Dmitry Bertman: “Only in the cemetery you can concentrate fully

Tchaikovsky 50 years wrote “Queen of spades”, Verdi — “Force of destiny”, Puccini — his “Triptych”, Mozart… did not live. And Dmitry Bertman are happy that all of them are good leads, but sometimes complex friendship. It has the ability to come to your theater, which had to suffer and defend, he is proud that “Helikon” is known not only a complete aesthetic platform, but also the atmosphere of the theatre family.


With Galina Vishnevskaya. Photo: gorproect.ru

“I’m always with Rimsky-Korsakov disputes”

— Here enter the theater — what is the first thought arise? What you catch?

Oh, when you walk — still do not believe that this is not a dream that we found a historical scene, and I enjoy the beauty of our building, the talent of the troupe and, Yes, I understand that I am the happiest person in the world.

— Favorite place to eat?

All favorite: costume, classes, down to the ventilation ducts is also a fascinating spectacle. We have two of them. One on the “minus first” floor, the other on the fourth. These mines — like the scenery for the play “Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk”. And another favorite place is the rooftop where stunning views of Moscow — the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, the Kremlin, the skyscraper on Vosstaniya square. It is a cherished place where you can come with friends, to meditate there, because on top of all life situations differently are seen. And under the stage a unique space where all the machinery necessary — the whole plant… I’m there every day there.

— The reader will ask: what are you doing every day?

— And how? To machinery use, and it should be good to know, so it is advisable to be there more often.

— What specially trained person?

— I have to understand everything is to talk with professionals in the same language. So a theatre was built: at first I knew nothing about construction, but then began to live on the project, began to learn each Builder, engineer in the face and by name.

— And what place you stand in the room at the time of rehearsal?

— The auditorium is the very final work, this is a moment of control, and before that — run-run, rehearsing chamber music in the classes, as-built mise-EN-scene — this is the result…

— Here you do not have the opportunity to talk with the late composer, but if you have such a need?

— Why not have options? First, I must understand all the nuances of his biography and attitude, know the time, all that surrounded him, literally by the hour.

— Hourly?

— Of course. And when I know all this, only then have the right to ask the composer some questions.

— How?

— The cemetery food, for example. Love the Lavra Alexander Nevsky — where Tchaikovsky, Borodin, Mussorgsky, Rimsky-Korsakov; come to visit them with flowers. In the cemetery of Vienna go to the great. In Moscow at the Novodevichy. Definitely. There it is possible to concentrate, to think of something to say. All of this intimate process.

— And is that the answer is no — contact is not established?

— M-m-m… Usually the contact is getting better, but there are different situations. I now know that I have a good relationship with Tchaikovsky, Borodin and Shostakovich, but with Rimsky-Korsakov disputes. But still trying with him to negotiate.

— That is it the man is biting?

Well… we think differently. Paradoxically funny situations occur: you come, Bang, a reconstruction of the statue, he scored! I then Rimsky-Korsakov under the boards enclose the flowers. He is offended at me sometimes for bills.

— For the cut out places in the product?

Yes. Well, I have to! And then I go to him and explain why do it. And he — sometimes — open, you know, the sun is coming out… But sometimes I know he hear what he said, but still won’t.

And many who have to cut?

— It happens. But with Tchaikovsky I’m good, he gives me this opportunity with joy. With Rubinstein was first “you”, then he “you” moved. We’re friends now.

— That is, bills they have to forgive? Like, what the digital age…

— They forgive, if the bills are motivated, that is for the concentration of drama to work has become successful — in their time it could, by the way, not to have any success.

— How to communicate with those with whom you cannot meet in person on a cemetery? Here Verdi…

— Yes well you! With Verdi’s great to communicate with him easily — he’s very theatrical, it is directed, that is, colleague. Verdi — master, teacher…

— Not to say that music is primary, and though you kill yourself.

— No, I say that the music is primary. The question is: what should be done for the success of the show? And success is also needed.

Yeah, so they said Dima, 50% of your applause is the us.

