Valery Gergiev: How I exert discipline

Valery Gergiev: How I exert discipline


norman lebrecht

September 21, 2015

In an interview with Tass today, the maestro talks about maintaining control at the Mariinsky Theatre:

valery-gergiev ossetia

‘It was my strong wish the theater had a chance to live by its own rules, and I demanded obedience to the internal, corporate rules. Whenever some abused the code of conduct or fell out of step, I instantly froze relations with that person. I needed close associates whom I would be able to rely on. Some tried to use the Mariinsky Theater as a springboard, to perform on its stage several times for the sole purpose of clinching a second-rate contract in Dusseldorf, Vienna or London. I never used force to keep people, but I severed all further contacts with them. All of my thoughts were not about defectors, but about those who preferred to stay, about preserving the company, about survival. We managed. The 2000s were a little bit easier. Now I’ve had to confront new challenges. But I am certain that we will cope with them with honor and dignity.’



  • Jacques says:

    In the music, as well as in the sports, there is a constant move. Musicians move all the time to perform in different places. To call this people defectors, severing all further contacts with them like Gergiev proudly states, is an ugly, disgusting arrogance. One need just to look at Gergiev’s schedule and his list of jobs. So when he conducts in London it’s OK, and when a Marinsky singer parts to Paris, he is called a defector?

    • V.Lind says:

      While defector has a meaning, its usage by a Russian hearkens up the bad old days of Soviet rule by fiat — which are probably the good old days to the Putin favourite, Gergiev. His do as I say and not as I do is extremely hypocritical, though I imagine he would see building his brand as good for the Mariinsky, to which his loyalty is never n doubt. But he should remember that is is, to most musicians, and employer, not a sacred cause.