Jump to content


Mariinsky Open Letter to Minister of Culture


  • Please log in to reply
88 replies to this topic

#61 bingham

bingham

    Silver Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 701 posts

Posted 21 December 2012 - 03:44 PM

Seems to me these attitudes are a holdover of the old Party days, when artists who played by the rules were awarded all sorts of prizes, lavish apartments, cars, chauffeurs, touring rights, travel permits, and whatever else they might have desired. The people who didn't play by the rules were harassed by the KGB, sent to regional companies, denied travel or touring permits, and generally treated miserably.

I just hope this will not happen to Daria.

#62 puppytreats

puppytreats

    Gold Circle

  • Inactive Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 751 posts

Posted 21 December 2012 - 07:56 PM

Seems to me these attitudes are a holdover of the old Party days, when artists who played by the rules were awarded all sorts of prizes, lavish apartments, cars, chauffeurs, touring rights, travel permits, and whatever else they might have desired. The people who didn't play by the rules were harassed by the KGB, sent to regional companies, denied travel or touring permits, and generally treated miserably.


"the rules" of party days were ? and now?

#63 Catherine

Catherine

    Senior Member

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 183 posts

Posted 21 December 2012 - 08:48 PM

Canbelto - exactly. That mentality is still prevalent even (oddly/ironically/or maybe not surprisingly?) among the newer graduates, the younger generation. In Russia as a whole there is not a culture of speaking up for oneself, standing out of the group, (or of standing up FOR the group), or promoting individualism. How else have the Bolshoi and Mariinsky maintained incredibly unfair working hours well into the 21st century? Because there is no labour union there. There are no labor laws; not like we have in the USA with mandatory breaks, days off, minimum wage, etc etc.

Even the "individualist/entrepreneurial" mentality in business in Russia today is still new -- they're only 20 years into that tradition,whereas we have over 200 years to go on. Those 20 years have seen the smaller new entrepreneurs (to step aside from ballet for a moment, just to demonstrate one example) fighting to keep their offices/businesses open -- one reason is that fighting for oneself has no precedent, legally or otherwise. It's hard to fight for rights when the law doesn't include those rights -- simply bc those laws haven't been fully developed yet.

Russia has been a culture subject to higher authority for 1000 years, from Tsars to Communist leaders (dictators) to Presidents. Top down rule for the largest country in the world. And even today that inbred approach of following and fearing authority is hard to break. Especially in the theatre system where the daily work relies on cooperation. (corps de ballet, anyone?) No one wants to lose what they've worked so hard to achieve, in a system and art form which is at the outset already insanely competitive. Even if they deserve more or are not receiving their due. It's better to not rock the boat... and so they don't. And so the infection at the top festers and grows...

#64 Catherine

Catherine

    Senior Member

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 183 posts

Posted 21 December 2012 - 08:50 PM

I just hope this will not happen to Daria.

She is a principal dancer in good standing; back in shape after maternity leave (long long after) and was not included on the Western tours to LA and SF this October. She was available to go, she was not injured, she was not otherwise engaged. And -- they only brought one actual principal dancer on the tour (Kondaurova). So, based on that alone, I think it's safe to say it already has happened to Daria.

#65 Tiara

Tiara

    Senior Member

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 184 posts

Posted 22 December 2012 - 02:33 AM

For anyone wondering about what may be happening to Daria Pavlenko as a result of her speaking out against the Gergiev/Fateyev mismanagement, or why dancers in the company are reluctant to speak out about their disgraceful working conditions, please read the following Wikipedia article:

http://en.wikipedia....wiki/Pussy_Riot

These women were actually imprisoned for speaking out against Putin. Russia is a country where it is literally not safe to speak out and oppose authority. There are many allegations made against Putin - one of the wealthiest men in the world with KGB connections - that his wealth comes from various sources, many of which are no doubt mysterious at the very least, and many probably illegal. He is a man who holds the country in a stranglehold of fear. It was he who appointed Gergiev, who in turn appointed Fateyev. Is it any wonder that the company as a whole fears to speak out against Gergiev? Plainly all he cares about is the money in his own pocket. The dancers must all be terrified of reprisals, and, judging from what happened to the women in the article, rightly so. The world's greatest ballet company is a hotbed at the very least of unfair practices, and also of corruption, where money speaks louder than talent, and the dancers are pawns in a corrupt Mariinsky management. They desperately need someone to speak up for them, and Daria Pavlenko is much to be applauded. I wish I could think something good would come out of this open letter, and I hope and pray that it will . At least this is all bringing the scandalous state of affairs at Mariinsky out into the open. My sympathies are so much with those poor dancers, who bring us all so much beauty and pleasure, and who are iniquitously so ill rewarded for it.

