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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Grigorovich Returns To Face the Music

Yury Grigorovich, artistic director and chief ballet-master at the Bolshoi, returns from tour Tuesday to a theater that is rife with rumors of his imminent resignation and inching its way toward reform and out of his control.

Rumors of Grigorovich's offer to resign last month have been firmly denied by the company's administrators, but small changes in the company's workings hint that his star is waning, insiders say.

Gedeminas Taranda, former star of the Bolshoi and Grigorovich's most outspoken critic is to meet Vladimir Kokonin, chief director of the theater, Thursday to discuss a possible return to the famous stage.

"I want to work there, it is my theater, my home," said Taranda Monday, adding that he would be discussing with Kokonin possibilities of solo performances and production his own programs.

Taranda was Grigorovich's prot?g? until the latter dramatically dismissed him moments before he was due on stage last February.

He went out on stage and addressed the audience, just before the start of the performance, to tell them that he had been fired.

A shouting match ensued, with Grigorovich and Kokonin screaming to security guards to arrest Taranda, while the theater erupted.

Taranda has consistently lobbied for reinstatement, claiming unfair dismissal.

His reinstatement or even a guest appearance by Taranda would almost certainly be against Grigorovich's wishes and a possible sign that his word is no longer absolute in the ballet company that he has led for 30 years.

As artistic director, chief ballet master and chief choreographer, Grigorovich has always had the last word on production and personnel decisions. On tour in Australia for the last month, he missed the big event of the queen's visit and her attendance, together with President Boris Yeltsin, to a performance of "Giselle" at the Bolshoi.

In his absence his dancers have been rehearsing "La Sylphide" under new masters, ballerina Gabriela Komleva and artistic director Oleg Vinogradov from St. Petersburg's Mariinsky Theater, formerly the Kirov.

The arrangement of guest productions represents a new departure for the Bolshoi which Yevgeny Sidorov, Russia's Culture Minister hopes to see flourish. A presidential decree in September made the Bolshoi's chief director responsible to the Culture Minister.

In a letter to Moscow News earlier this month Sidorov wrote: "The Bolshoi must be open to the best soloists, conductors, opera producers and choreographers the world has to offer," adding there was a need for "stylistically diverse ballets and operas which our audiences miss so much."