Bolshoi Theater Postpones Premier of Anticipated Ballet on Gay Dancer

Patrice Gainsbourg
Julho 11, 2017

"There will be reputational damage from cancelling, but for us the most important thing is the quality of the production", said Urin, according to the Guardian.

"The ballet was not good", he said, saying it had been postponed rather than cancelled and would open in May next year instead.

Nureyev led a colourful love life, and Kirill Serebrennikov, the director of the new ballet, had not shied away from homosexual themes in the work, Moscow theatre experts said.

Speaking to journalists on Monday, Bolshoi director Vladimir Urin denied reports that the show had been scrapped because of its frank portrayal of Nureyev's gay relationships.

Mr. Serebrennikov was detained for questioning in May over allegations of embezzling government funds.

Among other themes, the show addresses the influence of Nureyev's homosexuality on his art, as well as his struggle with AIDS, from which he died in 1993.

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Russian Federation has a law banning the "propaganda" of homosexuality to minors, though Nureyev has a rating specifying it is for viewers aged 18 and older.

One of Russia's most innovative and successful directors, Serebrennikov has previously staged a ballet based on Mikhail Lermontov's Hero of Our Time at the Bolshoi.

Serebrennikov's supporters called the raid a politically motivated attack on the independence of the arts, and the Bolshoi general director, Vladimir Urin, wrote to President Vladimir Putin to complain about the handling of the investigation.

Some people, including cast members, compared the Bolshoi situation to the 1935 incident when Joseph Stalin forced the theater to close a new production of a ballet by Dmitri Shostakovich called "The Bright Stream"; it was not revived until 2003.

Serebrennikov is an outspoken critic of President Vladimir Putin and the Gogol Theater has come under fire from conservative commentators for staging controversial plays that push the limits of public taste in Russian Federation. But the ballet prompted controversy in Russian Federation well before it got anywhere near the stage. However, Urin denied any such discussion happened.

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