Sunday, March 29, 2015

Dismissed for “Tannhauser” – BBC

Culture Minister Vladimir Medina announced the resignation of Boris Mezdricha – Director of the Novosibirsk Opera and Ballet, which was staged opera “Tannhauser”, prompting protests Novosibirsk diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church. New director was appointed head of the Mikhailovsky Theatre Vladimir Kehman.

Vladimir Medina announced the dismissal of Boris Mezdricha on Sunday 29 March. “For failure to follow directions of the founder,” – that is quoted spokesperson for the Ministry of Culture agency RIA “Novosti”.

Under the founder, is likely to have in mind the federal Ministry of Culture himself – that he, and not the city or regional cultural authorities accountable to the Novosibirsk Opera.

What could be the indication, the agency did not mention – however, as it became known “to the Newspaper»,

formal reason for the dismissal may be possible lack of age labeling on promotional products opera “Tannhauser».

This setting young director Timothy Kuljabina was the reason for one of the biggest scandals in the cultural sphere in the past few years: We interpret Richard Wagner, in which Tannhauser from Knight-Die Meistersinger turned into a modern film director, a film about the lost years of Christ (which he allegedly spent in the “Grotto of Venus”, indulging in carnal pleasures) angered the Orthodox community of Novosibirsk and Novosibirsk and personally Metropolitan Tikhon Berd. Along with several other organizations patriotic diocese in court accused Kuljabina and theater director Boris Mezdricha a “deliberate desecration of religious symbols.”


Tenth World Court Novosibirsk found both guilty “for lack of offense” in their actions. After completion of the Metropolitan Tikhon in an open letter to Vladimir Medina necessary to remove from the opera repertoire.

After the process of “Tannhauser” was twice in the Novosibirsk Opera – both times with the full house; on the second presentation the audience ovation. The audience noticed that the design of the performance made adjustments – on-site poster “film”, which removes the Tannhauser-filmmaker, hung white canvas. The initiator of this change, as it turned out, was the Mezdrich – that the movie poster, hung out at some point in the action on the stage, angered Orthodox community most of all: there was a figure of Christ between the legs of a naked woman.

A week ago, Metropolitan Tikhon right on preaching in a rather radical form urged his parishioners to “standing prayer” against the opera, which was held on the day of dismissal Mezdricha, March 29, and was attended by more than 3 thousand. Man.

From Moscow to participate in the rally came deputy Nikolai Valuev. Former boxer told a rally the following: “We must not allow such productions».

On the eve of an opera critic and made deputy prosecutor of the city Igor Stasyulis, representing the prosecution at the trial:

«What statement from this change? The image of Jesus Christ is not stopped using. There also does not appear knight Tannhäuser? That’s when you see, say that yes, indeed, all right ».

The prosecutor’s office decided to appeal the verdict, the appellate court session will be held early next week. Decided to stand up for the opera and intellectuals Novosibirsk, wrote an open letter to the city authorities to take creative freedom in the theater under his protection. April 5 at the regional center held a public rally in support of “Tannhauser” – its intention to accede to the said Moscow “Theatre.doc” and several theater venues in different cities of Russia.

I wonder what Mezdrich from the outset advocated dialogue with the church. Once Novosibirsk diocese announced its claims to the formulation and intent to sue,

now former director of the theater turned to the Metropolitan Tikhon with a proposal to the negotiating table and seek a compromise. In this case, the presumption of immunity Mezdrich stipulated the director’s creative vision.

Interestingly, the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation, March 29 to recall the founder of their rights, during the scandal and the trial of theater people prefer to remain silent and did not comment on the situation. You can not say about the theater community – open letters in defense and Kuljabina Mezdricha wrote the head of the Moscow Art Theatre Oleg Tabakov (he described it as “harassment”), the head of the Theatre. Yermolova Oleg Menshikov, the head of Union of Russia Alexander Kalyagin and many others; Timothy Kuljabina invited for performances in their theater director of the Bolshoi Vladimir Urin and “Lenkoma” Mark Zakharov. “Unacceptable” the authors called the prosecution’s opera Advisor to the President of Russia Vladimir Tolstoy culture, noting that “any respect other people’s feelings – it is right.”

After the completion of the Federal Ministry of Culture convened a working group at the Public Authority Board, which invited the opera as opponents and supporters Kuljabina and Mezdricha. Voice on the last meeting almost sounded – which is why the final resolution of a collegial body called on “to make the necessary changes in the formulation, as well as a public apology to all whose religious feelings were hurt,” and recalled that

«Otherwise, the agency has the right and duty to take … in extreme cases, administrative and financial measures for public cultural institutions, including financing deprive such productions».

However, as can be seen, Vladimir Medina decided to go the other, by administrative means.

The appointed the new director of the Novosibirsk Opera Vladimir Kehman proved himself a fierce critic of “Tannhauser”. “What has been done in the Novosibirsk Opera House – is blasphemy – said after the meeting Kehman Public Council, –

I, as a believer, baptism, orthodox, as Jew, take it as an insult. This is a demonstration of the internal wickedness in the style and spirit of the Union of Militant Atheists.

I must admit, I was talking to Mezdrichem, and he told me that this show will not give up and go to the end. I think that he must resign, and performance should be removed from the repertoire. ”

Kehman – a figure in the theater world is bright and contradictory. In 2007, he headed the St. Petersburg Mikhailovsky Theatre, while remaining one of the founders of the company JFC, one of the largest Russian importers of fruit. Many noted the success of a businessman in the management of the theater – so, in 2011, in the company of Michael from the Great crossed the brilliant ballet soloists Tatiana Osipova and Ivan Vasiliev. Before the director of the ballet troupe became world famous choreographer Nacho Duato. Theater staff noted improve the welfare of the entire staff of the Mikhailovsky.

However, in 2012 the company JFC declared itself bankrupt, and a number of Russian banks have filed lawsuits against it “theft of borrowed funds,” said site Forbes.Ru. In 2013 the office Kehmana theater was searched. He denied his involvement in the company, referring to employment in the theater, and expressed full support for the investigation. However, in 2014 Kehmana recognized the accused in the case of fraud on a large scale. All these events did not affect the government’s decision to extend the contract with the St. Petersburg theater director for five years. His current position as director of the Novosibirsk Opera Kehman will combine c former post at St. Petersburg’s Mikhailovsky Theater.

Boris Mezdrich already stated that he will appeal his dismissal.


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