Valery Gergiev. Photo by Alexander Shapunov.

In Thursday’s (11/16) Gramilano (Milan), Graham Spicer writes, “Russia’s two ‘rival’ theatres—The Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg and The Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow—will both be headed by Vladimir Putin’s favorite conductor, Valery Gergiev. Izvestiya reported that Gergiev will become the intendant of the Bolshoi Theatre and will remain in the same position at the Mariinsky Theatre, which he has been running since 1988. The Bolshoi’s current director, Vladimir Urin, is said to have chosen voluntarily to leave after ten years in the post. Apparently, Putin suggested the idea of one manager for both theatres during a meeting with Gergiev in March 2022. Before the Russian Revolution in 1917 the two theatres were run in this way. After Gergiev refused to condemn the invasion of Ukraine last year, he was forced out of Milan’s La Scala where he was working at the time, and saw his other European and American contacts cancelled. Gergiev said that directing both theatres would mean that it would be easier to ‘co-ordinate efforts,’ while Putin said that in this way the two theatres would ‘complement each other in the best way possible.’ ”