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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Theater Elite's Unrefined Act

Upstaged indeed! Even bigger than the near sweep of dramatic awards by the Omsk Drama Theater (which won three of its four nominations), and the Mariinsky Theater's powerful showing in the music and dance categories (five awards), the big news at the Golden Mask ceremony Monday night was the audience. Unruly and rude, large numbers of the "theatrical elite" began laughing, talking loudly and shouting epithets when the show was only minutes under way.

Hosts Yulia Rutberg and Sergei Makovetsky struggled heroically to keep the situation under control, but even Makovetsky's impromptu outburst of "Shame on you!" at one point only drew guffaws and derision. The show was staged by Vladimir Mirzoyev -- always controversial, but now the b?te noire of Moscow's directors -- as a mock funeral for art at the end of the 20th century. It may have been excessively grim and long for an awards ceremony, but I have never seen anything so unnerving as a sea of well-known critics and theater figures behaving like drunken sailors. Will Russian television give us the real picture or a whitewashed version when the ceremonies are broadcast at 8:50 p.m. Saturday?

That said, here are the winners. In the drama category: Anatoly Vasilyev and Nikolai Chindyaikin's "The Lament of Jeremiah," at Moscow's School of Dramatic Art, won best show and Vasilyev shared best designer with Igor Popov for the same show; Vladimir Petrov of the Omsk Drama Theater won best director for "The Woman in the Dunes," while his cast of Mikhail Okunev and Araki Kadzuho took the acting accolades. The Mariinsky Theater of St. Petersburg won best opera, best conductor (Valery Gergiyev) and best male performance in a musical show (Vladimir Galuzin), all of whom participated in "The Gambler." In the ballet category, the Mariinsky took best ballet ("Symphony in C") and best female dancer (Ulyana Lopatkina). Alexander Titel (director of "La Boheme"), and Olga Guryakova (best female performance in a musical show), won awards for their work at Moscow's Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Theater. Igor Markov of the Boris Eifman Ballet of St. Petersburg took best male dancer. Awards in puppetry went to "Song of the Volga" (best show), Ilya Epelbaum (best director), Andrei Yefimov (best designer) and Viktor Platonov (best actor).

-- John Freedman