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Osipova and Vasiliev to leave The Bolshoi


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According to several Russian news agencies, Natalia Osipova and Ivan Vasiliev have submitted their resignation and are leaving for the Mikhailovsky Theater in Petersburg.

Apparently, the Bolshoi General Manager A. Iskhanov has not signed the dancers' release papers yet and the Bolshoi Ballet Artistic Director S.Filin has said that he would try to persuade Osipova and Vasiliev to stay. They both are said to have two weeks to reconsider and change their minds.

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Holy moley! Why on earth if not for money being offered by the Miki-Bananas Theater with their bright lighting and shiny automobiles advertised at the entrance? That would be a huge artistic step down - from Petipa to Duato. Furthermore, does Ivan Vasiliev really want to go toe-to-toe with Leonid Sarafanov...both so similar? Nothing makes sense except the money.

Link to one of many articles today, from respected Russian newspapers:


In this particular article, in Vedomosti, author Anna Galaida is puzzled by the motivations. For starters, the dancers would be leaving behind their beloved coaches, Kondratieva & Valdimirov. Also, the article cites that Vasiliev is being prepared for a debut as Ivan the Terrible during the 2012/13 season (Grigorovich ballet created on Vasiliev's coach, Yuri Vladimirov). In the current season, Vasiliev is still expected to debut 'L'Arlesienne' for the upcoming Roland Petit tribute gala on Dec 28, while Osipova is preparing for her debut as Masha/Sugarplum in the Grigorovich Nutcracker next month.

Another thought: Could the grip of Grigorovich and insistence on dancing his ballets be a big turn-off to the young stars? Come to think of it, they have not danced in many Grigorovich ballets, except for Spartacus. [On the other hand, even Grigorovich isn't going to be around forever.]

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Perhaps they are unhappy with Bolshoi management? It hardly seems money would be the motivator. Wouldn't the Bolshoi be the more prestigious and higher paying contract? I wonder if they dislike the renovated stage. With all the fancy turn table capabilities, the floor is still well sprung isn't it? I kept wondering when I watched the grand opening... But surely we would have heard by now if there were any problem.

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Russia’s biggest theater is trying to persuade them to stay and the Bolshoi bosses say the couple have not yet signed their letters of resignation.

The stars themselves have not yet given any comments.

[ ... ]

And the Bolshoi is doing its best to keep them. “We will carry out talks with them and persuade them to stay, offering them a freer schedule,” Sergei Filin, artistic director of the Bolshoi, told RIA Novosti.

Hmmm. A negotiating ploy on the part of two very hot international stars?

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"Now is the winter of our discontent . . ."

It's Monday... This is huge. It looks to me like they're trying to negotiate for 1) more money and 2) more exposure and opportunities, (not necessarily in that order). Re point no. 1 Mr. Kehkman has billions, but he's wanting re point no. 2. Natalia is right in that Vasiliev would be in the same boat as Sarafanov at the Mik, and that Duato is not in the same galaxy as Petipa. Sarafanov hasn't advanced himself further since his move to the Mik from the Mariinsky, and has been relegated to comparatively inferior productions of the Petipa classics there. Mr. Duato hasn't used him in any significant way - yet. In contrast Vasiliev hasn't been given very many opportunities to be the Prince at the Bolshoi. Also, Osipova has been given her first opportunities as Juliet and Aurora with ABT, not the Bolshoi. For her, this is huge. She is a soubrette/virtuosa hybrid and she has proven herself in "Giselle," and "La Sylphide," and most notably "Don Q." She's also danced Nikiya and Gamzatti, but not O/O, Raymonda or Aurora at the Bolshoi and she's a Principal Dancer, (and he is too). In fact, she's making her debut as Masha in Grigorovich's "Nutcracker" and not Aurora in his "new with Paris Opera Ballet designs" edition of his 1973 production. If not now, then when? So, I get their motivation for shopping themselves around for a "package deal." But they may have bitten off more than they can chew and burned the Bolshoi bridge behind them ... Time will tell.

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Bart, I thought about the negotiation ploy too. To get to this point, O/V must have negotiated 'step one' with the Mik/Kekhman. (You can't fake it without an initial offer which will then be counter-offered.)

Also, now that I've read complete discussions in BolshoiFriends and other Russian-lang fora, I can report that some long-time Bolshoi followers are pointing to the hand of Tsiskaridze in all of this. I don't believe that O/V are his 'puppets' but NT is most certainly disgruntled & many think that he 'stirs the pot.'

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We are evolving and we want to go for­ward. At the Bolshoi Theatre it is dif­fi­cult to be pigeon-holed… We want to dance as much as pos­sible, espe­cially new choreography. For artists, the size of the stage doesn’t mat­ter, but the oppor­tun­ity to per­form and raise the qual­ity of the performance.

