Saturday, October 19, 2013

Valery Gergiev

I am not a fan.

Gergiev is, I believe, the perfect conductor for Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, whose operas require constant, short bursts of energy—and little else—to come alive. In fact, I think Gergiev’s recordings of the Rimsky-Korsakov operas, on the Philips label, constitute the sole durable portion of an otherwise undistinguished and unremarkable discography.

During the year I lived in Vienna, everyone connected with the world of music said that Gergiev was schwul—and listed Gergiev’s various romantic entanglements, all much younger than Gergiev and all from the worlds of music and ballet. It was said that Gergiev specifically targeted young men capable of grasping that Gergiev was in a position significantly to advance their careers.

And Gergiev, indeed, did advance a few careers of romantic conquests, including that of a violinist whose career Gergiev inexplicably continues to promote—as violinist and as conductor—to this day, going so far as to give him an official position at The Mariinsky Theatre. (The two last vacationed together, in solitude, for two weeks, in the late summer of 2012, at a private resort two hours from Tbilisi.)

Most Gergiev conquests, however, were dropped as soon as they were no longer of use.

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