A unique case: on September 10, at the opening of the season, the Bolshoi Ballet Company will present unplanned premieres. Four choreographers unknown in Russia were engaged this summer by the head of the Bolshoi ballet troupe Makhar Vaziev, having seen enough of modern choreography during the period of self-isolation. The program includes the one-act ballet “The Ninth Wave” to music by Glinka and Rimsky-Korsakov, created by Brian Aries, a Puerto Rican living in the USA, under the impression of Aivazovsky’s painting. The other two sections will be short ballets: Just to music by David Lang and staged by Simone Valastro, an Italian from the Paris Opera, The Fading away by NDT Bulgarian Dimo Milev, composed by him to music by Enrique Granados, and Silence to music by Arvo Pärt – opus of the Parisian Martin Schex living in Germany. Tatiana Kuznetsova asked the initiator of world premieres Makhara Vazieva, what did he like about these authors, how they were received by the premieres and the leading soloists of the Bolshoi, who are almost entirely engaged in productions, and about the peculiarities of rehearsals after isolation.
– You were not noticed in a special love for actual choreography – and suddenly these unexpected modern premieres …
– Don’t say this to me so offended. When I worked at La Scala, I saw a lot of contemporary things, went to Madrid, to festivals. And during isolation, when I watched the performers on video link at home, different thoughts came to my mind, and they gave rise to actions. I called some friends in Paris about free young choreographers. She says: “Yes, everyone is free” …
– Who is she”? Brigitte Lefebvre? Aurelie Dupont?
– I won’t tell you what difference it makes to you. In general, they sent me the work of three choreographers, then six more. I chose four so that they are still not quite alike. I started talking to them, they were naturally dumbfounded. It is clear that in the end everyone was happy – the production at the Bolshoi! But you understand what the situation is … The negotiations began somewhere in mid-May, everything was not clear, but when Sobyanin suddenly spoke on June 8, saying that the rehearsal halls would open from the 9th, then there was hope. And then, I will not hide, I turned to our friends. The general sponsor of Ingosstrakh and personally Oleg Vladimirovich Deripaska provided tremendous support to the project, both financial and organizational. How many problems were there! ..
– What are they – these choreographers? How do they differ from each other?
– What, what. Style, language. Someone puts on pointe, someone on half-toes.
– Did you give your chosen ones carte blanche?
– No, it will be bold. I determined the format, we agreed on the topics over the phone, even when they were at home. In addition, I expressed the wish that the ballets should be performed with our orchestra, we only have David Lange to be recorded. They arrived on July 10, saw our artists on the 14th …
– Have you seen? Yes, in these ballets completely prima and premieres are busy.
– I give my word of honor, I did not press on the choreographers – they themselves chose. In the class. The only one who came to see me was Martin (Shex – “B”). Says: “Maestro, can I please Svetlana Zakharova?” I call her: “Come in, Sveta, like this and like this.” She says: “With pleasure, I really thought – what if nobody chooses me?”
I say: “You are not chosen because they are afraid, a world star after all.”
Recently I saw Sveta in this work of hers, she is amazing there.
– Did the choreographers quickly establish contact with the artists?
– No one has ever found themselves in a similar situation, I mean quarantine. When the actors began to return to the halls, somewhere fear dominated, somewhere anxiety dominated, they treated each other ambiguously – it was July.
And then I find out: on the day off, the artists went to a restaurant with their choreographer.
This is also an indicator. This is often a sign that they have reached some kind of common opinion. Pretty soon everyone was so carried away by new work that at some stage I said: “Gentlemen, don’t forget. In the corridor, in the elevator, at least wear masks. ” How else, Tan? We have one ballerina who fell ill, she had an unconfirmed diagnosis, but we nevertheless sent 120 people for tests the next day and, until the results came, they were not allowed to the theater.
– Your young choreographers are already in their forties, but no one has made an outstanding career yet. Why? Are they secondary, “sturgeon of the second freshness,” or before the pandemic the market was so captured by world-famous choreographers that these authors simply could not be realized?
– Do you like the classification: who is the first, who is the second, who smells like sturgeon. And primary authors have secondary works. It’s not about a place in a hierarchy. We have a lot of examples when failure, failure, failure, and then – again! – and good luck. They are talented guys. Of course, they are very worried, this is a huge chance for them, so I would not anticipate events.
In fact, the guys are just lucky that they stage before the start of the season – there are no performances, the artists are at their complete disposal, no one is asked to leave the rehearsals, because the day after tomorrow they are dancing “Don Quixote” or “Swan”, no one is overloaded yet.
Usually, everything is different with us, otherwise it is impossible – because of the system of repertory theater. So I told my guys that: “You won’t even believe how happy you are!”
– Why are you doing two intermissions? After all, nowadays it is customary to reduce the contacts of viewers to a minimum.
– There are technical issues here that we must take into account. I discussed with the technical staff which sequence of ballets would be more acceptable for them, so that there would be no large intervals. They are a little tiring for the audience, I know from myself.
And the worst thing is when the orchestra sits in the orchestra pit and waits for the number to pass to the soundtrack.
It seems to me that it breaks the theatrical atmosphere.
– But this project is not one-off? Will it be shown during the season?
– I will definitely stage this program several times this season. Moreover, today we are forced to sell tickets not in full. I ordered to prepare several compositions. I, as you know, control everything (Shows a monitor screen broadcasting rehearsals from all halls.) and I think the artists have found a pretty good shape. As for these contemporary works, they are in absolute form.