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Kirill Serebrennikov's ballet “Nureyev” removed from Bolshoi Theatre playbill over LGBT propaganda law

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The ballet “Nureyev” by director Kirill Serebrennikov was taken off the schedule of the State Academic Bolshoi Theater, Interfax quoted the theater director Vladimir Urin as saying.

Urin cited the law on LGBT “propaganda” as the reason for the removal of the ballet from the repertoire.

“'Nureyev' was removed from the repertoire in connection with the signed law <...> which unequivocally stipulates the issues related to propaganda of non-traditional values.”

According to Urin, the decision was made as soon as the law was signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The production was dedicated to the famous Soviet ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev, who left the USSR in 1961. It premiered on December 17, 2017.

Kirill Serebrennikov received a suspended sentence of three years in June 2020 as part of the “Seventh Studio” case. The investigation alleged that Serebrennikov and other defendants had embezzled 128 million rubles ($1.564.114) from the budget allocated for the “Platform” project. Serebrennikov had been the head of the Gogol Moscow Drama Theatre since 2012, and he founded the Gogol Centre based on it. In March 2022, the Seventh Studio autonomous non-profit organization, created by Serebrennikov on the basis of the Moscow Art Theatre School, was liquidated. On March 28, 2022, the Khamovniki Court in Moscow granted the defense's motion and revoked Serebrennikov's suspended sentence; it also annulled his criminal record under the article on large-scale fraud, whereupon the director left Russia. Serebrennikov has openly criticized the Russian invasion of Ukraine and opposed the war in interviews and on social media. In November 2022, for the first time in 18 years, Serebrennikov's name was removed from the program of The Forest, a production at the Moscow Art Theater, and from the theater's website; he was simply credited as “Director.” Serebrennikov expressed the hope that the name of the person who made this decision would one day be revealed.

The names of cultural figures who spoke out against the war have already been removed from theater playbills on several occasions since Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine began. This happened, for example, with Dmitry Krymov and Boris Akunin.

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