Alexander Kulyabin warmed his hands at the Red Torch
Kulyabin headed one of the most popular theaters in Novosibirsk for 23 years. His wife worked as a deputy director, and his son Timofey Kulyabin was a leading director, known far beyond Novosibirsk. What are the circumstances of the case?
Drama of the Kulyabin family. A criminal case has been opened against Alexander Kulyabin, the former director of the Novosibirsk Krasny Fakel Theatre, for embezzlement on an especially large scale. Earlier, the performances of his son, the famous director Timofey Kulyabin, who spoke out against the special operation and left Russia, were removed from the repertoire. In 2015, Kulyabin Jr. appeared in the Tannhäuser opera scandal. How did the Novosibirsk cultural community perceive the case against his father?
The Red Torch is one of the leading theaters in Novosibirsk. For the last 23 years it has been led by Alexander Kulyabin. His wife Irina Kulyabina worked as his deputy. Since 2015, his son Timofey has become the main director of this theater. The mass audience knows him primarily as the director of the scandalous production of “Tannhäuser” at the Novosibirsk Opera and Ballet Theatre. His interpretation of the Wagner opera at one time offended the feelings of some believers.
In addition to the Opera and Ballet Theater and the Red Torch, Kulyabin Jr. actively staged in Moscow: for example, at the Bolshoi Theater and at the Theater of Nations. In the spring of last year, he quit the theater, which was directed by his father, then left the country. In May, the Bolshoi removed the opera Don Pasquale by Timofey Kulyabin from the repertoire. On December 21, Krasny Torch announced that Timofey Kulyabin’s performances Onegin, Wild Duck, Children of the Sun were cancelled. Then the administration of the “Red Torch” explained this by “technical difficulties.” And two days later, the Novosibirsk Ministry of Culture terminated the contract with director Alexander Kulyabin. Alena Istomina, a journalist from Novosibirsk, tells about the creative family:
“Timofey is quite peculiar, I would say, a director, just like an amateur. Personally, not all of his performances come to me, but there are quite interesting moments. It seems to me that there is completely a father for a son. When I read the news, I realized that it was about my father, the first thought was just the same about Timofey’s departure, about the fact that he spoke out against it. For no reason at all, there were no prerequisites at all for there to be any checks in the Red Torch, I have not heard about it, at least. As far as I know “Red Torch”, there has always been director Kulyabin, that is, I’m quite young, and he let his directors experiment. The directors had freedom, judging by the performances. I don’t remember any scandals, so that something was banned there. I would not say that they had some kind of political agenda, but they certainly had a certain freedom.”
This Tuesday, the security forces detained Alexander Kulyabin. A criminal case was initiated against him on embezzlement of funds on an especially large scale. The case involves an amount of more than 1.8 million rubles. Searches were carried out at Kulyabin’s place of residence. Sources from the Novosibirsk edition NGS.ru report that the story of the criminal case has been dragging on for three or four years. According to them, Kulyabin Sr. gave the award to his son, and the amount was more than a million. In the early years, he did not give offense and was covered by one influential current official. There is no official confirmation of this information. Yegor Mikhailov, editor of the “Brain” department of Afisha Daily in Novosibirsk, continues:
Egor Mikhailov, editor of the “Brain” department of Afisha Daily in Novosibirsk: “From the position of such an almost ordinary viewer, I can say that the reputation of the Kulyabin family in Novosibirsk was wonderful. “Red Torch” together with “Globe” and “Old House” were three key points on the theatrical map of Novosibirsk. It is clear that the performances of Kulyabin Jr. have always been one of the main events, but what the theater did, in addition to the wonderful performances of Onegin, Kill and others, was always very cool. Personally, the detention of Kulyabin Sr. surprised me a little, it would not have surprised me if it happened six months ago, but since Kulyabin Jr. left the country and had no formal relationship with the Red Torch for a long time, it seemed that the risks associated with his statements that the risks from the theater were removed.
According to journalists, Kulyabin Sr., being a director, was a fairly open manager who could always be called, for example, for a comment.