Deflope

Nureyev premier postponed to 2018/2019

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Posted (edited)

It was set to premier on Tuesday, July 11 but the performances have been cancelled. Going by  Alexandrova's Instagram, this seems to be a bureaucratic or political decision. The scenographer, Kirill Serebrennikov, is on the outs with the Russian government and Bolshoi officials have expressed their support for him. 

 

I'm wondering if there was also material that the cultural ministry deemed objectionable (I.e. References to Nureev's personal life. The cast list I saw had a character named Erik, which probably is meant to be Erik Bruhn) I saw the Eifman Ballet's Tchaikovsky and Red Giselle productions recently and noticed a conspicuous lack of homosexual references in the former, even though it was blatant in the latter. The culture minister made headlines when he tried to deny Tchaikovsky was gay and some movies that have gay characters have been deemed as gay propaganda. 

Edited by Deflope

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Posted (edited)

Maria Alexandrova alludes to the 1930s.

Vladislav Lantratov writes that the cancellation is like having a small life ripped out of him.

Kristina Kretova and Olga Kishnyova say the official line is that the ballet isn't ready. (Entirely possible, but surely that would have been obvious for some time.)

 

The Nureyev page on the Bolshoi website has been scrubbed.

http://bolshoi.ru/en/performances/1025/

 

Replacement performances of Don Quixote are being cast hastily. The Bolshoi will hold a press conference on the matter on Monday.

Edited by volcanohunter

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Thanks for the translations of dancers' comments. 

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Posted (edited)

Anna Okuneva posted some footage of reaction to the final dress rehearsal. She disputes the explanation that the ballet is "not ready," describing it as "unbelievably powerful, beautiful, sexual and endlessly touching." She writes futher that she finally understands Nureyev and why "he decided to forsake his land, loved ones, home. He chose the freedom, which we don't have."

Vera Borisenkova posted some footage shot from backstage. (She holds out little hope that the ballet will ever see the light of day.)

Post-dress reheasal shot in which everyone looked very pleased.

 

Edited by volcanohunter

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A very depressing thing to have happened. I admire the dancers who have been so forthright in their dismay--and hope it doesn't bring them any grief.

 

The rather last minute nature of the cancellation is striking to me as well. The production has hardly been a secret.  I can't help wondering what kind of struggle has been going on over the ballet's fate...

 

I suppose there is some dark irony in the fact that Rudolf Nureyev is still riling up at least some parts of the Russian establishment.

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Deflope mentioned that director Kirill Serebrennikov, the librettist and set designer of Nureyev, is often at odds with the Russian government. These are some press stories about his most recent legal difficulties, which emerged just a few weeks ago.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/russian-director-detained-35m-fraud-probe-1007094

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/artists-areprotesting-as-russia-targets-anavant-garde-theater-director/2017/05/27/8b6af55c-4151-11e7-b29f-f40ffced2ddb_story.html

https://themoscowtimes.com/articles/je-suis-malobrodsky-theater-politics-and-russian-scandal-58281

 

So far Serebrennikov has declined to comment on the cancellation of Nureyev, stating only that it was the Bolshoi's decision.
https://www.vedomosti.ru/lifestyle/articles/2017/07/08/716045-serebrennikov-ob-otmene-baleta

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Posted (edited)

The idea of the Bolshoi dancing a Nureyev ballet was never one of my favorites, but I'm dismayed at its being "postponed" in this way. Another video of post-dress-rehearsal applause and cheers:

 

 

Edited by Drew

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Posted (edited)

Video of Vladimir Urin informing the dancers of the "postponement" has been posted online. The audio is a bit fuzzy, and I wouldn't attempt transcribing the whole thing, but the crux of his argument is that the production needs at least one additional month of rehearsal--and supposedly the production team agrees. Since the 2017-18 season has already been planned, carving out that much rehearsal time in the schedule is impossible, and therefore the production will have to wait until the season after that. This meeting took place before the final dress "rehearsal," which was filmed for the purposes of reconsructing the ballet a year-plus from now. I suppose it bears pointing out that some of the dancers who have been rehearsing the ballet, including Maria Alexandrova, Nina Kaptsova (who has just been shunted to the somewhat ignominious "working under contract" category) and perhaps even Ekaterina Shipulina, may no longer be around the Bolshoi, say, 15 months from now, and many of the other roles may also need to be recast, so it's not as though the production can be easily resuscitated and then "fixed" in the space of a month.

 

 

This photo from Oksana Sharova is rather telling. Even as the final dress rehearsal was taking place, replacement costumes for Don Quixote were already being wheeled into place.

It's not only the dancers who are gutted by the cancellation. The wardrobe department is also distraught about its work apparently going down the drain.

Edited by volcanohunter

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The Bolshoi certainly could have used a month's more rehearsal before broadcasting Etudes to the world. But in the case of Nureyev, I find it...let's say...curious that Urin and the creative team (supposedly) decided five days before the premier that the ballet wasn't ready.  

 

So far, Serebrennikov says only that it was the theater's decision. And where, I wonder, will he be in over a year's time? 

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Off topic I know, but Kaptsova's demotion is disturbing.  She was a constant delight when the company came to London last year, whereas others cast were most emphatically not.

