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Gergiev wants to replace Asylmuratova with ...Kolpakova?


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#1 Catherine

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Posted 26 October 2013 - 11:29 AM

http://m.interfax.ru/news/?id=337190

 

Although it is far from clear to me by what legal means or power Maestro Valery Gergiev is in a position to replace the Artistic Director of the Vaganova Academy, Altynai Asylmuratova, with another individual on no grounds whatsoever, today's news had a flurry of articles (on Ria Novosti and other sites) stating first that Nikolai Tsiskaridze would be appointed to that position. The statement came from the Ministry of Culture initially. The subsequent murmurings and mumblings caused quite a stir locally in ballet circles.

The article link above in turn subsequently states that Gergiev intends to hire Irina Kolpakova, former member of the Soviet Duma, to replace Asylmuratova. And that he has flown to New York City to try to persuade her.

This is following her recent visit to St Petersburg in September, in which she claimed that the Academy was "a mess." Kolpakova has been living and working in the USA since the 1980s. She is a former Soviet ballerina who climbed the political ranks within the Communist Party in order to become a member of the State Duma and secure her position in the USSR; she then fled when it was convenient to do so. Numerous propaganda articles on her can be found in the State Archives. There is a recent "rose colored glasses" Russian language documentary created on her that provides glimpses of the truth.

Those of us who have followed the Academy for years hope that this does not come to pass. Asylmuratova has dedicated the second half of her life and career to cultivating the dancers we now see on stage. Gergiev has no official link with the Vaganova Academy, but the "umbrella project" mentioned previously would explain how he could then officially fill in that gap by obtaining the power and links necessary to hire and fire at will within not just the Academy but the Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory, the Mariinsky, and likely even the Mikhailovsky Theatres, were that project to come to fruition. Whatever one's preferences are in terms of Mariinsky dancers on stage, I do not think anyone will disagree that the Academy continues to produce top-notch graduates who are currently dancing on the best stages across the world. I think that is testimony enough that the Academy is not a mess and we do not need to fix what is not broken.



#2 Birdsall

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Posted 26 October 2013 - 12:19 PM

How much power does he need? It is crazy! Even the White Nights Festival programs always have his picture. He must be an ego-maniac! 



#3 Jayne

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Posted 26 October 2013 - 01:46 PM

So let me get this straight: Mariinsky Theatre Ballet has come under considerable criticism for its performances under the acting artistic direction of Yuri Fateyev.  The General Director decides the reason for the drop in quality is due to the Vaganova Academy?  All this seems very convenient at a time when the Ballet Company needs additional pratice space, and a certain well connected former Bolshoi dancer with ambitions needs a bright lights job.   But Gergiev wants someone who he can control, so he goes after a different bright lights name.  

 

This will not cure the ills of the Mariinsky.   Keep Asylmuratova at the Academy and put Kolpatkova in charge of the Mariinsky Ballet company.



#4 Mme. Hermine

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Posted 26 October 2013 - 04:38 PM

Really though, it could all just be in his head somewhere. Kolpakova is wonderful, but she is 80 years old; who knows if she would even want either of those jobs?



#5 Helene

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Posted 26 October 2013 - 11:53 PM

This is following her recent visit to St Petersburg in September, in which she claimed that the Academy was "a mess." Kolpakova has been living and working in the USA since the 1980s. She is a former Soviet ballerina who climbed the political ranks within the Communist Party in order to become a member of the State Duma and secure her position in the USSR; she then fled when it was convenient to do so. Numerous propaganda articles on her can be found in the State Archives. There is a recent "rose colored glasses" Russian language documentary created on her that provides glimpses of the truth.

Kolpakova left with the break-up of the Soviet Union, like many others. 

 

80 is pretty old to take over a school.  If she were offered a good enough deal, though, one that included real estate, I could imagine that she might like to return to St. Petersburg.  She's been in New York for a long time.



#6 Catherine

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Posted 27 October 2013 - 12:12 AM

She already has a fully outfitted apartment in Saint Petersburg that is hers, given to her in return for her service to the KGB an to the Communist Party and it is in very nice condition, well decorated. So she can stay for free, no rent, no mortgage payments. I do not know if she rents or owns in NYC/DC.

 

If you dont have to pay for rent/mortgage and your entire salary is pocketed...that's a lot of free cash to have each month.



#7 Catherine

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Posted 27 October 2013 - 12:32 AM

So let me get this straight: Mariinsky Theatre Ballet has come under considerable criticism for its performances under the acting artistic direction of Yuri Fateyev.  The General Director decides the reason for the drop in quality is due to the Vaganova Academy?  All this seems very convenient at a time when the Ballet Company needs additional pratice space, and a certain well connected former Bolshoi dancer with ambitions needs a bright lights job.   But Gergiev wants someone who he can control, so he goes after a different bright lights name.  

