In an unprecedented move, it seems that ‘ousted' English National Opera artistic director, John Berry, has been snapped up by the Bolshoi Theatre. It is extremely rare for non-Russians to hold administrative posts.
Gleaning information from today's Financial Times and The Times, it seems – though there has been no official announcement by the theatre or by Berry – that the Moscow theatre is creating a new position for Berry “as part of plans by the institution in Moscow to build on its brand as a global arts powerhouse”, says the FT.
Berry resigned after a letter was leaked from the outgoing chairman, Martyn Rose, addressed to the ENO's president, saying that he needed to go “for the very survival” of the company. Berry received support from all corners of the globe defending his position, one that he thought to be, nevertheless, unsustainable.
Certainly the scale of the aptly named Bolshoi is very different from the ENO. A source told the FT that,
The Bolshoi can pretty much do what it wants to do. It's a major powerhouse organisation. It has an orchestral roster of nearly 300, while ENO has about 60. Its chorus is more than three times bigger than ENO's, which has around 45. They have two stages. The original stage was completely refurbished, so the facilities are incredible.
It must help having billionaires like Roman Abramovich on the board – the owner of Chelsea Football Club – as well as lashings of state funding.
A source told Gramilano that one of the top-managers of the Bolshoi was said to be leaving and heading toward the Stanislavsky Music Theater, just a kilometre down the road. Maybe the stories are linked?
2016-07-19 – According to Slipped Disc, the general director of the Bolshoi, Vladimir Urin, has said that no post has been created for John Berry, saying that there had been “no discussion of a permanent job” at the Theatre. However, he added that “Berry will be in Moscow this week for Berlioz's Damnation de Faust and that discussions with him would continue”… discussions for a non-permanent job then.
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano') about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman's Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia' column for Dancing Times magazine.