Gergiev was so late, someone else conducted from the wingsmain
The Mariinsky chief gave so little time to rehearsing the St Petersburg production of Rodion Shchedrin’s opera Lolita that Sergei Neller, who conducted the world premiere in Prague, stood in the wings and gave cues to the singers at the correct tempo.
From a Slovak report:
The soloists were lost several times in rehearsal. Many told me that they were under stress when they saw that they would have no support from the conductor. Gergiev ignored them all, and if they couldn’t find (his beat), he just continued conducting.
Finally, a solution was adopted by which the conductor of the Prague performance Sergei Neller stood behind the scenes during the premiere and showed soloists instead of Gergiev.
As I sat with Shchedrin in one box, I could watch him all the time. Nervousness only dropped after the first act when it turned out that both the players and the conductor could finally make it at a level higher than looked possible half an hour before the curtain rose.
Read on here.