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My translation of Vladislav Lantratov’s interview with Hello!Russia.
Lantratov speaks about “Nureyev” and the aftermath of the ballet’s sudden cancellation after the stage rehearsal on the 8th of July. The Bolshoi’s decision to pull the ballet a few days before its premier hit Lantratov, who put a great deal of effort into the role of Nureyev, the hardest.
On the 8th of July, he wrote in an instagram post:
“I have no words… Just as you fall in love with the part, grow into it, feel everything starting to come together… And in one fell swoop, this little life of yours is ripped from you. There is nothing worse for an artist…”
Vladislav, do you believe that “Nureyev” will, after all, premier in May 2018?
Yes, I am convinced that it will. The dancers and the crew have made every effort to ensure that it would happen by giving it our all during the stage rehearsal on the 8th of July.
How would you comment on the claim that the ballet isn’t ready yet.
I think it’s an unfortunate conjuncture of events. The staging process tends to have its ups and downs, especially when a ballet is being created from scratch. Sometimes, you have very successful rehearsals, and other times everything falls apart. The theatre’s management have made their decision.
It’s been reported that several danseurs turned down the role of Nureyev because they were uncomfortable with the nudity.
This is the first time I’ve heard of such a thing. No one turned the role down. Especially since all the talk about nudity is false. I don’t think something of that sort would be possible on the Bolshoi’s stage. One danseur turned down the role of Erik Bruhn because he didn’t have the time to prepare it.
Did you have any doubts when you were offered the role of Nureyev?
No, I did not. I have worked with the choreographer, Yuri Posokhov, before on “The Hero of Our Time”, and I was convinced that we would make something excellent together. This role offers an unfathomable range: in the course of two and a half hours I get to live an entire life and go through ten different emplois. This production is a challenge for a dancer. Ballet is difficult enough from a physical standpoint, but in this case one is presented with an additional challenge of a complex dramatic role. I am proud of what I have accomplished and the performance I gave of the 8th of July.
For you, what is this production about?
It’s about loneliness. Despite the fact that the stage is filled with the chorus, the corps and actors, this is a one-person show. It would seem that Nureyev has it all: art, love, success. He appears on stage either with his teacher, Alexander Ivanovich Pushkin, or with his partner, Margot Fonteyn, or with Erik Bruhn. He is constantly in the midst of activity, always surrounded by people, but at some point I realised that he is an incredibly lonely person.
The dramaturgy – which, at first glance, appears to simply follow a sequence of events from Nureyev’s biography – demands not only a physical effort of the body, but a complete inner transformation. For example, in one of the scenes Nureyev yells at his company. It’s practically and entire monologue, and I must deliver it convincingly!
Margot Fonteyn is played by Maria Alexandrova. Yours must have been an interesting duet.
Here I can even draw a parallel between Nureyev and myself. The Rudolf Nureyev we know today was formed by Margot Fonteyn, and Maria played a great part in my own formation. She is a true representative of the old Moscow school of ballet. She saw something in me… and put her soul into me.
What are you focusing on now? How are you getting through what happened?
The whole company is helping. When such a huge collective, after being told of the cancellation in the morning, still musters the strength to go out and perform in the evening – it’s nothing short of a miracle. It’s no longer just about the job, but something much more – a remarkable display of unity and our loyalty to the art. The tears, the hugs, the applause are all worth a great deal. I applaud every single member of the “Nureyev” cast who performed on the Bolshoi’s stage on the 8th of July.
Right now, we are preparing for the New York tour. I am going to be dancing in Jean-Christophe Maillot’s “The Taming of the Shrew”. This production is a favourite with the Moscow public. Now we have to win over the American audience.