's attitude toward artists, toward soloists, who to some extent built the glory of the Mariinsky, and to the theater itself. I feel sorry for the artists, because many people are simply wasting their time.

http://izvestia.ru/news/553188

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Many thanks, volcanohunter.

Apart from his comments about schooling, it could be the same criticisms we hear about ABT.

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According to the Russian edition of Forbes magazine, Valery Gergiev has devised a plan for combining the Mariinsky Theater, the Academy of Russian Ballet, the St. Petersburg Conservatory and the Russian Institute of the History of the Arts into a single entity called the National Center of Academic Theatrical and Choreographic Art, with him in charge of everything. Supposedly he is pitching the idea directly to Vladimir Putin rather than to the Ministry of Culture, which recently balked at the idea of making Gergiev director of the Mariinsky and the Bolshoi simultaneously. Both the Mariinsky Theater and the Ministry of Culture are denying the existence of Gergiev's letter, a copy of which Forbes claims to have, though apparently people within the Institute of the History of the Arts are aware of the idea and are adamantly opposed to it.

http://www.forbes.ru/sobytiya/vlast/243576-teatr-odnogo-imperatora-kem-valerii-gergiev-khochet-stat-v-budushchem

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Forbes in the US is a well respected magazine, not TMZ rumor mongoring media. They check their sources. I will be interested to see how this turns out. One the one hand, fiefdoms or silos of art can be bad, but on the other hand, forcing collaboration can also be bad.

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