CriticalDance Forum

Potential change in directorship at the Mariinsky?
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Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Tue Mar 04, 2008 12:59 pm ]
Post subject:  Potential change in directorship at the Mariinsky?

Inside yet another commentary on the changing of the guard at the Bolshoi, a small tidbit hinting at similar changes for the Kirov. Although rumors of something like this have floated for some time, I've never seen this printed in a newspaper... ... hoi104.xml

"Meanwhile at St Petersburg's Maryinsky Ballet, formerly the Kirov, it emerges that Makhar Vaziev, who has long suffered the disdain of the Maryinsky's celebrated director Valery Gergiev, will quit as ballet chief next year. The battle for his chair is likely to be similarly pitiless."

Author:  vaganova [ Tue Mar 04, 2008 8:56 pm ]
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Author:  NataliaN [ Wed Mar 05, 2008 9:29 am ]
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If Grigorovich can return to the Bolshoi in an official capacity (albeit 'shared' with two others), then why not Oleg Vinogradov to the Kirov?

Other, more likely, possibilities may include:

- Igor Zelensky - currently heading the company in Siberia

- Uliana Lopatkina (but kiss good-by to the Vikharev reconstructions)

- Boris Eifman

- Nikita Dolgushin - who headed the conservatory for a long time

- Konstantin which case Irina Kolesnikova would become Prima Ballerina Assoluta

- ...or thinking way outside the box: Natalia Makarova and/or Mikhail Baryshnikov

Author:  Cassandra [ Wed Mar 05, 2008 12:00 pm ]
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What about Vikharev as director?

Author:  Buddy [ Wed Mar 05, 2008 5:05 pm ]
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NataliaN wrote:
- ...or thinking way outside the box: Natalia Makarova and/or Mikhail Baryshnikov

Or thinking somewhat farther outside the box--Suzanne Farrell.

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Thu Mar 06, 2008 9:06 pm ]
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Of course those rumors of Zelensky or Lopatkina or even Farukh heading up the Kirov were/are old ones... and at this point I find it hard to imagine that sort of switch. W/Grigorovich, at least he already had that feather in his cap... but these names just mentioned (except for Lopatkina and until this past year) hadn't any directing experience.

Now the idea of another director (Tatchkine or Dolgushin) coming over... I am not sure what to think of that. I can't imagine the MT allowing it (course, I can't imagine them embracing changes in directorship suddenly either, without some big scandal). So I wonder if Ismene Brown really has facts to base that comment on or if she was just resurfacing the same old rumor. Who knows.

Anything (anyone) who would alienate Lopatkina seems to me to be a bad choice and one Gergiev wouldn't support... but I could be wrong. I'd doubt ex-Kirov dancers have a desire to come back and run the company altho in many ways that makes the most sense looking at the other former dancers-turned directors in other companies (Nureyev - Paris Opera; Tomasson - SFB, etc). It will be interesting to see if these changes actually occur or not!

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Fri Mar 07, 2008 3:31 am ]
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I have just confirmed with the press office that the theatre does not support the claims that Ismene Brown made in that article regarding Vasiev's departure.

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Fri Mar 07, 2008 7:53 am ]
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Shared directorships are often a problem and with strong personalities vying for power, even more so. Ratmansky has done a fine job in my book with excellent productions of his own and other work and a contented company; plus winning a shed load of awards along the way. Easy to understand that he feels he has done his bit in the murky world of Russian ballet politics and would now prefer to concentrate on artistic ventures, especially when he is in such demand, given that there are so few truly successful ballet choreographers working at this time.

It will be interesting to see what happens at the Mariinsky. While Gergiev is a fine conductor, let's remember that this is the man who refused to have a meeting to discuss the tempi for the premiere of the revival of "Les Noces". Thus, I take his views on ballet with more than a pinch of salt.

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Tue Mar 18, 2008 5:04 am ]
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Apparently Ismene Brown beat everyone to it.

The theatre has been rampant with internal nerves-on-edge this week, and today an official news article appeared in the Russian news
on --

The article explains that on March 13 Makhar Vasiev did indeed sign his exit papers ("Zayavlenie") but that Gergiev has not yet acknowledged them with his own signature, which would, in the Russian process, make Vasiev's step permanent. (Both employer and employee must sign the paper in order for it to be complete, as I understand).

The list of possible replacements has already been discussed, but this article includes the following: Lopatkina, Zelensky, Asylmuratova and Elena Chernishova.

The choice of replacement, the article notes, will ultimately be Gergiev's, and Vasiev's departure in theory strengthens his power over the ballet section of the theatre. Makhar Vasiev has not commented on these events to the press, but the article notes that he "hopes to discuss thing" with Gergiev. The theatre also declines to comment.

