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Bolshoi Sets ‘Nureyev’ Ballet for December Despite Director’s Arrest


From left, Makhar Vaziev, director of the Bolshoi Ballet, and Vladimir G. Urin, general director of the Bolshoi Theater at a news conference about the “Nureyev” ballet in July.

Alexander Nemenov/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The Bolshoi Theater is going ahead with a ballet based on the life of legendary dancer Rudolf Nureyev this December, its general director said on Friday. The ballet, originally scheduled to premiere in July, was postponed three days before its opening, while its director, Kirill S. Serebrennikov, was charged with embezzling government funds and placed under house arrest.

“Nureyev,” which depicts the world-famous dancer’s life up until his death in 1993 from AIDS-related illnesses, will now play at the Bolshoi December 9 and 10.

In July, the Bolshoi’s general director, Vladimir G. Urin, insisted that the ballet was postponed for artistic reasons, due to an under-rehearsed cast. Many in Moscow’s cultural circles balked, contending that the ballet’s depiction of an openly gay man fleeing the Soviet Union had been deemed too controversial for the country’s most prominent stage. There was also an outpouring of support for Mr. Serebrennikov, one of Russia’s most prominent and innovative directors, whose charges were widely seen as part of a suppressive effort against dissenting voices.

Mr. Urin confirmed that Mr. Serebrennikov, who is under house arrest, gave permission for the production to be mounted in his absence, according to a report by the Russian state news agency, Tass, which interviewed Mr. Urin. The ballet’s choreographer, Yuri Possokhov, will oversee final rehearsals and, with court approval, may confer with Mr. Serebrennikov on artistic details.

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