From Ivan Vasiliev's Facebook page.

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With all due respect to Vasiliev's Facebook words...

O & V must be quite naive to think that their "quality of performance" can be raised by Nacho Duato. Really? Are the greatest classical ballet dancers trying to 'match' the dancing of Netherlands Dans Theater or Compania Espanol de Danza? REALLY????

I respect peoples' personal wishes but...REALLLLLY?????

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They might be able to guest a lot more at the Mkhailovsky and not be tied to the Bolshoi performance schedule.

Also, what dancers enjoy performing isn't always the greatest work and/or what the audience wants to see them in. Dancers at PNB often cite Nacho Duato's "Jardi Tancat" as one of their favorite things to dance, and audiences here lap it up every time it's presented.

Baryshnikov was cast in the classics -- although he said that he didn't perform enough -- and a reason he gave for defecting was the opportunity to dance contemporary (at his time) ballet and modern dance. Not everything he danced after leaving the Soviet Union was on par with what he danced there.

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One thing I'm surprised they're not considering is that while the Bolshoi might pay less. and be a bit more rigid in terms of dancing schedules, they get a lot of exposure because the Bolshoi is looked upon as a cultural center in a way the Mikh is not. The Bolshoi's cinema-casts in HD are broadcast across the world, and both Osipova and Vasiliev have been featured in the latest Bolshoi DVD releases. They tour a lot internationally. It's doubtful O&V will get the same opportunities at the Mikh.

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Absolutely, Canbelto. I don't recall a Live-in-Cinemas broadcast of the Miki-Bananas Theater company. And I cannot imagine two dancers who have guested on a more regular basis around the globe during the past 3 years that Osipova-Vasiliev. They took over when Letestu-Martinez stopped doing the gala circuit.

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I wonder what David Hallberg is thinking. This reminds me a bit of how Peter Martins was hired mainly to partner Suzanne Farrell, and then she left the company soon afterwards.

Of course, that worked out very well with him, and the Bolshoi has cast Hallberg with Zakharova for the "Sleeping Beauty" to be broadcast this weekend.

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Hallberg and Osipova are just fine. They danced a wonderful GISELLE last week and many in the audience remarked about the genuine feeling of friendship (palpable charisma) between the two. Perhaps Vasiliev was also hoping for similar opportunities in the danseur-noble rep...and those opportunities are now diminished not only by the hiring of Hallberg but also the tall princely Simon Chudin from the Stanislavsky?

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Right now there seems to be a 'bad feeling' in Moscow for what is perceived to be Tsikaridze's 'stirring of the pot' (such as comments in press about the remodeled Bolshoi looking like a Turkish parlour).

As for O&V - I am guessing that there's more to the present story. Their ultimate goal is probably 'permanent' status somewhere other than the Mik and Nacho Duato.

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Osipova has said on her FB it's because of "lack of repertoire." Compared to the Mikhailovsky, the Bolshoi looks like a veritable feast of rep. I guess she means personal repertoire, but the Bolshoi has many ballerinas to take care of.

I too am guessing it has to do with more freedom to guest, but also the fact that they are young and want to dance everything whether it's appropriate or not; the Bolshoi has just started to let Alexandrova do a bigger rep outside of her emploi as she has grown as an artist...I'm guessing Osipova would be allowed to eventually as well (and Vasiliev) once some of their rawness is tamped down.


Here is her FB statement:

For me, a native Muscovite, the decision to move to The Mikhailovsky - Is a very serious step. The main reason why I'm leaving the Bolshoi Theatre - is the lack of repertoire: everything that you could dance, I danced. We are going for creative freedom. Life has become too comfortable for me, I feel a great need for change and desire for artistic expression. I hope you understand and have a beautiful day!
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It's a fair accompli, as per the Mikhahilovsky's home page:


Their official debut as Prima Ballerina and Premier Danseur of the company will be December 1, 2011, as part of the Mikhailovsky Prix gala (yet another gala....). http://www.mikhailov...ha/?action=next

Related to this, I see that the premiere of Duato's Sleeping Beauty has been moved up to December 16, 2011 (originally announced for February 2012). No castings yet.

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According to to today's Link from AFP calling the possibly the Bolshoi's two greatest attractions, I think Maria Alexandrova has something to say about that every time she sets foot on a stage ;)

I hope Osipova and Vasiliev get everything they're looking for from this move. They are great dancers, and they have a great future in front if them.

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Hallberg and Osipova are just fine. They danced a wonderful GISELLE last week and many in the audience remarked about the genuine feeling of friendship (palpable charisma) between the two.

I wasn't asking personally: I was asking the question professionally, since the two have a wonderful partnership, and that will be gone from the Bolshoi stage, at least the way it appears now.

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