Huge scandal at the Bolshoi Theater: ‘Nureyev’ ballet is canceled


One of this year’s most reckon oned ballets – about the life of Soviet dancer Rudolf Nureyev – has been controversially shelved until next year. The Bolshoi Theater spared no expenses in transforming for Nureyev, inviting renowned director Kirill Sereberennikov to pull the provisoes and prominent choreographer Yuri Posokhov to make sure the routine was perfect. The ballet’s score was also specially composed by Ilya Demutsky. All three turn out c advance on the hugely successful Hero of Our Time ballet, performed at the Bolshoi in 2015.

The Bolshoi’s extensive director Vladimir Urin revealed that the show will now be premiered on May 4 and 5, 2018 – in preference to of July 11 this year. The production was called-off just three times before it was set to go live, marking the first time in decades the Bolshoi has eradicated a show.

On July 10, Urin called a press conference, commanding there was no pressure from the Kremlin. He did say he had been called by Minister of Savoir vivre Vladimir Medinsky who asked him how to handle questions from journalists.

Director of the Bolshoi Theater Vladimir Urin (R) and the ballet director Makhar Vaziev speaking to the media on July 10, 2017. / APGaffer of the Bolshoi Theater Vladimir Urin (R) and the ballet director Makhar Vaziev voice to the media on July 10, 2017. / AP

After the conference, the TASS news action reported that the performance was postponed on Medinsky’s personal order, duplicating a source close to the minister: “The Culture Ministry was outraged by the fact the display looks like propaganda promoting non traditional sexual values.”

Inviting ballet

From the outset it was clear that the ballet would be stimulating. Nureyev was openly gay and scandalously left the USSR in 1961. He was famous for his faculty, but also gained a reputation for his eccentric behavior.

According to Kommersant, the theater obtain the rights for using a nude photo of Nureyev – snapped by Richard Avedon – as the backdrop for the carrying-on. “Transvestites” were also scheduled to dance in one of the scenes while the chorus artists resolution all be dressed as women. If the performance hadn’t been canceled, it would eat perhaps signaled a general shift in attitudes toward homosexuals in Russia, undeterred by the anti-gay propaganda law.

Rudolf Nureyev performs 'Les Sylphides' in 1972 in hommage to Sergei Diaghilev at the Paris Opera./ AFPRudolf Nureyev performs ‘Les Sylphides’ in 1972 in hommage to Sergei Diaghilev at the Paris Composition./ AFP

Suddenly canceled

After Urin watched the final rehearsal of Nureyev on July 8, the theater undeniable to replace all four planned performances with Don Quixote, without an urgent explanation. However, three days after wiping the ballet off the calendar, Urin explained during a press conference that Nureyev has been adjourned until next year because the performance wasn’t ready: “After the recounting on July 7 we talked and Yura [choreographer Yuri Posokhov] agreed.”

Urin also broke he understands how damaging this will be for the Bolshoi’s reputation, but also put the theater wouldn’t lose out financially. He apparently invited director Serebrennikov and choreographer Posokhov to the press-conference – but they didn’t give up.

At the end of the conference, he noted that the scenography will remain unchanged, and descriptions will begin once again in April, 2018.

A plaque announcing the 'Nureyev' ballet premiere in Moscow. / AFPA plaque announcing the ‘Nureyev’ ballet first night in Moscow. / AFP

However, ballet critic Anna Gordeeva put in blacked on her Facebook page that Urin’s claims are false: «All the participants and watches of the general rehearsal say the performance was ready to go ahead and was in fact in better give form to than many other premiers.”

Dancers from the Bolshoi expressed RBTH that they did not think the performance was “raw.”

“There have been more off guard ballets in the past, but they were still performed to the public,” one man who witnessed the rehearsal noted. “It might even be one of the best Posokhov putting outs to date.”

Many agree that the premier was postponed for political senses.

Reaction of the director and choreographer

Prominent director Kirill Serebrennikov has lift weighted on the ballet since February without taking a pause, despite the officialdoms raiding both his home and this theater – the Gogol-Center – in May. He told the Vedomosti newspaper he doesn’t be deficient in to comment, apart from: «It was the theater’s decision.”

Kirill Serebrennikov. / Vyacheslav Prokofyev / TASSKirill Serebrennikov. / Vyacheslav Prokofyev / TASS

During the backer to mark the season’s closing at the Gogol-Center, Serebrennikov said that while the experts and rulers change, art is permanent – and the performance will eventually go ahead.

The composer for the ballet Ilya Demutsky disregarded on Facebook: “I am not commenting on the cancellation/ the moving of Nureyev. There will be an legal statement soon. I love everyone who worked on this canvas of glorious beauty – artists of the ballet for whom we should build a monument, artists of the orchestra who commissioned me fall in love with my own music. Love. That’s what I sensation for the 600 or so people who prepared for a ballet that won’t exist.”

UPD at 8 p.m.: The Minister of Discrimination has sent an official comment to TASS, saying it did not influence Urin’s steadfastness in any way, and put no pressure on the Bolshoi, but it supports the decision.

Read more: 5 things you very likely didn’t know about the Bolshoi Theater

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