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Anatoly Iksanov fired?


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#16 Jayne

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Posted 08 July 2013 - 07:58 PM

I think we can read some tea leaves here - Gergiev was offered the position first - keep in mind that he is something of a dictator at the Mariinsky and does not suffer dissent gladly.  He is a friend of Vladimir Putin (also someone who does not suffer dissent gladly).  I think Putin and his advisors want to put a dictator in place at the Bolshoi, to stop the ongoing bad press, and return to serving the glory of Russia with positive press reports of the ballet.

 

I expect Mr Urine will be a mover behind the scenes to prevent a second Tsiskaridze type of press manipulation.  Keep in mind that his current theatre has been doing some very interesting things: signing some great dancers, presenting Mayerling, Petit's Coppelia, etc.  Hopefully he will continue to promote new forms of art at the Bolshoi. 



#17 Helene

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Posted 08 July 2013 - 08:05 PM

If The Powers That Be (from above) wanted Tsiskaridze shut down, in my opinion, they would have forced the issue and installed their dictator when Iksanov showed he was not preparing to nip Tsiskaridze in the bud years ago.

 

We don't know yet that they don't want Tsiskaridze reinstated:  the only official info we have so far is that they don't want him to be General Director of the Bolshoi.  Anton Korsakov stated in an interview (thanks to a translation by volcanohunter):

 

- What do you think of Nikolai Tsiskaridze's dismissal?

 

- In light of recent events it's an absolutely normal [or perhaps 'forseeable'] situation. For me personally this dismissal is conditional, because Kolya is the irreplaceable [literally: 'unoverthrowable'] idol of the Bolshoi.

 

 

With Iksanov gone, they can come up with some public dance about the terms, etc. if they want Tsiskaridze back, just like they did with Grigorovich, but perhaps with some behind-the-scenes carrot and stick, and if they don't want him back, having Iksanov doing the dirty work for the new General Director before they got rid of him is clever management and could have been part of the endgame for Iksanov.



#18 Alayna

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Posted 09 July 2013 - 04:12 AM

According to this article, it sounds like it's unlikely that Tsiskaridze will return.

 

Quote: (machine translation) 

 

At the Bolshoi Theatre, where on July 9 under new management , no discussion about returning to the company Nikolai Tsiskaridze. This was stated by the Minister of Culture of the Russian Federation Vladimir Medina.

The relevant question "Interfax ", he replied:" No, it was not discussed, and I believe, will not be discussed. "

 

http://www.vesti.ru/...1102450&cid=520



#19 volcanohunter

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Posted 09 July 2013 - 06:56 AM

The handover looked very civilized.

http://izvestia.ru/news/553359

 

Mikhail Lavrovsky had some interesting things to say.

 

"It's difficult for me to say why Anatoly Iksanov was dismissed just now. During the 13 years of his directorship of the Bolshoi Theater I had no serious disagreements with him. And as an actor I can agree with him in some things and disagree about others.

 

"But to this day there are things that I cannot understand, for example, why dancers such as Ivan Vasiliev and Natalia Osipova were forced to leave the theater. Good artists cannot be thrown away, regardless of whether you like them or not. Tastes are the personal matter of the leadership, but the Bolshoi Theater is the face of our country.

 

"I do not understand why a star like Tsiskaridze was dismissed. I do not understand why Zakharova is not performing in Onegin. I'm not saying that Iksanov was directly responsible for all these episodes, but they all happened on his watch.

 

"Iksanov is a good administrator. He engages in questions of management and does not understand anything about opera or choreography or the orchestra. Because the director cannot be the artistic face of the theater.

 

"I know Mr Urin from his good side; he is a worthy person and has won a high office on merit. However, how he will behave from here is unknown. Currently the situation is complicated because we are run by a Board of Trustees. They are good people; deep gratitude to them for giving us money, but they are not professionals. The Board of Trustees cannot issue orders about who is to dance and who isn't. If Urin is somehow able to correct this situation, everything will be alright.

 

"I hope for the best. Vladimir Georgievich [Urin] is a strong person, and if he does not fall under someone's influence and behaves himself correctly, I think he will become a good director. As an administrator, in any case."

http://izvestia.ru/news/553382



#20 Helene

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Posted 09 July 2013 - 08:31 AM

Interesting and frightening: he seems to be saying that once a dancer becomes a star and the face of the theater, he or she should be dictating the terms of what s/he'll dance and that his or her behavior within the theater should be irrelevant. It's like the way professional athletes are treated in the US.

