Alexander Stoyanov, the husband of Kateryna Kukhar, showcases "Swan Lake" and promotes the ideas of the "Russian world" in Europe
Oleksandr Stoyanov, former director of the National Opera and husband of People's Artist of Ukraine Kateryna Kukhar, is promoting Russian culture in Europe. The artist and a group of his colleagues are traveling around Germany with the ballet Swan Lake set to the music of Russian composer Pyotr Tchaikovsky.
On the company's Instagram page, OBOZ.UA found information about Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake, which is being presented in Stuttgart, Germany, by the Grand Kyiv Ballet company (led by Oleksandr Stoyanov). It is also reported that the company plans to perform in several other German cities. In February, they will bring Swan Lake to Prague.
On the Grand Kyiv Ballet's Instagram, a photo with a fragment of a ballet performance is captioned as follows: "Today we are visiting Frankfurt with Swan Lake. Artists Petra Conti, Mie Nagasawa, and Viktor Tomashek have already gotten to know the stages."
Khrystyna Shyshpor, prima ballerina of the National Opera, also drew attention to this situation. The artist recorded an emotional video on her Instagram page in the format of stories but did not mention any specific names. From the context, it is clear that it is about Stoyanov and his company.
"Aren't you afraid that you are hiding abroad now, when you should be in Ukraine?" Khrystyna addressed her colleagues, "And you are also promoting Russian culture. Please, if you have brains, stop, because you are walking on the edge. Stop, because this will be a big scandal, a full-scale scandal. Artists will not remain silent. And yet you pretend to be artists of the National Opera. Aren't you ashamed?"
According to Khrystyna Shyshpor, the National Ballet dancers refused to perform all the works by Russian authors: "Yes, these are very famous works, performances have been built over the years, and we have performed them as well. But now we can't make money on it. Aren't you nuts? Perform 'The Forest Song' and 'Lila,' our Ukrainian works. I don't want to mention these names, but a little more, and I will, because you are charlatans."
It is worth noting that this is not the first scandal of Alexander Stoyanov with Tchaikovsky's ballets. A similar story was widely publicized in the fall of 2022. Back then, the artist and his ballet company, Grand Kyiv Ballet, were planning a huge tour of Swan Lake and The Nutcracker in Germany and some other European countries. The performance was advertised on Facebook: the poster featured the Ukrainian flag, the inscription Kiew Grand Ballett, and Oleksandr Stoyanov as the artistic director of the company.
Ukrainians were outraged in the comments at the time: "People who bring something like this to the international arena from Ukraine are stupid," "Someone teach them to dance something else! Because this is some kind of professional incompetence!" "In the time of Russian aggression, the performance of Russian music by Ukrainian artists is immoral!" Facebook users also wrote that these were not the first cities where Stoyanov and the company had come to glorify Russian culture, other theater venues were mentioned - in Denmark, Spain, and the Czech Republic.
Subsequently, the National Opera issued a statement on its official website asking not to associate the theater with "ballet companies of unknown origin." These companies have nothing to do with the National Opera of Ukraine.
Among the names listed in the post, Stoyanov's company was mentioned: "Some of the troupes deliberately disguise themselves as the brand of the National Opera of Ukraine, using similar names such as Das Nationalballett Kiew, Ballet de Kiev, Kiew Grand Ballett, Kyiv City Ballet, Nasjonalballetten fra Kyiv, Ukraine Classic Ballet." "We consider it necessary to categorically state that these dubious companies have nothing to do with the National Opera of Ukraine," the statement reads, "Our position - the removal of works by Russian composers from the current repertoire - is fundamental, and we strictly adhere to it.
Meanwhile, a video has been posted on Oleksandr Stoyanov's page, where he explains the presence of Tchaikovsky's ballets in his company's repertoire by saying that they are staged by Ukrainian choreographers. To support his words, he quotes an interview with his colleague, ballerina Natalia Matsak, from several years ago: "There is a huge difference between the origin of the ballet and its staging. It's wrong to call ballets 'Russian,' since every theater in the world has had 2-3 versions of their own for decades. In our theater, we have two versions of Swan Lake by Kovtun and Shikera, Ukrainian choreographers who gave years of their lives to glorify our culture. The sets and costumes were created by our artists."
"The situation is the same with The Nutcracker (back in February 2022, Kukhar was actively touring Ukrainian cities with this ballet - Ed.) and other famous classical productions. How can you take and cancel such work? I'm not even talking about the fact that Swan Lake is based on an old German legend, and Tchaikovsky wrote this work in Ukraine. We must understand that Russia will only benefit from this, appropriating not only the classical heritage but also everything that is at least indirectly related to it, all author's productions," Stoyanov said, "hiding behind" Matsak's words.
The artist also added that he is having a "big and difficult discussion" about whether Ukrainian artists can perform Swan Lake with "the mother of my children, Kateryna Kukhar." In doing so, Stoyanov once again fueled rumors that he and Kukhar are no longer together as a couple.
As OBOZ.UA has learned from its own sources, Oleksandr Stoyanov is no longer an artist of the National Opera of Ukraine - he does not work at the theater. His contract has expired and has not been renewed. The full-scale invasion caught Stoyanov on tour abroad. It is unknown whether the actor has returned to Ukraine since then.
Kateryna Kukhar serves in the National Opera of Ukraine on a contract basis. The ballerina's main place of work is the Kyiv State Professional Choreographic College, which she heads. Kateryna Kukhar also spends a lot of time abroad.
In particular, an American news agency wrote about Stoyanov and Kukhar a month and a half ago: "More than 16,000 Ukrainian refugees arrived in Washington state after the Russian invasion in 2022, including Grand Kyiv Ballet artistic director Oleksandr Stoyanov and prima ballerina Kateryna Kukhar. The family moved to Bellevue in May 2022, where they found a community of other Ukrainians. They are currently preparing for their local debut with a production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at the Paramount Theater.