— I think that 99% of the applause is for them. No, really. It is not-criticism and not flirting. Even if the show was terrible and ugly, the audience will still clap, because when Violetta in “La Traviata” will die, and then will begin to sound, the violin, the room will still cry regardless of the Director. “Music will remove all”, — said Boris Pokrovsky. And that many use. Even those who do not have the profession of Opera directing. This is especially true of other dramatic Directors coming to Opera box, who think only on their concept, and the choir may sing, and the musicians let themselves somehow playing, and the music in the end and justify.


Luxury Stravinsky hall in the “Helicon”.

“That will come out on the stage and I was in corruption to blame!”

— No desire to remain on the scene as an actor?

— I have had several occasions in my life, but I don’t want them repeated. For example, when I was at University I put in Amateur theatre Home medical “Iolanta” by Tchaikovsky. There was singing everything from folk artists to students and hobbyists. And here came one of my classmate in the small role of Bertrand, gatekeeper of the Royal castle. What to do? And I had to impose on himself the make-up of Bertrand and the entire show to sing this role in order to save the situation. But it’s stressful, and I sang awfully, so… no, don’t… Or that will come on the scene and I’ll kill the “corruption” that I went out specially to earn extra money. In light of all the recent events…

— All of these corruption scandals at the theatre — if a bird’s flight is purgatory that must be passed during the country’s transition from socialism to capitalism?

— Oh I do not know. I — if a method actor — I don’t know “what to steal and where to steal.” Here’s a set I goal: I need to steal. Well. But immediately the questions: what and where, because Opera houses every month barely able to make ends meet, the money that we get, they are very low for our industry. And we earn for the institution a little money, because the tickets are cheap compared to European prices. To increase the price of tickets is impossible — so we immediately cut off the viewer. Here and don’t know where to get those extra money, and most importantly, how to do it, when all financial activity is through the electronic system in the cloud and for each operation theatre at the same time monitor and the Treasury, and the Department, many agencies see the passing documents. Plus every time we pass a balance check, report!

— That is, if you steal a million or two — it will not work?

— Of course, will not work. To write a fee, must first approve the budget of the Department for culture, and then to coordinate it. With any transaction, a holding of money is in electronic circulation, it is not even paper, nothing in hindsight did not fit.

— It is often said that even creative material factor wins today…

— I do not feel neither themselves nor their artists. So happy: all around, make no money, and the theatre! I have, on the contrary, the feeling of pity that the work of artists paid not to the extent in which it can be evaluated. After all, the work of the Opera singer is very heavy, associated with many human factors. First, you need to be born with a voice. And the voice is the divine gift that the artist has a lifetime to fulfill. Because if this gift is not worked through, he is taken by God exactly the same as it was given. And pick it up any flu, poisoning, stress, conflict, wrong lesson with the teacher, long flights, the shout of the conductor, the extra performance that the singer sang to help out the theatre.

— And was your memory of the occasions when the singers lost their voice?

— Of course. When the theatre was just beginning, we still had a few singers were not reserve teams, and tickets sold have to sing, and the singer performed for four consecutive days the most difficult part. And the apparatus did not survive. And it is irreversible. Such are the sins upon me. And not because I was forced to, it was a mutual desire, because the artist is eager to stage it, on the contrary, it is necessary to save and protect us from such feats.

— That you how do people see faces or voices?

The voice is a cosmic phenomenon. It has lots of information about the person. The voice, you can determine its appearance, character and sensuality. Voice undress you completely.

— But there are also faux? On the phone they say — one man meet is another altogether.

— Was once a. With Montserrat Caballe. I listened to her from childhood, knew the records, seen in the performances and totally pictured her as a person, until it became to work with her. It was the biggest snag. And the only one.

— And your two other great women-girlfriends — Vishnevskaya Obraztsova and there was full compliance?

— Absolutely. The most precise. People with direct character. Galina Vishnevskaya and therefore chose a sample and at first watched over her, that they are very similar: both victim of the siege, both from St. Petersburg, very emotional, sensual, and erotic. And they both… as if the exact word to find… both “wrong”.