#21 volcanohunter

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Posted 09 July 2013 - 08:43 AM

On the other hand, the oligarchs on the Board of Trustees shouldn't be in the position of dictating anything either.

http://www.bolshoi.r...partners/sovet/



#22 Jayne

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Posted 09 July 2013 - 08:52 AM

hmmm....maybe that is what Mikhail Lavrovsky meant.  But I took it to mean he felt the talents of Ivan Vasiliev and Natalia Osipova were being wasted (particularly in her case - no Giselle, Odette/Odile, etc).  Nikolai Tsiskaridze is a whole 'nuther kettle of fish, because of his unprofessional running commentary. 

 

Perhaps Anatoly Iksanov never really touched the AD casting decision making, which would also be the case at a western company.  However, if there is overt discrimination, blackmail, threats, or abusive language against a particular dancer, then the CEO should step in and discuss it with the AD.  I am not sure that Mr Iksanov could have prevented all the corruption related to construction at the theatre.  Another ministry was also supervising the process.  And some of the expenses were legitimate.  Once you open up a wall - you don't know what you'll find behind it and it seems that the structure of the theatre was standing up due to force of habit more than solid foundations underneath.  Indeed, if Mr Iksanov had tried to intervene in the construction industry, he could have easily gone permanently missing (think Jimmy Hoffa).

 

If anyone has a gorilla off of his back today, it is probably Mr Iksanov.  I do hope for the best with Mr Urin.  The ballet company needs a strong leader, and right now the leadership is in flux with a blind AD undergoing further treatment in Germany, and an interim AD who must get his approval on every decision. 



#23 Helene

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Posted 09 July 2013 - 09:10 AM

On the other hand, the oligarchs on the Board of Trustees shouldn't be in the position of dictating anything either.

http://www.bolshoi.r...partners/sovet/

 

Did the oligarchs on the Board of Trustees drive out Osipova and Vasiliev? I thought they were courted by a theater director offering them big salaries, apartments, and unlimited guesting opportunities and schedule flexibility.  Was it the Board of Directors, rather than Burlaka, who insisted that Osipova's priorities should be the Bolshoi tour to DC with "Le Corsaire" instead of "La Sylphide" with ABT, for which she had been announced months before?  Did the oligarchs on the Board of Trustees determine that Zakharova didn't meet the requirements to dance opening night of Tatiana?  I'm not quite sure what the oligarchs on the Board of Trustees were supposed to have done about Tsiskaridze. 

 

"The Bolshoi Theatre Board of Trustees was set up in 2001 with the support of the Ministry of Culture and the Government of Moscow and on instructions from the Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation."  Iksanov didn't create it.  What was Iksanov supposed to do about them, and their influence and decisions?  That's like holding him responsible for the overruns of the theater reconstruction, when he didn't make the contracts, didn't have a choice of contractors, and where decisions were made within the government.  (Sounds like the life of a project manager to me.)

 

There's plenty crazy about the way the Bolshoi is structure and run, and one could argue that Iksanov did not ultimately pass the "little of the authority and all of the responsibility" test, but that doesn't explain Lavrovsky's disregard for the behavior of the artists he cites.



#24 volcanohunter

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Posted 09 July 2013 - 09:18 AM

If it's true that the Board is giving artistic orders, as Lavrovsky suggests, then it's a serious problem. He isn't blaming the Trustees for Osipova, Vasiliev, Tsiskaridze or Zakharova. But I think he is saying that Iksanov did not stand up to the Board when they started interfering in artistic matters, and he seems to be suggesting that Iksanov was not able to keep problems between dancers and the leadership in check.



#25 Helene

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Posted 09 July 2013 - 09:51 AM

The way the "job description" for the board is written, it is their responsibility to interfere in artistic matters:

 

The Board’s priority tasks are to attract sources of finance from the private sector, assist the Bolshoi Theatre in the presentation of new productions, the organization of tours, the recruitment of stars and talented young soloists, and likewise to provide assistance in improving the Theatre's systems of management, finance and the day-to-day running of the Theatre.

 

 

While I think the Board should be limited to financial oversight and operations and not be involved in artistic decisions, that's not only the de facto reality but the de jure reality.  I think expecting Iksanov to keep the Board from doing its job and reaching its tentacles into other artistic areas is like expecting a the president of a public university to stand up to the Justice Department (to use a US analogy).

 

Why anyone wants the job unless they, like Lyndon Johnson, have dirt on everyone and have critical sums of money to use as bait and withdraw like a lash, is beyond me. 



#26 yudi

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Posted 09 July 2013 - 09:52 AM

The handover looked very civilized.

http://izvestia.ru/news/553359

 

Mikhail Lavrovsky had some interesting things to say.

