Urin: ‘I’m not tied to the job - I’ll go if I don’t think it’s working’ / How to resolve conflicts and build artistic focus
Ismene Brown Blog, Wednesday, 24 July 2013
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Posted 12 September 2013 - 12:37 PM
A new interview with Vladimir Urin was published today. Some highlights:
Sergei Filin has 70-75% vision in his left eye. Urin is keeping an arms-length attitude about the criminal proceedings, as well as to the matter of Pavel Dmitrichenko's supporters within the theater.
He's deeply sorry the Bolshoi did not hold on to Alexei Ratmansky.
Ivan Vasiliev will continue to appear with the Bolshoi as a guest artist, including as Spartacus. Natalia Osipova is too busy. Svetlana Lunkina remains on unpaid leave.
Despite a couple of guest appearances in the spring, there are no plans to invite Sergei Polunin to join the company. He's not opposed to guest appearances by Stanislavsky dancers at the Bolshoi and vice versa, but not in overlapping repertoire. (I'm guessing this implication of the two companies' comparability will ruffle feathers.)
There are discussions about reviving Yuri Grigorovich's Legend of Love.
He declines to comment on the matter of Nikolai Tsiskaridze returning to the Bolshoi, but considers it improper to reverse decisions made by his predecessor.
Posted 12 September 2013 - 01:08 PM
Posted 01 October 2013 - 12:33 PM
"Urin puts home talent first at the Bolshoi"
Ismene Brown, Saturday, 21 September 2013
"Signs are that new Bolshoi chief Vladimir Urin is adopting a more 'Russian' line for the Bolshoi Opera than his predecessor Anatoly Iksanov, who favoured an international outlook for Russia's flagship company."
Posted 01 October 2013 - 08:34 PM
I heart Ismene Brown's blog!
Sept 28 entry - General Director Vladimir Urin notes that Sergei Filin is still on medical leave, and the conversation is continuing as to when he will return in a professional capacity. Plus, Mr Urin proposes 10-12 nights at cheap prices (my view - how he will prevent the touts from buying those tickets remains to be seen)
Sept 27 entry - The Minister of Culture met with Nikolai Tsiskaridze and while he denied him the directorship of the Vaganova Academy, he did reach out to Vladimir Urin to allow Tsiskaridze one final New Year's night (his birthday) to dance at the Bolshoi. (my view - can this guy just apply for a job that is *open* instead of trying to push other people out of hard-earned jobs???)
Sept 25 entry - Sergei Filin states he will "accept" Nikolai Tsiskaridze's return to the Bolshoi and Vladimir Urin's management style is compared to Valery Gergiev at the Mariinsky. More information about the upcoming trial of the accused in Mr Filin's acid attack - the trial is set for October and expected to be a short procedural.
Posted 26 November 2013 - 06:47 PM
Vladimir Urin sat down for an extended interview with the Dozhd TV channel, during which he was grilled by a panel of journalists and critics. Two long clips have been posted online, though the second one appears incomplete. In a nutshell:
- The members of the Bolshoi's Board of Trustees pay 250,000 euros annually for the privilege. He has not yet encountered an example of them trying to influence the choice of repertoire or artists.
- While he does not reconsider the decisions of past administrations, he did cancel a new operatic double bill of Mavra and Iolanta because its set design was too complex. It would have taken too long to put up (2 days), too long to take down (a full day) and would have required an intermission of at least 45 minutes.
- He was very reluctant to take the post of general director of the Bolshoi Theater and refused the offer several times. He feared the interference of powerful people. If ever he encounters it, he will resign. When asked whether Vladimir Putin seemed well versed in the Bolshoi's controversies, he noted that Putin spent most of their conversation listening.
- On some of the theater's controversial operatic productions, Urin does not believe the goal of art is to be provocative; he is interested in what is artistically justified. He admits that he does not like Dmitri Tcherniakov's production of Ruslan & Lyudmila, but likes some of Tcherniakov's other productions and believes that it's a matter of finding the right material for him. Since the Stanislavsky was the first theater in Russia to perform the works of Nacho Duato, Jiří Kylián and John Neumeier, Urin rejects the notion that he could be labelled an artistic conservative.
- Being on the job for only a few months, he is still figuring out what is really going on at the Bolshoi. Where allegations of corruption are concerned, he believes it is important to distinguish whether they are legitimate complaints or dirty battle tactics. If corruption does exist, and he concedes it's possible, it must be rooted out, though he didn't say how. He would not say much about Joy Womack's allegations, noting that he had never even met her.
- Urin notes that while Sergei Filin worked at the Stanislavsky there were never the sort of allegations that are being directed at him now. Filin made mistakes, but Urin puts this down to inexperience. But Urin was obviously very ticked off about the circumstances of Filin's departure from the Stanislavsky and his subsequent ("unethical") poaching of its dancers. When the two met in Germany, Urin used the opportunity to lay down the law about their working relationship going forward. Every decision will be discussed and cleared with Urin first.
- He wants a more transparent casting policy. He would like choreographers, stagers and opera directors to be able to audition all the theater's dancers and singers before making their casting choices, rather than have the theater offer a prepared list of suggestions, because this is what leads to charges of favoritism.
- When asked about the controversy that arose over the casting of Onegin, Urin says he heard various sides of the story, including Svetlana Zakharova's, but it was before his time, so he does not have a complete picture. In general he advocates being open, honest and sitting down and talking things out before conflicts get out of control. But this is not easy given the nature of artistic temperaments.
Posted 30 November 2013 - 07:02 AM
Posted 02 December 2013 - 09:31 AM
This is relevant to the theater as a whole. Vassily Sinaisky, music director and chief conductor of the Bolshoi Theater, has resigned, two weeks prior to the premiere of a new production of Don Carlo, which he was to conduct. As of tomorrow he will no longer be employed by the theater. The Bolshoi sent out an e-mail with the information minutes ago and has posted it on the Russian version of its news feed.
Posted 02 December 2013 - 09:59 AM
Posted 06 February 2014 - 06:09 AM
Bolshoi chief pledges 'transparency' at troubled theatre
"The issue is to create the maximum transparency, especially in the distribution of roles," he said.
Given the Bolshoi's giant 1,000-strong troupe, there will always be disgruntled stars, he said, while conceding that the current situation was extreme.
"When 70 percent of people are upset and 30 percent who are close to the management are happy, that is not normal."
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