Bolshoi Tour Feud Cools Off

LONDON -- A copyright dispute has thrown into question the Bolshoi Theater's summer season in London, but the artistic director vowed Monday that the performances would go ahead.

Vladimir Vasilyev said the cash-strapped Bolshoi would survive.

"There is no other way," he said at a news conference in London. "It can die only with Russia. As long as Russia is alive, the Bolshoi is alive."

But the first combined visit to London by the Bolshoi ballet and opera companies has been overshadowed by a legal wrangle involving Vasilyev's predecessor, Yury Grigorovich, who claims Vasilyev is staging copies of three of his own productions.

Grigorovich's lawyer, Michael Kirton, said: "As far as we are concerned, Grigorovich owns the performances. His choreography and libretto are being used. Therefore, they should have sought his consent.

"He is perfectly willing to give his consent for an appropriate royalty," he said of the productions "La Bayadere," "Spartacus" and "Raymonda."

Vasilyev sought to play down the dispute and concentrated on praising his 400 dancers, singers and musicians who have just arrived in London.

"You don't have to worry. It [the London season] is going to take place," he said. "Royalties will be paid to him [Grigorovich] - if he is entitled to them. There is no danger of the tour being canceled."