The Russian daily Moscow News
has recently (Aug 3) published an interview with Mikhail Messerer, Ballet Master in Chief of the Mikhailovsky. I have translated those Qs & As from the interview that relate to Nacho Duato. Reading the interview it appeared to me that Mr. Duato might have been trying to remove Messerer’s Laurencia from Mikhailovsky rep, either (out of jealousy?) due to it being favorably received in London, or out of his dislike, in general, for pseudo-Spanish dancing in Russian ballets. http://www.mn.ru/newspaper_culture/2011 ... 19819.html How would you rate the past season?
This season turned out to be very interesting. The most noted event being the arrival of a Creative Director to the Mikhailovsky Ballet - Nacho Duato. The dancers found it extremely interesting to be working with so talented a person.All the new works of the season were ballets by Nacho Duato; the next one will be his Sleeping Beauty. Does this mean that the company will be finishing off dancing classical ballets, gradually turning into a troupe with only one choreographer – Duato?
No, we are not going to do away with classical ballet, and working with contemporary choreography, in the view of our theatre, will only improve the company’s dancing. Both Nacho and Mr. Kekhman agree with me that we must add at least one new classical production each season, so as not to regress. We’re mindful about having a “balanced diet” for our principal artists and the entire troupe, so that their classical skills never stop getting fresh nutrition from traditional repertoire, thus avoiding stagnation. However, the accent will be on the outstanding Duato’s choreography.In the Mikhailovsky’s performing schedule for Sept-Oct I couldn’t find Laurencia, the ballet that you have choreographed. And in one of his interviews Mr. Duato noted, somewhat sarcastically, that he had never seen as much Spanish dancing as in Russian ballets. So maybe ballets with a Spanish theme to them look irritating to a director-Spaniard?
I don’t think so. Nevertheless, perhaps these ballets may in fact irritate the sense of authenticity in the same way as a Russian person might get annoyed seeing or reading un-authentic descriptions of Russia.How strange. This is the same as if the principal conductor of an opera company, who happens to be from China, would demand Chinese authenticity from the opera Turandot! Laurencia, exclusive to your company, when presented by the Mikhailovsky in London, got a nomination by Critics Circle National Dance Awards for best classical production. In the view of the demanding and authoritative British critics, your version of Chabukiani’s ballet was one of the three best classical choreographies seen in Britain during the season.
Yes it was pleasant news firstly because the best ballet companies perform in the UK and the country is renowned for its own choreographers and secondly because we were performing in London alongside the Bolshoi Ballet.And they got awarded for their dancing, not for any particular production…
Well, because of our success in London the great Bolshoi didn’t become any smaller. But our performances rather worked to the success of Russian ballet as a whole. Now, in the minds of the British, there exist not two Russian ballet companies, as they hitherto thought, but three: Mariinsky, Bolshoi, and Mikhailovsky.