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A still from social media film of the 'Nureyev' dress rehearsal
28 JULY 17
It's reported from Moscow that the sensationally cancelled new Bolshoi ballet about Rudolf Nureyev may be premiered by the end of this year, after the Bolshoi Theatre's trustees - including Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich - overruled the theatre boss's announcement two weeks ago that it would not be seen before May next year.
According to the ballet critic of the business paper Kommersant, the well-informed Tatiana Kuznetsova, general director Vladimir Urin has backed down in the face of the trustees' pressure to limit the huge reputational damage done to the Bolshoi by his last-minute cancellation of the controversial ballet.
Due to the sudden death of the master restorer Sergei Vikharev last month a planned revival in December of his Coppelia production may not now happen - making a potential space for Nureyev.
Kuznetsova writes that the cat was let out of the bag by the Bolshoi's chief conductor Tugan Sokhiev this week in an interview in Finland.
Here's my translation.
"Nureyev" delay reduced
The official premiere of the ballet Nureyev not only will take place, but it may be held several months earlier than previously said, according to the Bolshoi Theatre’s chief conductor and music director Tugan Sokhiev.
Sokhiev was commenting on the situation around Nureyev in Finland, where he and the Bolshoi Opera are performing in the Savonlinna Opera Festival.
In an interview with the Helsingin Sanomat newspaper, Sokhiev responded to questions about the reputational damage to the Bolshoi due to the cancellation of the Nureyev premiere. At first the conductor directed the interviewer to ask the theatre’s general director, but then unexpectedly opened up about the state of affairs in more detail:
“As far as I know, the project, having been staged in the studio, was complicated to transfer to the large stage. To create the ballet the theatre invited a good composer, a brilliant choreographer and an interesting director. Very likely they needed extra time, and as far as I know, the premiere should be happening before the new year, despite that fact that it was said it would be next May, as they all had other work.”
Coppelia makes way for Nureyev
The music director’s version confirmed information obtained by Kommersant that the premiere of Nureyev might take place in mid-December.
The fact is that on December 14 the plan was to revive Coppelia. However, due to the sudden death of the balletmaster Sergei Vikharev, the creator of the reconstruction of the old ballet by Marius Petipa and Enrico Cecchetti, the production may be postponed indefinitely — hence a run of Nureyev could logically be fit into the schedule.
If that were to be the case, there would be one defined, short period of time to bring the production back, since in November two Moscow premieres are already scheduled: a one-act ballet by Jiri Kylian to Britten’s music, The Forgotten Land (November 2), and Alexei Ratmansky’s staging of Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet (November 22-26). Nonetheless, Kommersant understands that both the director Serebrennikov and the choreographer Possokhov have agreed to return to the Bolshoi in the first half of December to stage the Nureyev premiere.
According to Kommersant's information the Bolshoi Theatre’s council of trustees insisted on a speedy appearance of the production - in particular Roman Abramovich, who was present on July 8 at the final showing of Nureyev: it seems that the theatre’s general director Vladimir Urin backed down in the face of trustee pressure.
The premiere’s rescheduling from May 2018 to December 2017 is indirect evidence of Urin’s sincerity when he asserted at the July 10 press conferences, that the premiere of Nureyev scheduled for July 11 would not take place for reasons exclusively decided by the theatre’s directorship; he said there had been no phone calls from "above", no threats either direct or indirect on the production. And we may hope that before the end of the year it will be possible to assess the merits and flaws of the year’s most noised world premiere not via a pirate tape, but in live performance.
"As far as I know, the premiere should be happening before the new year"