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Tsis­karidze & Lopatk­ina at the Vag­an­ova Bal­let Academy


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#151 puppytreats

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Posted 07 November 2013 - 07:58 AM

More curious, then, is Gergiev's role heading the orchestras of other major cities internationally.  What does that say about Putin or Russia?

 

Tamicute, your statement about taking out rival garbage collectors for political favors and getting a piece of the pie is even more telling than the other words you have used to explain Gergiev's treatment of the ballet, and the absence of input by the ballet in designing the new buildings.   



#152 Cygnet

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Posted 07 November 2013 - 09:23 AM

Puppytreats wrote:

 

More curious, then, is Gergiev's role heading the orchestras of other major cities internationally.  

 

Exactly.  What is the end game?  How does a former staff conductor become General Director of one (1) Theatre

and morph into Earth's unofficial Czar of Music?  How could that happen?  Think about that.  Might I suggest that 

other superior conductors of the past and present didn't demand, nor expect the kind of outsize recognition 

and adulation that this man does.  It seems that having Gergiev at the podium is compulsory.

 

I'm ITA with Tamicute's comments because in today's Russia, money walks, talks, dances, wins competitions & government titles - and gets people fired.   For now, this is a done deal regardless of the outcry.  Whatever the

outcome of this new arrangement, the consequences for the Vaganova Academy and the Mariinsky Ballet

(in particular) will be laid at the feet of those who put all of these events in motion in the first place. 



#153 Helene

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Posted 07 November 2013 - 11:51 AM

More curious, then, is Gergiev's role heading the orchestras of other major cities internationally.  What does that say about Putin or Russia?
 
Tamicute, your statement about taking out rival garbage collectors for political favors and getting a piece of the pie is even more telling than the other words you have used to explain Gergiev's treatment of the ballet, and the absence of input by the ballet in designing the new buildings.   

Whatever one thinks of Gergiev, when the Soviet Union dissolved, Gergiev not only went west to earn a living, but he plowed some of that money back into the Mariinsky. If he hadn't driven the effort to privatize the Mariinsky quickly, and if he hadn't spent huge amounts of time fund-raising, there might not be much of a Mariinsky to discuss now. Russian figure skating was gutted for 15-20 years, and only the athletes who started in the Soviet Era were successful until recently. With few exceptions, the most successful Soviet era coaches came to the US to train their skaters, to be able to earn a living and for decent ice conditions.

Whatever one might think of his conducting, almost every conductor is a staff conductor at one time or another. Leonard Bernstein was a staff conductor. James Levine was a staff conductor.

It also makes little intuitive sense for Gergiev to starve the Mariinsky Ballet in any way if anyone was making money off of it, since it's the cash cow that funds everything else. It makes business sense to make cuts and "starve" non-profitable ventures.

#154 Cygnet

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Posted 07 November 2013 - 01:01 PM

 

More curious, then, is Gergiev's role heading the orchestras of other major cities internationally.  What does that say about Putin or Russia?
 
Tamicute, your statement about taking out rival garbage collectors for political favors and getting a piece of the pie is even more telling than the other words you have used to explain Gergiev's treatment of the ballet, and the absence of input by the ballet in designing the new buildings.   

Whatever one thinks of Gergiev, when the Soviet Union dissolved, Gergiev not only went west to earn a living, but he plowed some of that money back into the Mariinsky. If he hadn't driven the effort to privatize the Mariinsky quickly, and if he hadn't spent huge amounts of time fund-raising, there might not be much of a Mariinsky to discuss now. Russian figure skating was gutted for 15-20 years, and only the athletes who started in the Soviet Era were successful until recently. With few exceptions, the most successful Soviet era coaches came to the US to train their skaters, to be able to earn a living and for decent ice conditions.

Whatever one might think of his conducting, almost every conductor is a staff conductor at one time or another. Leonard Bernstein was a staff conductor. James Levine was a staff conductor.

It also makes little intuitive sense for Gergiev to starve the Mariinsky Ballet in any way if anyone was making money off of it, since it's the cash cow that funds everything else. It makes business sense to make cuts and "starve" non-profitable ventures.

