Yuri Lyubimov, one of the formative directors of Russian theatre and opera, died today in Moscow.
Born in the year of the Bolshevik revolution, he took charge of a moribund Moscow theatre in 1964, renaming it the Taganka. He staged 66 productions there both before being exiled by the Soviet regime in 1984, and after his return.
Abroad, he staged opera at La Scala, Paris and Covent Garden where, after a rivetting Jenufa, he was commissioned to stage a Ring cycle. As he was living in Israel at the time and seemed unwilling to read Wagner’s drama from start to finish, the project aborted after an unhappy Rheingold and a reported falling out with the music director, Bernard Haitink. The rest of the cycle was undertaken unoriginally by Goetz Friedrich.