 

This will not cure the ills of the Mariinsky.   Keep Asylmuratova at the Academy and put Kolpatkova in charge of the Mariinsky Ballet company.

Jayne - yes. Gergiev needs "support" and if he were to "appoint" (again, by what legal means?) the AD of the Vaganova Academy it would give him utter control over that institution as well. Due to her political connections during the Soviet era, I do not feel Kolp as head of the MT is a good idea.



#8 Catherine

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Posted 27 October 2013 - 12:34 AM

  She's been in New York for a long time.

 

 

For this reason as well I'm not sure bringing her back is even a practical decision. She's spent over 26 yrs in NYC...she's in tune with that dance climate and not the one in Russia at present time. She is not in touch with what has gone on locally (unless via phonecalls with friends in Russia), and unlike the pedagogues locally who remained devoted to their company/school and did not leave when the going got tough, so to speak, she has chosen to go after the easy money in the West, and return only when a cushy position is offered her (if she were to be offered and accept, that is). I think that would speak volumes about what kind of person she is. Her maneouvering during the Soviet period was highly political. This too would be political.



#9 Mme. Hermine

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Posted 27 October 2013 - 01:21 AM

The only volume that I would speak about her in the US is one of great affection, whereas it is clear that you do not. And before you question if I speak from  experience of her or not, I do.



#10 Catherine

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Posted 27 October 2013 - 01:23 AM

I too have experience with her. Her political background should be acknowledged, then and now.



#11 Mme. Hermine

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Posted 27 October 2013 - 01:59 AM

That's as far as I am willing to take this with you.



#12 Birdsall

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Posted 27 October 2013 - 05:16 AM

I do think that the Vaganova Academy does seem to teach a very unique and special style and feeds into the Mariinsky (therefore, the Mariinsky also has its special and unique style). So few ballet companies have a "unique" style anymore. 

 

It makes me worry when someone has been living elsewhere for years and teaching (and seeing different styles and maybe being influenced by these different styles) taking over the Vaganova Academy. Even if she is a product of that training I can't imagine her last 26 years in NYC not influencing her at all. 

 

Opera lovers cry over the loss of the unique french style of singing. This is what will happen if things continue the way they are in Russia. The Mariinsky will no longer be unique and special. Maybe it is inevitable. International generic style is what happens when an art is embraced all over the world. If the Mariinsky becomes "international" one day I guess I will at least be able to save a lot of money, but I would still be sad. 



#13 canbelto

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Posted 27 October 2013 - 07:34 AM

Kolpakova is 80 years old and has a family in NY. She's also queen bee of the ABT -- the chief coach and indispensable to Kevin McKenzie. I doubt she'd be willing to take such a heavy position at this time. 



#14 elena

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Posted 27 October 2013 - 08:08 AM

Even if they were to change Asylmuratova, the teachers within the Academy would remain and they are, as a collective, the ones responsible for training and continuing the style.

 

Not that the person at the top does not have influence, but they also have administrative duties; all of the history and style does not rest on Asylmuratova's shoulders, nor should it rest on hers or any single person. Seems a bit of a cop out to me for Gergiev to say he is dissatisfied with the company and put it all on the Academy - especially when it is widely commented that many are unhappy with the *acting* Artistic Director of the MT (which is another topic that has been debated a lot on here and elsewhere, I realize, so I won't beat the dead horse, as it were).

 

All of this is a bit bizarre, to say the least.



#15 Helene

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Posted 27 October 2013 - 09:48 AM

The Vaganova School has produced many beautifully trained dancers over the last decade. If there's any aesthetic basis to Gergiev's power play -- talk about political -- it could be that the school has not produced enough contortionists. Kolpakova certainly wouldn't be more successful in this area. She would understand the coaching and training necessary to dance the rep into which the Bolshoi and Mariinsky have been trending.

Plenty of musicians, teachers, dancers, and figure skating coaches went abroad in the early '90's, and many were politically connected to the Soviet system. Many have returned, some to great resentment that they are not flogged publicly for leaving, but to target Kolpakova would mean targeting many who've been welcomed back by the public. (Alexei Yagudin, who wore a Canada team jacket as a spectator at the SLC Olympics, draws crowds whenever he appears, replaced hip and all.) Kolpakova would face similar resentment within the School; however, part of Gergiev's strategy might be to clean house, which would solve that issue.

Also, if Kolpakova has a fully oufitted free apartment in St. Petersburg, and got to pocket any cash she made, however low the salary, moving to NYC on salary for ABT in what is one of the most expensive cities in the world (then and now) far from family and friends in a place where ballet isn't nearly as respected, where there isn't fully subsidized institutional training, where she had to work in another language, and where she went from being a household name and cultural hero to being known and respected in a very small niche, is not exactly living high on the hog.

A great opportunity that she's made the most of, surely.


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