 

 

Maestro Gergiev knows diddly about classical ballet, doesn't care about it, then turns around and complains that the artistic level and quality of Vaganova graduates is inadequate.  But, it's Yuri Fateev, his appointee who hires the graduates (who wish to join the company).  Fateev decides which ones will be the standard bearers that reflect his taste.  Then, in conjunction with the Ministry of Culture, Gergiev goes on to make seismic and sweeping decisions which could adversely effect the future of the Academy and the company he is ultimately responsible for. Gergiev has gone on record in Western and Russian media over the years stating that he's no ballet expert and has only perfunctory knowledge of it.  What's wrong with this picture?  Gergiev's and the Mariinsky Ballet's current condition is akin to a hamster on a wheel.

 

Everyone has to start somewhere.  However, unlike Gergiev, Bernstein & Levine (and others of their stature), weren't appointed, (in Leonard's case, to his penultimate position), nor Levine (currently), by a Congress or a President.  Nor did they make or temper their decisions for their institutions on that basis as Gergiev does for his institution.  In Russia, (and everywhere else), he (or she) who has the deepest pockets runs the show and makes the rules.  It's also 'who you know and how you know them.'  Why did all of this happen?  Follow the money.  I agree with you on your last point.  If nothing else, it clearly demonstrates to everyone once and for all what an exceptional bundler/politician/fundraiser Gergiev really is. 



#155 sandik

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Posted 07 November 2013 - 01:05 PM

I can't quote Buddy from this device, but reading his question was reminded of Napoleon's influence on the Paris Opera Ballet...

"Napoleon took control of the company in 1802 and with the declaration of the French Empire in 1804 renamed the company the Académie Impériale de Musique." ~ Wikipedia's Paris Opera entry

Yes, and then the Prussians stabled their horses in the opera house when they got to Paris. 

 

I think what we'd all like is a general culture that recognized the importance of the arts, and also recognized the need to let the artists make the plans.



#156 Helene

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Posted 07 November 2013 - 05:40 PM

The Kennedy Center Board appoints the President of the Kennedy Center, which is the closest thing we have in the US.  The majority of board members are appointed by the President of the United States.  Other ex officio members are designated by acts of Congress.  Were President Obama to decide to depose Michael Kaiser and appoint James Levine in his stead, I suppose he could do so by stacking the Board with people who would vote his way. If it weren't for a specific Cultural Ministry director immediately after the Russian Revolution, the Vaganova Academy and the Mariinsky Theatre would have been liquidated.

 

It's not a matter of how the heads of institutions are chosen that is uniformly good or evil:  it's the people involved.  If Iksanov, for example, had decided to interfere in artistic matters at the Bolshoi, he had every right to override Filin and the head of the opera.  Instead, he chose to stick to his areas of expertise and let the professionals handle the artistic sides.

 

Gergiev may know nothing about the ballet, but, to give another sports example, there is an International Skating Union (ISU) that is recognized by the Olympics bureaucracy as the one voice of figure skating and speed skating.  The long-time head of the ISU is from the speed-skating side, and he took the post Kerrigan knee-bash TV revenue and plowed a lot of it into developing speed skating.  Regardless of who is the head of the ISU, he or she is either coming from figure skating or speed skating; how he or she handles the job isn't by definition dictated by how much expertise he or she has in the other side.

 

The same is true of the Mariinsky:  Gergiev is an opera guy running the opera and the ballet.  I agree that he's making a mess of the ballet; his approach is a colonial/corporate raider style, which is to drain the resources without nourishing them.  However, as long as there are parents will to spend huge amounts of money to train their students at the school, and there are dancers lining up and being nourished by the work and the prestige, why would he stop?



#157 Jayne

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Posted 07 November 2013 - 07:37 PM

I think you have to keep the term "prestige" in mind when dealing with Vladimir Putin.  He loves anything prestigious that gilds his Russian Lily.  So a conductor who is lauded abroad is his friend.  He spent millions to bring the Figure Skating World Championships to Moscow when Tokyo was in doubt after the Fukishima nuclear power plant crisis.  He is spending $50 billion (or more) on the Sochi Olympics.  The ministers in his administration, and the private / public figures who surround him know this and vie for similar types of prestige.  So the  former Energy Minister who is now an oil/gas billionaire baron has a wife who is besties with Nikolai Tsiskaridze.  She is not exercising her influence because she truly believes Tsis is the shining light that will bring the Bolshoi, Mariinsky or Vagonova Academy to better things.  Rather these things are "brand names" for her - similar to owning the Gucci brand.  

 

This happens in the west as well, but on a smaller scale.  The Billionaires get involved (NYCB, Ballet San Jose, etc) without the government influence.  People are mad for power and gilding themselves with special titles, etc.  