 

M. Lavrovsky is very diplomatic. A smart guy! He actually just said that Iksanov mis-managed the ballet stars and ADs, then the situation was getting messier and messier. As a "Old" Bolshoi Ballet guy, he should have known that there are some party lines among the dancers. This kind of things happened before, rooted deeply, that some dancers were given more opportunities on stage, records, and etc., while some dancers standing aside NOT because of their artistic quality. I. Vasiliev is not a typical Bolshoi classical dancer. After Ratmansky left, he might not feel contented to stay. When I. Vasiliev and N. Osipova saw more money and opportunities offered by others, they simply left.
 
A businesslike manner should also mean good practice to deal with dancers' parties. Good luck, Mr. Urin!
 
“I’m not planning any revolutions,” Urin, 66, said today during a briefing on national television with Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky and Iksanov. “It is very important that this transfer from one manager to another happens in a civilized arena, in a normal, calm and businesslike manner.”
By Ilya Arkhipov - Jul 9, 2013 6:01 AM PT

 



#27 volcanohunter

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Posted 09 July 2013 - 02:24 PM

All things considered, Lavrovsky is being remarkably non-partisan. After all, it was his pupil Vladislav Lantratov who ended up as the opening-night Onegin opposite Olga Smirnova. As pleased as he must be with that outcome, his bigger-picture view is that something ought to have been done to accommodate Zakharova.



#28 Helene

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Posted 09 July 2013 - 03:01 PM

But what? 

 

Reid Anderson had the authority to choose casts for "Onegin"; it's possible he had the authority to refuse to allow the Bolshoi to perform it.  (I don't know what the contracts stated.)  There are conflicting reports over whether this was 100% his decision to make, whether it was a joint decision between Anderson and Filin, or whether Filin was there to object if he felt there were grounds or extenuating circumstances.  If Filin were to override Anderson, or Iksanov overrode Filin and Anderson, the consequences might be immediate, or Anderson might have agreed to this run, but that would be a big bridge to burn.

 

I'm not sure what the timeline was in terms of when Anderson made his decisions or what Zakharova knew when.  There are the ballet equivalents of "I'm leaving to spend time with my family" to save face, and it's possible that Iksanov missed the opportunity to allow Zakharova to bow out gracefully with an injury that made rehearsing impossible, a mysterious illness, or schedule overload, etc. etc., but it isn't clear she wanted to, or that Anderson didn't made the decision too late for this to be effective, and Anderson's response was far more embarrassing, which is the risk she took when she left the production. 

 

Was Iksanov supposed to lock her in his office?  Offer her a dacha (carrot)?  Threaten to break her ankle (stick)? 

 

There are a number of articles in Izvetsia in which different theater managers are interviewed or asked for comment, something I can't imagine happening in the US, and there is one common criticism:  Iksanov stayed out of artist management, and, as a result, he mismanaged the egos through neglect.   His criticisms of Tsiskaridze were organization-based, and another point of consensus from managers and fellow artists like Korsakov is that Tsiskaridze is the equivalent of "too big to fail" and should be treated exceptionally. 



#29 volcanohunter

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Posted 09 July 2013 - 03:45 PM

For what it's worth, it's likely that Iksanov's dismissal had little to do with the Zakharova affair. Urin has said that he initially turned down the Bolshoi offer, but after thinking about it for a while, he decided to take it. That timeline is more in sync with the Tsisridze dismissal than the Zakharova walkout. A television report is claiming that the pressure to dismiss Iksanov came from Rostec (Russian Technologies State Corporation) president Sergei Chemezov, an admirer of Tsiskaridze and a political ally of Vladimir Putin.

 

The TV spot is here, but I'm afraid there are no subtitles or translation.



#30 Helene

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Posted 09 July 2013 - 04:13 PM

They all seem to be playing nicely in public and to the press:
 
http://translate.goo....ru/news/553359
 
In the meantime, Vladimir Malakhov agreed that Tsiskaridze's dismissal was the "last straw," said Iksanov was a failure both at reconstructions and new ballets, and commented that he doesn't know Urin, but doesn't think he'll work out:
 
http://translate.goo....ru/news/553351
 
People's Artist Alexander Belinsky, said he's had little interest in the Bolshoi since Vasiliev left and Maximova died, he only knew Iksanov when Iksanov was younger, and he didn't want to comment on what led up to the change, because the future is more important than the past (emphasis below mine):
 

I belong to Vladimir Urine is not just good, but enthusiastically. I know this man, I remember his dedication, and most importantly - its delicate taste. I think that soon he will change and principal conductor and artistic director of the ballet company. Recently, he successfully directed the theater of Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko, and now, I am sure his organizational talent is more than enough and the Grand Theatre.

 



http://translate.goo....ru/news/553365




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