MOSCOW, December 9. / TASS /. The opening of the ballet Nureyev, directed by Kirill Serebrennikov and choreographed by Yuri Possokhov, is scheduled for December 9 and 10, at the Bolshoi Theater. Journalists were invited to the press viewing, ahead of the production, and the overall feedback has been positive.
The ballet, based on the life of legendary Russian dancer Rudolf Nureyev, is set as an auction. It begins with the conductor’s baton lot, with which Nureyev made his debut in Vienna, and goes on with more lots - costumes from different periods of his life, personal letters that are read out loud by actor Igor Vernik from the Moscow Art Theater.
The show runs for 2.5 hours, with an intermission. The audience gets to see his entire life - from the ballet classes as a boy, to his fatal illness - the dancer tested HIV positive in the 1980s.
The production is a talented collaboration of composer Ilya Demutsky, choreographer Yuri Possokhov, and Kirill Serebrennikov, who is the author of the libretto, as well as the director and designer of the set.
“There is nothing here that could be shocking,” said Vladislav Flyarkovsky, Culture TV channel host. He added that the production contains photographs of Nureyev partially dressed, taken by photographer Richard Avedon. "A great photographer was taking pictures of a great dancer, so that's what we need to take in," explained Flyarkovsky.
According to him, Nureyev is “a wonderful show with beautiful music,” “a classic 21st century play - beautiful, elegant, with a complex set.”
"The only thing that could have raised fears was vulgarity, I watched it, and I did not see any vulgarity," added Flyarkovsky.
“The production is uneven, contradictory, but it surprised me,” Valery Kichin, film and theater critic told TASS. In his opinion, the ballet was a top-notch production and “the Bolshoi Theater needed the performance, so that it could leave the gilt cage of classical ballet." Kichin added that he liked the ballet, and was impressed by the work of the composer, who worked to marry Tchaikovsky and Mayer.
Vladimir Urin, Director General of the Bolshoi Theater called on journalists and critics to treat the production objectively. "The theater understands perfectly well that there are circumstances surrounding the performance, which have to do with the Seventh Studio,” Urin said, “Please pay attention to the performance itself." This production contains the director's decision, there is choreography, and there are artists."
According to one of the performers of the title role Igor Tsvirko, his part is "very complicated", as far as choreography is concerned. At the press conference ahead of the showing, the artist noted that the ballet turned out to be very cinematic. "It was important for us to show Nureyev’s character, the qualities that allowed him to achieve greatness," Tsvirko explained.
The ballet was originally slated to open on July 11, 2017, but the Bolshoi administration decided to postpone it.
While the Bolshoi Theater has always maintained that the production was postponed because it was not ready, alternative reasons were widely covered by the mass media, including the personal involvement of Russian Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky, who believed that the production contained homosexual propaganda.
"According to Serebrennikov’s idea, most of the actors were supposed to perform their roles naked," said the agency's interlocutor. The Ministry of Culture refuted the allegations, they did go on to say that Medinsky and Urin, indeed, had "a long, thorough telephone conversation in which they also discussed the ballet Nureyev, directed by Kirill Serebrennikov." The Ministry pointed out that it does not “interfere in the repertory policy of subordinate institutions,” while Medinsky himself said that he "fully supports" the decision of the Bolshoi administration to postpone the performance.
Serebrennikov has been under house arrest since August, on charges of alleged fraud and embezzlement, which he has adamantly denied. He asked the court to allow him to take part in the Nureyev rehearsals ahead of the December premier, a request which the court denied.
In September, Vladimir Urin, the General Director of the Bolshoi Theater, informed TASS that he had received permission from the investigator who was leading the case, for Kirill Serebrennikov to meet with him and coordinate with the director about the possibility of releasing the play "Nureyev" in December.