Oleg Ivenko about Anna Netrebko’s jubilee, #StagePlatforma and his wedding’s concert version

The principal dancer of the Tatar Opera and Ballet Theatre believes that the contemporary dance festival in November will do take place

Oleg Ivenko about Anna Netrebko’s jubilee, #StagePlatforma and his wedding’s concert version
Photo: Maxim Platonov

The 4th #StagePlatforma festival will be in Kazan from 5 to 7 November. Connoisseurs of contemporary dance have been waiting for this event for a very long time because it has already been postponed several times — because of the pandemic in 2020, this spring it was cancelled again. Now principal dancer of the Jalil Tatar Opera and Ballet Theatre Oleg Ivenko invites the best contemporary dancers to his festival. In an interview with Realnoe Vremya, he explained if concerts would again be cancelled because of recently introduced restrictions due to COVID-19, what surprises Moscow and Kazan ballet stars were preparing and what was happening in the professional life of the author and ideologist of the #StagePlatforma.

We have been really tired of postponements”

Oleg, the main question that is concerning spectators today is if the festival in November will be held.

You understand that today every day is full of news and not always pleasant surprises. However, we — artists and organisers — really hope that this time it will be held. We have been really tired of postponements... It is clear that we will take all the precautions, we are planning to fill 50% of the hall. About 30% of the tickets have been sold nowadays, so there is quite a real chance of getting to the festival, one should hurry up. While all invited artists already added the dates of the festival to their agenda, confirmed their participation. I will especially stress that showman and journalist Vadim Vernik will be the host of the evening.

How did you manage to get him? He is very popular today...

We are very close friends, he helps me in my acting career. We met with him and had a very kind talk at Anna Netrebko’s jubilee, he is a unique person who understands you, knows absolutely everything about ballet, opera and art in general, plus cinema, he tells you an incredible amount of interesting stories, he is anyway the famous actor’s brother.

I will note that these dances have already been shown on Moscow and Saint Petersburg stages and abroad, but my colleagues will show them in Kazan for the first time. I asked my friends to show the best dances from their repertoire

World and Tatarstan premieres

There will be two concerts and several master classes. Who will we see this time?

5 November will be rather a day of professional communication. So participants and choreographers Alexander Mogilyov, Vladimir Varnava, Ilya Shivoy, Oleg Gabyshev, Alessandro Caggegi, Marsel Nuriyev will offer a series of master classes for amateur and professional dancers who have different levels. They will last until 6 November, but Ivenko and Friends concert given by Kazan stars awaits spectators too. I will note that we prepared absolutely new performances for the festival, almost all of them are premieres with Amanda Gomes, Wagner Carvalho, Alessandro Caggegi, Alexandra Yelagina, Thais Diógenes, Anton Polodyuk, Ilnur Gayfullin and others. By the way, we will present more classic performances in that evening, however, contemporary dance will also be included.

On 7 November, we will give the stage to the guests who will treat us to contemporary dance performances. I will note that these dances have already been shown on Moscow and Saint Petersburg stages and abroad, but my colleagues will show them in Kazan for the first time. I asked my friends to show the best dances from their repertoire. Soloists of the Mariinsky Theatre Anastasia Matviyenko, Alexander Sergeyev, Ilya Zhivoy, Vladimir Varnava, Bolshoi soloists Kristina Kretova and Igor Tsvirko, principal of the Berlin State Ballet Dina Tamazlakara, soloist of Boris Eifman Theatre Oleg Gabyshev, soloists of the Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Academy Music Theatre Yelena Solomyanko and Innokenty Yuldashev will come here. Our Kazan dancers — Marsel Nuriyev and Maria Nuriyeva — will be here too, they will present their world premieres. The programme will be simply first-class.

I don’t even deliberately look for a Russian agent and deny offers. But I receive offers from abroad too

“Russian cinema isn’t my thing”

As for your film career. Have you received new offers after The White Crow, for instance, from Russian cinematographers?

