‘Hercules’ show bores Muscovites

A variety production staged at a cost of hundreds of thousands of euros by the Culture Ministry in Moscow bombed miserably on its opening night on Thursday, with most of the audience leaving their seats well before the end of the three-hour show. «The Labors of Hercules» was staged in the 12,000-seat Olimpiski Stadium as part of the Cultural Olympiad series of events inaugurated by Greece in 2001 with the intention of adding an artistic twist to its hosting of next summer’s Olympics. Directed, produced and executed by Russians – including past and present Olympic athletes, a caged lion and a deer – the show cost the Culture Ministry some 740,000 euros. At the end, no more than 2,000 of the original 8,000 spectators were in their seats. In statements from Moscow yesterday, Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos tried gamely to defend the show. «Clearly, by Russian standards, the results were very positive, if I am to judge from the reactions of the Russians I spoke to and from what the Russian media reported,» he said. «Of course, our own aesthetic values are different.»