#158 tamicute

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Posted 07 November 2013 - 07:48 PM

 However, as long as there are parents will to spend huge amounts of money to train their students at the school, and there are dancers lining up and being nourished by the work and the prestige, why would he stop?

Vaganova has always been distinctly separate from Mariinsky Ballet. If Vinogradov ever complained about the quality of dancers being produced at Vaganova, both Sergeyev and Dudinskya would have given him hell. In the past, the director was always a businessman such as Kekhman and Iskanov, and not another arts person, such as Gergiev. My opinion is that the director of a major theater in Russia should be a businessman as it always has been, however, if anyone from the arts was qualified to be director of Mariinsky Ballet, it would have to come from the pride and joy of the theater, their main money maker, BALLET. Definitely not a conductor with no training in business and no knowledge regarding the main money maker, ballet. As Gergiev has proved, he subordinates ballet grossly to opera and orchestra and as Asylmuratova said 18 days before Tsiskaridze was appointed, opera had 8 premieres last year and ballet gets nothing and Gergiev's excuse is that there is no money for ballet productions. Ballet makes more money than the orchestra and opera combined and that is easy to recognize based on ticket prices and seats sold. Ballet prices are much more expensive and ballet seats sell much more than opera and orchestra.

 

While, Gergiev does not have money to produce ballets, he is constantly finding money to build up the Stradivarius collection and his Stradivari Ensemble is performing now. A director of a theater should be promoting his main asset, but he bleeds it and uses funds to help the orchestra and opera. By any North American and European business standpoint, Gergiev should have been removed from being director, many years ago. It is his close friendship with Putin that allows Gergiev to keep his job and rob (yes rob, not divert) the ballet company of all it's income production.

Going back to Gergiev's interference with Vaganova, he has made statements which are definitely not true, namely that Vaganova is not producing the talent, when under Asylmuratova, the amount of recent talent is better than at any time in Vaganova history. Then Gergiev, who has no knowledge in evaluating talent, also has no knowledge on the financial situation of Vaganova and accused Vaganova of being in bad financial shape which Asylmuratova strongly said was not true.

 

Gergiev has an agenda to eliminate his opposition, namely Asylmuratova and Dorofeeva, to succeed in his planned arts empire proposal. Of the 3 entitiies that Gergiev wanted to join with Mariinsky under his command, he contacted Putin to remove the Arts History Museum director and now did the same with Vaganova. From anyone's standpoint in N.America or Europe, he should have no right to interfere with an important Arts Museum and no right to interfere with Vaganova. In my opinion and many, he is power hungry and ruthless in getting what he wants by contacting Putin to remove his opponents.

 

There is no justification in what he is doing regarding Vaganova and Mariinsky Ballet. He never was qualified to be director of Mariinsky and he wants complete control of Mariinsky and it seems like complete control of the other arts institutions in St Petersburg.He does not believe in delegation, thinking that he can do everything. Maybe if he did not have over 200 concerts around the world, he could do much at home, but since he is always on the road, he clearly is a failure in managing Mariinsky. Nobody can do anything without his approval.

 

Gergiev never should have been made Mariisnky director and has clearly proven incompetent in managing Mariinsky with his bias against the main asset and his being away from Mariinsky more often than he is at home, in light of nobody being allowed to make decisions without him being there to make the decisions.



#159 Helene

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Posted 07 November 2013 - 08:17 PM

The Mariinsky Ballet and the Mariinsky Opera are part of the Mariinsky Theatre, and the money each earns can be used whatever way the overall director sees fit.  Whether he's qualified to make decisions or judgements about the ballet is beside the point:  he has the confidence of the people who put him there, and he has the authority to do as he pleases, regardless of what any of us think.  It *is* a standard business practice to take money from a cash cow and divert it -- yes, divert it -- into less profitable business centers, research and development, and/or pet projects of the people in charge, and boards of directors have rewarded people who've done this; removing them would be counter-productive for the decision makers.

 

At least in one respect he's been stopped:  his proposal to be the joint head of the Mariinsky and the Bolshoi was rejected; his authority and influence was proven to be limited in at least this way.  He seems to have succeeded in taking over other St. Petersburg institutions. 



#160 Birdsall

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Posted 07 November 2013 - 10:39 PM

The irony is that Gergiev seems to love to conduct Wagner's Ring, but he seems to miss the point of the work completely. Gold (money) and power corrupts and causes greed to consume the person who has the power and leads to destruction. Is he even listening to what he is conducting???



