“The Opera of the Bolshoi theatre, no one controls, and in my judgment no one intervenes”

Director General of Bolshoi theatre Vladimir urin wasn’t nervous before the screening of the Opera “Iolanta”, although the auditorium was to present the President of Finland Sauli Niinistö (Sauli Niinistö) and the President of Russia Vladimir Putin.

On July 26, in the fortress of Olavinlinna successful premiere of the Finnish version of the Opera “Iolanta” — the Bolshoi theatre has managed to recover after the crisis 2013.

“The artistic level is all right, as well as budget. Our President rarely able to attend our performances, but he is very interested in us, and I can quickly agree with him about the meeting, if necessary”.

The culmination of the crisis at the Bolshoi theatre came in 2013. In the early years the artistic Director of the Bolshoi ballet Sergei Filin was splashed with acid in the face, and at the end of the year for ordered crime was convicted of one of the dancers of the theatre. It was at that time Minister of culture Vladimir Medinsky, has a checkered reputation, to put Urine in place of the previous General Director of the Bolshoi theatre Anatoly Iksanova, the term of the contract which has not yet ended.


“The crisis had many reasons,” recalls urin.

“Grand renovation was forced to move into temporary shelters, the budget was exceeded. But when the renovation was over, we were able to increase the number of new productions to eight every year.”

This affected the ticket and changed the line art of the theatre.

“The art Director of ballet troupe of the owl because of its injuries could not do all that I wanted, so I put in its place Mahara Vazieva from Milan’s La Scala Opera house”.

It is also know at the Mariinsky theatre in St. Petersburg. According to the Urine, the years when Vaziev was the soloist, was for the theatre heyday.

Chief conductor Vassily Sinaisky left the theatre, slamming the door.

“He avoided making difficult decisions, although it is interesting art. Tugan Sokhiev has done such a wonderful job in the orchestra of Toulouse in France, I put him in his place of Sinai”.

This spring, the Bolshoi theatre has prepared a great presentation that tells about the life of Rudolf Nureyev. Legendary dancer defected from the USSR to the West was a homosexual, what the setting is, of course, tells. Talking about the portraits of the dancer in the Nude. Out of all the fact that, as reported by TASS, the Minister of culture Medinsky had a long talk with Oranim on the phone.

After that the premiere of the ballet “Nureyev” was moved. Was the Minister concerned that the statement may violate the dubious Russian law prohibiting “propaganda” of homosexuality among minors?

“I can immediately say that the Minister didn’t call me. It was decided not to abolish the performances, and postpone it for next season”.

Urin repeats a variant according to which the production simply has not been finalized.

“Nudity is depicted only in photographs, is devoted to the formulation. During the performance of ballet dancers dressed in costumes Nude. No censorship I do not do as the Minister of culture.”

How, then, have appeared TASS on the telephone conversation with Medina?

“We had a phone conversation after I made the decision with the leadership of the ballet about the postponement of the premiere. The Minister called and asked what was the reason for such change. I replied that complex staging is still not fully prepared. That’s all.”

Urin said that in 2013 said it will take up this challenge only if its decision will not interfere. This he also directly spoke with Putin.

“I hold his post for five years. During this time, my decisions weren’t tampered with and even expressed a desire for this issue.”

As urin achieved a position?

In the 1970s he studied to be an actor and realized that is not very good for the scene. After that, he studied as a theater Director.

Early in his directing career, he, nevertheless, held senior posts — for example, at first he supervised the work of children’s and puppet theater. The Bolshoi theatre, he was Director of the Moscow Musical theatre of a name of Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Opera and ballet performances which are at a high level.

“The Bolshoi has always differed conservatism. Gilding and chandeliers of the great hall automatically set on something traditional.”

This conservatism urin would like to add something new — but come to it not through revolution, but through evolution.

“Of course, I remember the Soviet times and know what you mean ideological prohibitions. Now, in my opinion, the state leaders of no restriction. However, our society still remains very conservative.”

Urin said that the topic of “gay” in a production of “Nureyev” can be a unusual aspect to the older generation.

“But we knew when we decided to do this project. Art always examine the contradictions, and society should not be taken as aggressive. To a civilized discussion I’m always ready.”

This year, the Minister of culture Medinsky asked President Vladimir Putin to extend the stay of the Urine in his post. Putin supported the Minister, and urin continued its work.

However, the Minister of culture is hard to call a man an open view of the world. In 2012, he opposed the Finnish-Ugric cooperation and called Finland inseparable part of the Russian world.

In 2013, he announced that no evidence of homosexuality of Tchaikovsky are not. Putin corrected the Minister: the composer really was a homosexual. The President added: “However, we do not love him for it.”

In 2014, the Minister of culture of the collected signatures of the artists who supported the line of the President in respect of the Crimean Peninsula, previously owned by Ukraine. At that time Russia had not yet annexed Crimea officially. The Ministry added signatures and already deceased figures.

Among the signatures was the name Urine.

“It was probably the only case where I signed a political statement. I did it after the referendum, when it became known the desire of the Crimean people.”

Arguments on this topic still did not stop.

“I would not like to delve into political history, but this area has always been Russian and was annexed to Ukraine by decision of Nikita Khrushchev in the years when Russia and Ukraine were part of USSR”, — urin formulate their views.

In 2015, Medina once again kicked ass. In Novosibirsk Opera was Wagner’s “Tannhauser” that enraptured critics, but the poster provoked protests of the priest. The court found no basis for the prohibition of the production, but the Ministry Medinsky demanded to amend, dismissed the head of the Novosibirsk Opera and ballet theatre was appointed in his place a new man. And the Ministry has once again gathered the signatures of artists who supported the censorship of the Opera “tannhäuser”.

“I saw Novosibirsk production of “Tannhauser”. This is a lovely work, which does not contradict the Russian legislation. I think it was not necessary to ban and dismissal of managers, in my opinion, was a mistake.”

Thus, urin does not adhere to the line of the Minister of culture, which demonstrates the independence of his views.

“After the Novosibirsk scandal we have invited the Director of “Tannhauser” of Timothy kulyabina in the Bolshoi theatre. He put us to the Opera “don Pasquale” by Donizetti, the composer and works on the production of Dvorak’s Opera “Rusalka”. He is a brilliant Director.”

And in the end the question easier.

“Yes, and these questions were not that difficult. I have nothing to hide!” — urin said.

If leaders not censured, then what is the situation of self-censorship? After Novosibirsk it is not surprising that the Directors decide once again not to irritate the Minister of culture.

Urin thought for a long time.

“Of course, everyone makes decisions about their own positions.”

Now position the Urine seems to be very solid.

“We do joint projects with such famous Directors as Robert carsen (Robert Carsen) and Katie Mitchell (Katie Mitchell), and with the English national Opera and AIX-EN-Provence Opera festival. We will soon work with new York’s Metropolitan Opera. Part performances can cause differences: half of the Russian audience can fall in love with these productions, half — hate them. Is the destiny of art”.

Cooperation with Opera festival in Finnish Savonlinna will continue.

“I can assure you that the staging of the Opera festival in Savonlinna “Othello” will be shown in Moscow in next September,” said urin.