— In the correct sense “wrong”?

Yes. They are the exception. It’s what drives great art. Because when all right — there is no art. And with them I continue, of course, to communicate. But I don’t have enough feedback. As Mandelstam written, to paraphrase: I — phone — still have the address find dead people to vote.


With Elena Obraztsova and Anna Netrebko.

“I take offense at that? Am I underestimated?”

— And you have never visited the idea that Opera is not “art”, as this tells us, encyclopedia, and something quite different — in its essence and significance? Well, in light of what we talked about earlier… that is kind of like fun, but on the other hand, cosmic phenomenon.

— Another brand. Because music is information, it is the vibration of a divine origin. Anywhere in the world people who speak different languages, listening to the same music, will be in the same places, cry, swoon, smile; that is, music is a language understood by all, and equally. Another thing is that there are people who don’t deserve to understand it. Or them it is not given.

Not only artists God chooses, but the audience?

— Of course. In this sense theatre and any art — to make a choice of the audience, to surround yourself with those who are closest to you. It is the relationship — when we, “Helicon”, in need of your audience, and this audience needs us.

— By the way, in the light of this spectator love: did you not want to 50 years to take and to feel great? “I’m great”, and that’s it.

— Well it was necessary. So far I have not had time to think about it. And think — take a step back, going from what you should be doing. What am I to bronze over? And I take offense at that? Am I underestimated? I, on the contrary, always complex: I may not deserve what we have. So always I sincerely thank all those who helped me, you know that I made an advance and that it is impossible to let them down. This also applies to my teachers, and those who have helped to make theatre. So, when I criticize — Bertman again praised the mayor, saying, licks — inside of me a sense of resentment and resistance, because I’m sincere here: how can you not say about the man who made you happy? I, along with the theatre has passed through all the authorities, beginning with Gorbachev, and all the people from whom depended on the progress of my life, they have always helped, because they saw the results. I have never in all my life never gave anyone a bribe, never have I nobody asked. I never with the concept of corruption is not encountered. Therefore I say that happy.

But sometimes — as artistic Director — to include the dictator?

— I have two roles. As for the house: the artist must live two people — the artist and the Comptroller. As a leader I take responsibility for the actors, for their lives. Take care of all the problems and try to solve them, not wait for a miracle. So I for their artists — the head of the family. We have great confidence. I know a lot about them things that will stay with me for life. Try to help them — that they achieved some results with smaller losses for themselves. Hard are rarely in moments of disobedience, when not can be other ways. But, again, this very rarely happens, in fact my selection is very important in our family. If something does, I will relate these problems — so they brought bad.

— At the theatre late?

— Deep into the night. And not alone because of such crazy as I am, we have a full theatre. Leaving two nights for the classroom door to hear the singing voice of — anyone involved. And the watchman and the guard, seeing, telling me how tonight he sang a particular artist, give their critical evaluation. With us come drink this “elixir of happiness”. As well as cleaners, who for 25 years have work with which I am familiar. In the theater, in principle, people don’t work for money, it’s like the Church is here to serve.

— Ever had the idea to drop everything?

— It’s impossible. No, not really. Yes, when there was a struggle for this building, I was scared physically — there were threats, there was an attack, and in parallel I had good offers from different countries, saying, go to us. But the family here, as you can throw? Long understood: if you encounter any difficulties, the greatest catharsis — of their solutions.

— And at what age feel?

— Can fall into insanity, but now feel younger. Although when I was young, felt older. Look, when I was 21 I graduated from GITIS, was to come to the theaters, came out and said “let’s rehearse” — looked at me with round eyes: “what’s This? It’s the Director?”. So I had myself as a “podstrigat”: I had to wear suits, trousers, ties. And now everything went in a different direction: I am interested with youth, want to look at the world through their eyes and finally, you can go in jeans… Look at the artists, my peers. They look thirty. Is well preserved. Why? Because such an atmosphere we have — there is no anger, the people are young, they all took the Makropulos case. And live.

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