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© RIA Novosti. Iliya Pitalev

Bolshoi Theater’s chief conductor resigns

by RIA Novosti at 03/12/2013 12:02

The main conductor of Russia’s famous Bolshoi Theater, Vassily Sinaisky, tendered his resignation on Monday, the theater’s general director said.

“I decided to grant his resignation after a conversation with him,” Vladimir Urin said.

Urin did not elaborate on the reason for the resignation, but said it came two weeks before the expected first night of an opera in which Sinaisky was both the musical director and the conductor.

The Bolshoi slipped into chronic decay amid the economic turmoil of the 1990s that succeeded the collapse of the Soviet Union. In recent years, the government has invested heavily in restoring the theater’s interior, and its annual budget has now reached about $120 million. The rush of cash has ensured the return of opulent productions, but has also turned the Bolshoi into a nest of vicious infighting.

A Bolshoi ballet soloist, Pavel Dmitrichenko, is currently standing trial on suspicion of ordering an acid attack on the Bolshoi Ballet’s artistic director Sergei Filin that left him with third-degree burns to his face and eyes.

This summer, the theater announced that it would not sign a new contract with its then-leading dancer, Nikolai Tsiskaridze, following months of legal disputes.

Speaking during testimony in the ongoing trial late last month, Tsiskaridze accused Filin of doling out favors to those close to him and criticized what he described as the Bolshoi’s poor management.

The theater was earlier involved in a bitter and public legal dispute with dancer Anastasia Volochkova, who was fired in 2003, reportedly for being overweight. A court in 2004 ordered Volochkova’s reinstatement, but although she is still officially employed by the theater, she has not secured any roles since 2004.

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