The “Nureyev” ballet was set to open earlier this month, but the Bolshoi Theater canceled it last-minute, arguing it was not ready to show. The new premiere was expected to take place in May 2018, but many wondered whether it would premiere at all.
The cancellation triggered a wave of condemnation, especially after some media reported Russia’s Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky might have been behind the decision. The ballet dancer Nureyev was openly gay and many speculated the cancellation might be connected to Russia’s so-called anti-gay propaganda law or the ministry’s conservative views.
Adding to the suspicions, the ballet’s prominent director Kirill Serebrennikov is a witness in a corruption case that many consider to be politically motivated.
In his interview, conductor Sokhiyev echoed the official explanation. “As far as I know, the project had been rehearsed in a studio and it was complicated to move it to the big stage” he said. “Probably they needed more time.”