The price of artistic agony

Let’s hear it for Svetlana Voronina. Who she, I hear you cry?

The redoubtable Ms Voronina has taken a case to court in Russia, suing the Bolshoi Theatre for 1 million roubles: the price of her ticket back, and damages “for the moral agony experienced when watching the performance” of Glinka’s Ruslan and Lyudmila in the controversial staging by Dmitri Chernyakov which reopened the theatre after its gadzillion-dollar restoration.

Sadly, the case was thrown out, but bravo to Ms Voronina, for quantifying the agony. A million roubles is £21,000, or $34,000, so it’s not as though she were asking for a lifetime of luxury for having to endure what she described as “a refined psychological experiment on the audience, a mockery of Glinka and his opera”.

Certainly I’ve sat through performances like that — a particularly nasty Calixto Bieto Don Giovanni at ENO comes to mind, and I once endured The Phantom of the Opera — compensation is surely owing to me for having to watch that sodding chandelier go up and down and up and down — the most moving part of the evening.

So let’s think of who else to sue — nominations?

About inspectorbucket
Judith Flanders was born in London, England, in 1959. She moved to Montreal, Canada, when she was two, and spent her childhood there, apart from a year in Israel in 1972, where she signally failed to master Hebrew. After university, Judith returned to London and began working as an editor for various publishing houses. After this 17-year misstep, she began to write and in 2001 her first book, A Circle of Sisters, the biography of four Victorian sisters, was published to great acclaim, and nominated for the Guardian First Book Award. In 2003, The Victorian House (2004 in the USA, as Inside the Victorian Home) received widespread praise, and was shortlisted for the British Book Awards History Book of the Year. In 2006 Consuming Passions, was published. Her most recent book, The Invention of Murder, was published in 2011. Judith contributes articles, features and reviews for a number of newspapers and magazines.

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