ENGLISH VERSION18 мая 2008 13:40

Russian oligarchs spoil Western stars

They're paid huge wages to play private concerts in Russia.
Elton John told Rostov locals he'd do anything for money — even climb on the piano!

Elton John told Rostov locals he'd do anything for money — even climb on the piano!

На русском: Наши олигархи развратили западных звезд

They're paid huge wages to play private concerts in Russia. It makes performing concerts for ordinary people simply uninteresting.

Wake up, Sir! Rostov is waiting for you!

Most people thought Moscow couldn’t be wowed by the wages it offers foreign stars after George Michael's $3-million New Year's performance. But another international favorite has recently beaten his record — Sir Elton John. KP has learned the musician will perform this fall at the opening of a private hotel in Rublevka. Rumor goes he's the hotel mistress' favorite performer and she negotiated with him herself. Initially Sir Elton's management was against the idea, but the $5-million prize proved too tempting to turn down.

Sir Elton will visit Moscow for one day only. He'll be taken to his hotel accompanied by security. After an hour-long concert he'll head back home to England.

Several years ago, the talented bespectacled Romantic charged 200,000 euro per stadium concert in Europe. In Russia he asked twice the sum at 400,000 euro. He’s also performed at a casino in Las Vegas for a relatively modest amount. But after the high-end bids he received to perform in Rostov-on-Don in honor of the region's 70th anniversary and the opening of a metallurgical factory, few will be able to afford the music mogul.

Madonna sells for $30 million

It was a strange spectacle. Very wealthy and equally tasteless Russians offer stars deals that are bad for their reputation — such as performances at laundry mats. The only justification for the celebrity accepting the offer is the fat check. They're people, too. Who would refuse?

In a recent interview, Madonna admitted she would no longer sing old hits like «Holiday» or «Like a Virgin.» She was tired of singing the same songs over and over again. But she said she would be willing to remember the glory days for the right price.

«If they pay me $30 million, I'll do it. Maybe some rich Russian will invite me to sing at his wedding with a 17-year-old girl. You know what I mean.»

It's entirely possible. Madonna knows what she's talking about. Two years ago, Madame Richie attended the corporate party of a large company at Moscow's Forum Hall as an honorary guest. She didn't even sing. She just sat there and smiled. She received a round sum for her efforts. Later she asked an astronomical amount for her concert at Luzhniky.

Easy Russian money has also spoiled George Michael. After attending a New Year's party for $3 million, Michael shocked SAV Entertainment (ed. Main supplier of international celebrities to Russia) by asking an enormous amount for a concert at Olympic Stadium.

Aleksandr Gafin, vice president of the bank that sponsored Michael, was up in arms: «We were talking about one million dollars in Europe. But after he was paid $3 million for a simple visit, we had a hard time negotiating. I don't like companies that don't know anything about this business and exaggerate the prices. After getting three times more than what they can in Europe, celebrities are less enthusiastic about reasonable offers in Russia.”

Singers lose the viewers

You'd think a performer would have to go all-out for such a big check. But that's just not true. Remember Jennifer Lopez's visit to Telman Ismaylov's birthday party. She sang 20 minutes instead of the agreed upon 40. Then she hung around like a restaurant performer and sang orders amounting to $2,100,000. She was also given a golden microphone covered in precious gems worth half a million dollars.

Celebrities are less embarrassed to head to Russia after realizing what prices are being paid. For example, Bruce Willis first came to Moscow to sing with his group at a corporate party for $50,000. His next clients offered $500,000. Who'd refuse? It's logical to assume that Willis won't come now for any less. That's why promoters will have to start booking stadium concerts at a higher price as opposed to private parties.

«First off, the viewers suffer from the larger prices,» said Vladimir Zubitskiy, head of the promotion company Russian Show Center. (ed. They brought Paul McCartney and other stars to Russia.) «You have to increase the ticket price to maintain the profit. And who's going to buy tickets at a dance parterre for $1,000? When celebrities or their managements ask too much, we just refuse to work with them. It's a half-empty hall guarantee. Tickets are almost inaccessible at the price. Not long ago Rihanna performed at a similar venue in Moscow. There's just no way she's worth one million bucks. But Kylie Minogue who'll perform in Moscow on June 16 asked an adequate price similar to what she'd receive in Europe. By the way, the younger pop groups and their managements are usually interested in increasing prices. It's not the inveterate performers. They're more concerned with their art and viewers.»

Who else spoils the stars?

Prince Azim of Brunei invited Michael Jackson to his 25th birthday and paid him 5 million pounds sterling.

Telman Ismaylov gave Ivan Urgant, Baskov and Kirkurov a Porsche Cayenne.

Ramzan Kadyrov gave Sergey Zverev a watch that cost $100,000 for attending his event. He gave Dima Bilan and Yana Rudkovska each a Porsche.

Calendar

May 17. Joe Cocker. Kremlin

May 21. Backstreet Boys. «Olympic Stadium»

May 24. KISS. «Olympic Stadium»

June 5. PJ Harvey. Gorky МKhАТ.

June 6. Jennifer Lopez at Muz TV

June 14. Lenny Kravits at the Maksidrom Festival

June 16. Kylie Minogue. «Olympic Stadium»

June 20. Fatboy Slim and Groove Armada. «Luzhniki»

Pricelist (Euro)

Cost Breakdown:

Payment for celebrity and team;

Ads;

Tickets;

Technical equipment transport. Madonna had 63 cargo trucks with equipment;

Flights;

Rent;

Security;

Living costs for the whole team at a hotel

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