#66 leonid17

leonid17

    Platinum Circle

  • Foreign Correspondent
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,413 posts

Posted 22 December 2012 - 08:37 AM

I have avoided contributing to this thread as the political overtones are far too strong a danger for the Mariinsky dancer(s) concerned.

The results of power without responsibility from support from the West in this matter, should be considered, as it undoubtedly makes the Mariinsky management and ultimately President Putin rather more angry than conciliatory when criticised.

President Putin is generally considered to be taking an increasingly hard-line since his return to office which has been accompanied by a crackdown on dissent with the arrest of opposition activists and introduction of restrictive legislation.

Why do I mention this, firstly because Valery Abisalovich Gergiev was personally appointed by President Putin as General and Artistic Director of the Mariinsky Theatre and secondly, he is a close friend..

There are financial pressures upon the Artistic Director from within and without the Mariinsky and the new Mariinsky II Theatre opening next Spring which cost 700,000,000 US Dollars has no doubt put pressure on the Mariinsky's finances.

The dancers despite being told the reasons for the changes, rightly feel they are unreasonable.

The company has always been ruled from the topdown and unions in general throughout the world have little power to what they had in the past.

Remember what happened to Vaziev when he tried to assert his artistic and managerial status over Gergiev.

If the contents Catherine posted are correct as published in http://www.rosbalt.r...ion_object_map= there are several worrying points made by Maestro Gergiev.

In case you know little about Valery Gergiev see:-

http://www.nytimes.c...wanted=all&_r=0

It seems for the dancers, that what should be a discussion of art, performance and conditions of employment has now become a trial of strength with probably only one winner.

The company is every year taking steps a way from its glorious past and I yearn for a reprise of the 1961 tour which locked me into my love for academic classical ballet.

PS

I would have thought that Gergiev the musician is not so happy to be involved in this imbroglio, but with power comes responsibility and in this case a very personal responsiblity.

#67 Birdsall

Birdsall

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,323 posts

Posted 22 December 2012 - 08:57 AM

I would have thought that Gergiev the musician is not so happy to be involved in this imbroglio, but with power comes responsibility and in this case a very personal responsiblity.


I totally agree with what you say here. With power comes responsibility, and he should also handle the ballet (which I have read is the true bread and butter of the Mariinsky) like it is a treasure. As a previous opera lover, despite Gergiev's championing Russian opera and the Mariinsky as an opera company, the Mariinsky really is not a true major player in the opera world. Yes, it is in some ways, but overall, it is not in the same league as the Met or Vienna State Opera or Royal Opera Covent Garden, etc. Gergiev is a big name in opera as a conductor and he has brought rarely performed Russian opera to the West somewhat, but it is considered a niche thing, and really, the Mariinsky opera is not considered by the world the way the Mariinsky Ballet is. The Mariinsky Ballet is much more world renowned with a much higher reputation than the opera despite his desire to make the Mariinsky into a huge opera company. I think he must know that, and so he needs to treat the ballet as something special and listen to the dancers. That is my opinion!!!

#68 Tiara

Tiara

    Senior Member

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 184 posts

Posted 22 December 2012 - 08:58 AM

What you say is very interesting - thank you. Putin appoints his friend Gergiev and Gergiev appoints his friend Fateyev. Quite a cozy little circle and seemingly impossible to break. Gergiev the musician is still Gergiev the Artistic Director and first and foremost a human being who should be even more aware of his responsibilities towards the creative artists whose welfare he is ultimately responsible for.

#69 Birdsall

Birdsall

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,323 posts

Posted 22 December 2012 - 09:02 AM

I think also that there will be many growing pains in Russia as it becomes more and more Westernized. This whole ballet issue is part of it, and the administration needs to realize there is a difference between cruel or mean criticism toward administration (which the dancers have not done) and constructive criticism that simply wants the ballet to thrive (as the letter attempted to do). Gergiev AND Putin need to understand that. If the dancers always go along with everything that is happening then artistic standards will fall. Simply the fact that people have reported here that Vaganova graduates are now starting to join other companies instead of wanting to go into the Mariinsky is a real wake up call to everyone (Putin, Gergiev, and Fateyev)!!! I am sure these dancers who signed the letter love the Mariinsky and want it to succeed. They want to be a change within the system, and that is a good thing. I find it incredible that Gergiev views it as a threat.