#161 Helene

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Posted 07 November 2013 - 10:44 PM

Maybe he identifies with Siegmund.



#162 tamicute

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 05:41 AM

For years as Fateyev and Gergiev were destroying Mariinsky Ballet, many have said that Vaganova was the wild card which prevented Gergiev and Fateyev from destroying the ballet company. I never imagined that Gergiev could ever do what he has done  at Vaganova. If Vaganova gets destroyed, Mariinskly Ballet will not survive as the greatest ballet company in the world, as many, who love the  St Petersburg Vaganova style over all other styles, feel.
I also have my doubts that Gergiev wants to keep these institutions. He might want to turn them into hotels or other businesses to make more money for him. He has yet to harm the Conservartory which is where Gergiev and Netrebko and so many others graduated from. He does not like ballet, but he does like opera and orchestra and it seems like he does not want to destroy the Conservatory for sentimental reasons and for the fact that it is the feeding ground of many of the  non-ballet performers at Mariinsky. Of the 3 instititutions which Gergiev wanted to join with Mariinsky under his control, Gergiev has removed the directors of 2 of those 3 institutions, but has not touched the Conservatory.
I do agree with many people in their opinions on Gergiev being a  madman and the Mariinsky Ballet tradition is in serious danger, unless Gergiev is stopped, which would mean his removal as Mariinsky director.


#163 Birdsall

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 08:20 AM

 

For years as Fateyev and Gergiev were destroying Mariinsky Ballet, many have said that Vaganova was the wild card which prevented Gergiev and Fateyev from destroying the ballet company. I never imagined that Gergiev could ever do what he has done  at Vaganova. If Vaganova gets destroyed, Mariinskly Ballet will not survive as the greatest ballet company in the world, as many, who love the  St Petersburg Vaganova style over all other styles, feel
I also have my doubts that Gergiev wants to keep these institutions. He might want to turn them into hotels or other businesses to make more money for him. He has yet to harm the Conservartory which is where Gergiev and Netrebko and so many others graduated from. He does not like ballet, but he does like opera and orchestra and it seems like he does not want to destroy the Conservatory for sentimental reasons and for the fact that it is the feeding ground of many of the  non-ballet performers at Mariinsky. Of the 3 instititutions which Gergiev wanted to join with Mariinsky under his control, Gergiev has removed the directors of 2 of those 3 institutions, but has not touched the Conservatory.
I do agree with many people in their opinions on Gergiev being a  madman and the Mariinsky Ballet tradition is in serious danger, unless Gergiev is stopped, which would mean his removal as Mariinsky director.

 

 

I thought that myself. I thought that the Vaganova Academy would always be there to replenish what was lost at the Mariinsky if things got worse at the Mariinsky. But now it looks like the Vaganova Academy could change. If Tsiskaridze views the Vaganova style as "Cemetery" style as Smekalov has said he said, then I think there will definitely be changes even if someone like Lopatkina is in charge of artistic decisions at least on paper. I actually think Lopatkina cares about the Mariinsky and the traditions judging from her performances, but she is the exact opposite of Tsiskardze at least in public. So I can picture him bulldozing through any decisions she were to make. Asylmuratova's temperament seems like a better match for Tsiskaridze if a power struggle were to ensue. 

 

I laughed at the idea that Gergiev might want to turn the Vaganova into a hotel. But maybe one day I will be crying about it. 

 

I do wonder if Gergiev is like the televangelists. I think those types start out meaning well, but then they see they can get money and power and the masses viewing them as great and it all goes to their head and they become totally corrupt and start wanting more and more and more. Same with billionaires. Why the need for billions? Isn't millions enough? They should at that point be donating like crazy to worthy causes so much that it actually hits them in the pocket book. I try to save up enough so I can make a donation to St. Francis House every year at Christmas time and I deny myself some things in life so that I can give to others who are more needy each Christmas. I think that is the whole point of living in this world. Hoarding billions is ridiculous. Hoarding power is ridiculous. People like Gergiev have totally lost track of what is important in life. 



#164 Birdsall

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 08:27 AM

Maybe he identifies with Siegmund.

 

I would think he identified with Alberich! If Gergiev were an opera singer I would want him to play Alberich!!! 



#165 tamicute

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 08:49 AM

 

 

Hoarding power is ridiculous. People like Gergiev have totally lost track of what is important in life. 

I completely agree. His world has become a 3D world of me, myself and I.




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