Moscow’s Bolshoi Theater has unexpectedly postponed the premier of a highly anticipated, but potentially controversial ballet, just days before it was scheduled to open on July 11, the Vedomosti newspaper reported Monday.
The “Nureyev” ballet, based on the life of gay Russian dancer Rudolf Nureyev, has now been rescheduled for May 2018.
The ballet’s director Kirill Serebrennikov declined to comment on news of the postponed performance, telling Vedomosti, “This is the theater’s decision. And this is what they’ve decided.”
Serebrennikov was recently detained and questioned by investigators over the embezzlement of government funds. Many consider the corruption investigation to be politically motivated.
“[The story of Nureyev] was the wrong topic touched by the wrong guy at the wrong time,” a source at the top of the Moscow ballet scene, who asked not to be named, told The Moscow Times. “Everything was against this performance.”
The theater’s chief manager, Vladimir Urin, said the ballet was being pulled because it was “not ready.” He also dismissed rumors that rights to the performance could be sold to the tycoon Roman Abramovich, who had attended the final rehearsal.
“The [Bolshoi] theater will suffer reputational losses,” Urin said of the cancelation, “but no financial damage.”