#70 Tiara

Tiara

    Senior Member

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 184 posts

Posted 22 December 2012 - 09:06 AM

The company is every year taking steps a way from its glorious past and I yearn for a reprise of the 1961 tour which locked me into my love for academic classical ballet.


PS

I would have thought that Gergiev the musician is not so happy to be involved in this imbroglio, but with power comes responsibility and in this case a very personal responsiblity.

You are very fortunate to have been able to see this 1961 tour! I have spoken to friends here in the UK who did, but it's not the same!

#71 Tiara

Tiara

    Senior Member

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 184 posts

Posted 22 December 2012 - 09:13 AM

I wonder if anyone else on this forum who has access to Russian media would be able to give us any further information on this matter? It would be interesting to hear what the general reaction has been towards Gergiev's refusal to co-operate with Daria Pavlenko. Hopefully eventually some good must come out of this as the more public knowledge there is of it, the better.

#72 Birdsall

Birdsall

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,323 posts

Posted 22 December 2012 - 09:29 AM

I wonder if anyone else on this forum who has access to Russian media would be able to give us any further information on this matter? It would be interesting to hear what the general reaction has been towards Gergiev's refusal to co-operate with Daria Pavlenko. Hopefully eventually some good must come out of this as the more public knowledge there is of it, the better.


Yes, if anyone has articles (and translations) that we could read about what the Russian press actually thinks about the letter and Gergiev's reaction, please let us know.

#73 Catherine

Catherine

    Senior Member

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 183 posts

Posted 22 December 2012 - 06:24 PM

I think also that there will be many growing pains in Russia as it becomes more and more Westernized. This whole ballet issue is part of it, and the administration needs to realize there is a difference between cruel or mean criticism toward administration (which the dancers have not done) and constructive criticism that simply wants the ballet to thrive (as the letter attempted to do). Gergiev AND Putin need to understand that. If the dancers always go along with everything that is happening then artistic standards will fall. Simply the fact that people have reported here that Vaganova graduates are now starting to join other companies instead of wanting to go into the Mariinsky is a real wake up call to everyone (Putin, Gergiev, and Fateyev)!!! I am sure these dancers who signed the letter love the Mariinsky and want it to succeed. They want to be a change within the system, and that is a good thing. I find it incredible that Gergiev views it as a threat.


Totally agree with you Birdsall. I think Gergiev's comments to the press do not reveal his interpretation of this Letter to the Ministry as an act malice from the dancers as much as it reveals his own utter ignorance (pretend? real?) of the actual problem or question on the table. His suggestion that Pavlenko had a personal gripe was incorrect; his suggestion that the dancers' "voted" and solved the issue amongst themselves is also incorrect (First bc it wasnt a majority vote and second bc the vote itself didnt address the issue); and both points missed the facts of the issue.
There's been a greater exodus in the past 3 or so years from the MT and/or with Vaganova graduates choosing other companies: Shapran, Smirnova the biggest examples...and that speaks not only to artistic opportunity but financial compensation. I do not personally believe the Mariinsky lacks the finances but that those funds are appropriated to other people and/or things.

From Tara -

[font=helvetica, arial, sans-serif][size=4]I wonder if anyone else on this forum who has access to Russian media would be able to give us any further information on this matter? It would be interesting to hear what the general reaction has been towards Gergiev's refusal to co-operate with Daria Pavlenko. Hopefully eventually some good must come out of this as the more public knowledge there is of it, the better.[/size][/font]


I've posted whatever I see in the Russian news and will continue to do so; apologies only that I do not always have time to translate the entire article as my free time is sorely limited.

#74 Catherine

Catherine

    Senior Member

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 183 posts

Posted 22 December 2012 - 06:29 PM


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.

As a side note, the new theatre was opened yesterday for a brief ceremony including Maya Plisetskaya and her husband Rodion Schedrin. Am told the stage is luxuriously large with great wing space on both sides, and the auditorium (at least at that moment) was not very warm or heated. It will be interesting to see how they use this additional venue schedule-wise after its official opening in May 2013. The comments from Gergiev this year have repeatedly alluded to using it as a performance space, in part, for more children's performances, to educate the local children about fine art. There have been rumors of hiring numerous (ie 60+) additional employees to fill the new space, but the question then arises, where does one suddenly obtain those additional --hopefully polished-- performers, since neither the Msk Choreographic nor the Vaganova can provide such numbers...but that is for another thread altogether.

#75 cubanmiamiboy

cubanmiamiboy

    Diamonds Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,239 posts

Posted 22 December 2012 - 10:47 PM

I longed my whole life to go see the Kirov. Now the Kirov is gone.


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):