To be honest, I don’t consider Russian cinema, it isn’t my thing. I don’t even deliberately look for a Russian agent and deny offers. But I receive offers from abroad too. I won’t jump the gun, but I hope I will make you happy with pleasant news soon.

Are you still in touch with Ralph Fiennes who made a film with you as Rudolf Nuriyev? How are his Russian classes?

The pandemic made its amendments, he suspended his Russian classes and is dealing with its artistic issues. We call each other about once in two months. I know he is promoting his one-man show about coronavirus Beat the Devil. He has already shown it in London and will soon present it in New York. By the way, playwright David Hare who also worked on The White Crow’s script wrote this play.

Everything in life is no accident

How did you receive the invitation to participate in Anna Netrebko’s jubilee concert? How was the performance itself?

I am an artist of Berin Iglesias Art, its director — Maxim Berin — offered me to participate in the concert. It was about a year and a half ago. He offered me to stage a performance from my one-man show I am working on now. I was inspired but then we understood this dance would stand out in the general concept of the concert. Then the idea of dancing to Anna Netrovko’s singing came to my mind, presenting this dance to her. I was given the singer’s spouse’s consent, Yusif Eyvazov, he agreed with Anna on it, he sent a number of songs from her repertoire, and I chose Igor Krutoy’s La Fantasia.

When I learnt this, I was simply in a shock — it is simply a constellation of top artists! I had been preparing for the performance very hard because it had to be something special

The concert was transmitted on TV, the maestro accompanied you. What did you feel when you turned out in such company?

When I learnt this, I was simply in a shock — it is simply a constellation of top artists! I had been preparing for the performance very hard because it had to be something special. We started to think, work on choreography together with our ballet company’s head Vladimir Yakovlev. I continued working on it on my own on holiday. It turned out to be an interesting story, it is simply incredible. I went on holiday with my spouse Regina and family and invited almost all my relatives from Ukraine, where I was born, to Turkey. And the hotel happened to have a real dance room! It wasn’t a gym but a real ballet room. This is where I trained with pleasure almost on my own. I made sure once again that everything in life is no accident. Then in Kazan, Marsel Nuriyev joined the work, and we got very interesting choreography.

If Netrebko and Ivenko’s project will appear

Did not you feel black sheep when you arrived at the concert because Anna Netrobko’s only long-time friends were at the jubilee, while you are the only person who didn’t know her offline, only online.

Some sincerity was constantly felt there. While Filipp Kirkorov, Plácido Domingo, Valeria and Iosif Prigozhin, Alexander Revva with his spouse were there... But in the end, everything was amazing, I didn’t lose my face — everybody liked the performance very much. After that, Anna warmly thanked me. I will tell you a secret — we are going to present something together. But I don’t want to share the details yet.

All the work is dedicated to my new projects — the creation of my play, the festival and promotion in foreign cinematography

Wedding on European stage

You announced your wedding with your colleague Regina two months ago. Congratulations! How do you feel about the new status of head of the family?

Like before, nothing changed. However, we are going to celebrate the wedding itself, a big and beautiful one, in two years. We just got married on 21 August, our dearest and nearest came to us. While we are going to gather all our friends, colleagues and make a wedding on the stage, such a concert version of the wedding with stars, our friends’ performances. We will do this somewhere in Europe. We postponed this because of the pandemic, hopefully, tensions will stop running high in two years, the disease will step back, the borders will open and our friends from all over the world can come to our wedding.

Could you tell us about your new roles in the theatre, what are you going to show this season?

Now I am in such a period when new roles are what I do the least. Arman in the ballet The Lady of the Camellias is the novelty. All the work is dedicated to my new projects — the creation of my play, the festival and promotion in foreign cinematography.

When will we see your one-man show?

I hope in the middle of 2022, in the worst-case scenario, at the next #StagePlatforma.

Anna Tarletskaya. Photo: Maxim Platonov
Tatarstan