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Perhaps we are to believe that the after the Bolshoi's Etudes was put on stage in a clearly under-rehearsed state and broadcast to the world in that wobbly condition, the company really learned its lesson and decided never, ever to put a new production on stage until it's absolutely stage-worthy. But it's awfully hard to imagine how a production supposedly so far from being ready ever reached the point of stage rehearsals. It's also a little hard to square Serebrennikov's comment about the postponement being the decision of the Bolshoi Theater with Urin's assertion that the production team agrees with the need to postpone the premiere.

 

When the same team's Hero of Our Time premiered about this time two years ago, it re-appeared the following season in November and in March. Presumably autumnal and springtime runs of Nureyev had been scheduled also, and those blocks will have to be filled with something else now.

 

I, too, am greatly distressed by the apparent decision to begin phasing out Kaptsova. Previously that weird category had been used for dancers over the age of forty--and Kaptsova is 38--who hadn't been performing very much, while Kaptsova is one of the company's most active female principals. I'm completely at a loss as to why the company would begin sidelining her. Sadly, a purge seems to be underway, with Anna Antonicheva, Marianna Ryzhkina and Dmitry Gudanov recently removed from the roster, Kaptsova and Maria Allash now "demoted" and Alexandrova's status uncertain for months now. The Bolshoi has a heavy concentration of the classes of 1996-98 in its principal ranks (as do many companies out there; it's an exceptionally gifted generation of dancers), and it's not only heartbreaking to watch them being discarded one by one, it's also a colossally stupid way to squander such talent, knowledge and experience.

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A question -- who actually owns this ballet?  The physical production would be the property of the company, obviously, but what about the choreography?  As a freelance choreographer, Possokhov isn't an employee of the company, and so would likely have signed a contract for this ballet -- does anyone know (or know who would know) what that contract stipulates?

 

I can't, off the top of my head, think of a company who would want to stage this right now, but if indeed the work never makes it to the stage in Russia, would it be possible for Possokhov to set it elsewhere?

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Posted (edited)

Vaziev wants to put his stamp on the company, and create room for the dancers he is cultivating including some he is bringing in from outside. I agree or disagree or have no opinion on these various decisions...I certainly do watch them with wariness. But the long term postponement--and possible cancellation-- of a production for what appear to be political and, I would add, bigoted, reasons is rather more troubling to me. One may say it is the cost of ballet's importance to Russia that the government (with its religious allies) takes an interest in it. But at a certain point the costs become grotesquely high. I don't expect the Bolshoi to be a cauldron of the avant-garde, but Serebrennikov (and Possokhov for that matter, not to mention Nureyev) was a known entity, and Urin had publicly defended him when he was first taken in for questioning. And are we to suppose that until this week Urin had no idea what was in the works for this ballet? Now Serebrennikov's troubles with the regime have deepened, and the production is suddenly not ready...Urin may have had no choice (that is, if he is unwilling to resign in protest -- and I understand that he may not care to find himself being investigated for 'embezzlement') or maybe he did. Either way, it's a very chilling moment for the Bolshoi. 

 

Regarding Sandik's question: while I hope, in principle, that the ballet gets produced somewhere, it's still perhaps worth underlining what we all understand: Nureyev was created for the Bolshoi theater and the Bolshoi dancers; in that context, it would mean something different and even, in a manner of speaking, BE something different than, say, in Paris or San Francisco. (I underline that I have no idea if I would like this ballet--perhaps I would think it was crap. But worse than any other crap the Bolshoi has danced? Unlikely.)

Edited by Drew

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Without wishing to get too political, We've seen deeply disturbing footage in Britain regarding LGBT prejudice in Russia, tacitly approved of by the authorities and encouraged by the Russian orthodox church, I suppose with the persecution of journalists, artistic censorship shouldn't come as a shock. 

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Just now, Mashinka said:

Without wishing to get too political, We've seen deeply disturbing footage in Britain regarding LGBT prejudice in Russia, tacitly approved of by the authorities and encouraged by the Russian orthodox church, I suppose with the persecution of journalists, artistic censorship shouldn't come as a shock. 

Unfortunately, this is very true. Perhaps I have been assuming in some unthinking way that the prestige of the Bolshoi would protect it. It's a very depressing situation.

 

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I think the suppression of "Nureyev" is very much in the context that Mashinka describes.

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The YT video of Urin talking to the dancers is depressing. They are sitting there blankly, and completely silent and not even paying attention to him or reacting. Their body language says it all: disgust, disappointment, fatigue. 

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It looks fascinating, definitely critical of Soviet politicalization of ballet (and art).  

 

 

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Posted (edited)

delete

Edited by maps

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"Neither Serebrennikov nor choreographer Yuri Possokhov have commented on the theatre’s decision. Urin said they had been invited to speak at Monday’s briefing but declined to attend."

 

Well.

 

The revised premiere date is May 2018, so next season after all, albeit after Russia's presidential election.

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20 hours ago, Helene said:

I think the suppression of "Nureyev" is very much in the context that Mashinka describes.

 

I agree -- this does sound like a place where the outside world is running the inside world.

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This sounds like a great ballet for Possokhov's home troupe, San Francisco Ballet! Hopefully it may transfer there, eventually.

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