Presidential Administration: dismissal of Novosibirsk Theater director was forced

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Boris Mezdrich, who had been head of the Novosibirsk Theater for more than ten years, was dismissed after staging the scandalous opera "Tannhauser"

The decision of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation to remove the director of the

Novosibirsk Opera and Ballet Theater was forced. The Deputy Head of the Presidential

Administration of the Russian Federation Magomedsalam Magomedov said that during his working visit to Novosibirsk on Monday.

"The performance led to the confrontation between the secular and religious communities"

"The Theater staged the opera, which led to the confrontation between the secular and religious communities. The Ministry of Culture had to intervene in the situation, to publish its position and make appropriate personnel decisions," he said.

Magomedov also noted that experts should evaluate the performances to be staged in the Russian state theaters, in order to prevent the repetition of such conflicts in the future.

"We should ensure that the most prominent theaters in the country stage the plays that unite our people, our country. Let`s stage this kind performances, but not those that split the society," said Magomedov. According to him, the repertoire of the theater, especially that of the state ones, should "at some stage be examined" by the expert community.

The Governor of the Novosibirsk Region Vladimir Gorodetsky, in his turn, admitted to journalists that the regional government had been late in assessing the conflict over the "Tannhauser" opera, but it would try to prevent such large-scale public confrontations in the future. He agreed that experts should evaluate theater performances and noted that an advisory body might be introduced in the region to deal with such issues.

"Of course, the workers of culture missed a scandalous case. No one has the right to violate people`s feelings - neither state, nor regional, nor private theaters. I think censorship is not the way out either, but at the same time some advisory body should define the limits," said the Governor.

Boris Mezdrich`s dismissal

The Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation dismissed the theater director Boris Mezdrich, who had headed the Theater for more than ten years (2001-2008, he headed the Theater again in 2011). Mezdrich was removed from office "for failure to fulfill the directions of the founder."

The source in the Novosibirsk region government, in his turn, said to the TASS reporter that that personnel decision was related to the scandalous opera "Tannhauser".

Vladimir Kekhman, head of the Mikhailovsky Theater, replaced Mezdrich as the theater director.

The opera "Tannhauser" sparked public discussions following the statement of the Metropolitan of Novosibirsk and Berdsk Tikhon, who said that religious symbols were used in the opera inappropriately.

It is not for the church to cancel something staged in the theaters, the culture is developing, and new trends are emerging. But we have a law that envisages respect for the rights of the believers. Metropolitan of Novosibirsk and Berdsk Tikhon

The Prosecutor's Office initiated an administrative case against the director of the opera "Tannhauser" Timofey Kulyabin and the director of the Novosibirsk State Opera and Ballet Theater Boris Mezdrich in connection with the "desecration of objects of religious worship".

In mid-March, the court dismissed the administrative case due to the lack of the legal components of a crime, but the decision was appealed.

Text and pictures by TASS