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Tue Mar 18, 2008 8:15 am ]
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Just another comment about the timing. I'd been told that Vasiev intended to "see out" this festival and step down afterwards. Without knowing the wording on the zayavlenie, I have no idea if that is true, but he was watching Gillian Murphy's performance from the Director's box on Sunday night. I'd presume any resignation would have an "as of" date, so his March 12 signature may not indicate the actual date of departure.

Author:  Cassandra [ Tue Mar 18, 2008 8:28 am ]
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Interesting that both the Kirov and the Bolshoi will be experiencing new leadership at the same time. Perhaps the Kirov will follow the Bolshoi example and appoint a rank outsider.

I meant to respond Stuart's comment regarding Gergiev's refusal to discuss the tempi of Les Noces. A few days ago I was rummaging in a bookshop in Hay on Wye when I came across an orchestral score of Les Noces. It was quite unlike any score I'd seen before, a conductor's nightmare in my opinion and Gergiev's refusal to make changes is perfectly understandable considering he would be conducting the orchestra that 'doesn't understand' the music for The Four Temperaments' (as I heard from one of the musicians). If Hindemith is beyond them then having to play an amended version of the Stravinsky might have been disastrous.

Author:  Cygne [ Wed Mar 19, 2008 9:23 am ]
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It will be interesting to see how the new AD will deal with the crowded first and second soloist ranks. There were numerous problems, but this is just one characteristic that was unique to the Vaziev regime. For 13 years Vaziev systematically sidelined the pure classicist/artists in favor of flash and dash exhibitionism, genuflecting to the box office, and overt favoritism of certain individuals. I hope Gergiev signs Makhar's resignation and makes it official. I also hope that when Gergiev makes the final decision, that his choice will be an insider.

Neither Vaziev nor his wife, Olga Tchyentchikova, were Vaganova Academy products, nor did they begin their careers at the Maryinsky. If I had my druthers, I'd wish Gergiev would choose either Lopatkina or Asylmuratova. My guess is that his first choice would be Lopatkina.

Should this come to pass, the Maryinsky Ballet would be in female hands for the first time in its history.

Author:  Cassandra [ Wed Mar 19, 2008 9:33 am ]
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I rather hope it is not Lopatkina. Her recent lapses of style and taste in her own performances make me wonder if her directorial style would be any preferable to Vaziev's.

Author:  Cygne [ Wed Mar 19, 2008 9:53 am ]
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Cassandra wrote:
I rather hope it is not Lopatkina. Her recent lapses of style and taste in her own performances make me wonder if her directorial style would be any preferable to Vaziev's.

Hi Cassandra!

Unfortunately, due to the mutual respect and professional relationship that Gergiev and Lopatkina have, she will probably be at the top of his short list. She was Dudinskaya's student, and Dudinskaya was Vaganova's student, so there's a direct lineage here. On the other hand, Gergiev has never been a balletomane, he is an opera man, nor does he understand the needs of the ballet, either musically, (the Lopatkina "Swan Lake" dvd and other CDs), or aesthetically, (failure to build the new theatre, and the rehearsal "space" the ballet's been accorded). Also
under Gergiev, the Orchestra received a new concert hall. Here's another example: Do you remember the infamous Shostakovich marathon at the London Coliseum two years ago?

IMO Uliana couldn't do worse than Vaziev, and neither could Altynai. Even Gennady Selyutski would be an excellent choice. Consider this: The number of eligible choreographers can be counted on one hand right now; and most of them are already committed. Gergiev will need to start looking as soon as possible and make a selection - even if it's an interim selection.

Author:  Cassandra [ Wed Mar 19, 2008 11:46 am ]
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You make some very good points there, Cygne, I would like an explanation as to exactly why the theatre rebuilding hasn't started as a matter of urgency. Though I haven't been to St Pete's for donkey’s years, a friend who visited the Maryinsky a few months ago says that the visible decay throughout the building is actually alarming. Why are they dragging their feet over this?

I have always been in two minds about Vaziev. Impressed with his dedication to the promotion of young talent but frustrated by his bizarre casting choices. Some of his plans for the company didn't materialize, such as his ambition to stage Ashton's Month in the Country. Could be the RB blocked that one, but I think it would have been an artistic triumph for him had it come about.

Actually I remember the 'Shostakovich Marathon' very well, I reviewed it very favourably at the time I seem to remember and appreciated the opportunities given to dancers other than the current favourites.

Sorry but I've got an uneasy feeling about Lopatkina, too much of a diva in my opinion, but Gennady Selyutsky is the best possible candidate so far suggested.

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