For the past week I have been aware of a distasteful scandal unfolding within the Bolshoi Ballet and today the details have been revealed in the UK press:http://www.guardian.co.uk/stage/2011/ma ... ctor-quitshttp://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/thea ... tures.html
Gennady Yanin has been forced to resign over this and whether the pictures were genuine or not isn’t the point; the true villain of the piece is whoever was behind what was either a plot to oust him from his position or a possible blackmail scenario.
Yanin was one of the most naturally gifted Russian dancers I’ve seen in the past twenty years and I have followed his career with great pleasure since his days with the Stanislavsky Company. During his time as assistant director at the Bolshoi the company has flourished so I doubt that any one could pin accusations of incompetence on him, hence this vicious on line campaign. How dreadful this must be for his family as I believe he has two children in their early teens.
During the week Yuri Burlaka, the company director stood down as his contract had ended and the Russian press announced his successor: Makhar Vaziev. This was a shock to everyone I know as Vaziev is still director of ballet at La Scala and as his stint as Kirov director had been controversial to put it mildly, I couldn’t see either dancers or the audience taking to this appointment quietly. Almost as soon as the announcement of his becoming director was made it was rescinded. In the interim Yan Godovsky, a company soloist, was made first assistant director (Yanin’s old job) and then after the Vaziev debacle, acting director, until a permanent replacement for Burlaka is decided on.
This statement in the Telegraph article was news to me however.
(NB the following is only available on line and not in the actual paper).
Other critics saw it as part of a broader attack on the theatre's management and Anatoly Iksanov, its general director………………..Mr Iksanov has been under pressure amid rumours that an old friend of Vladimir Putin's, the prime minister, is coveting his job.
I remember Anatoly Iksanov very well after he spoke at a reception I attended at the Russian Embassy in London where I was representing CriticalDance. Lillian Hochhauser, the impresario who presents the Bolshoi in London, said that in her many decades of transactions with Russian officialdom no one had been such a pleasure to work with than Mr Iksanov.
I’m trying to imagine a similar scenario in Britain where for example Prime Minister David Cameron sought to unseat ROH chief executive Tony Hall to give a job to one of his pals. The political fallout would be such that it could bring down the government.
All this just goes to show what a morally bankrupt place ‘New Russia’ has become.