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Departures Continue at Bolshoi

Published: December 6, 2013 (Issue # 1789)



  • Vasily Sinaisky’s departure means the Bolshoi must find a new star conductor in an arena with few candidates.
    Photo: Youtube.com

The Bolshoi Theater will finally have an element of closure in a longstanding scandal with the conviction of dancer Pavel Dmitrichenko and two co-conspirators in the acid attack on artistic director Sergei Filin in January (see front page for details).

However, the departure of Vassilly Sinaisky, the head conductor of the Bolshoi Theater, adds another chapter to a long list of leading personnel that the theater has lost in the past year. Sinaisky's resignation was announced Monday by Bolshoi director Vladimir Urin.

"On Dec. 2, Sinaisky submitted a letter of resignation through the human resources department. After conversations with him, I decided to fulfill his request. As of Dec. 3, 2013, Vasily Serafimovich Sinaisky will no longer work at the Bolshoi Theater," Urin said, RIA Novosti reported.

Many critics expressed surprise that Sinaisky's resignation came in the middle of the Bolshoi's season, only two weeks before the premiere of the Bolshoi's new production of Verdi's opera "Don Carlos."

"I think Sinaisky's departure is a serious problem for the Bolshoi Theater," said RIA Novosti culture editor Dmitry Khitarov, "The season is at its peak, an important premiere is expected in two weeks … It is even more a pity that this had to happen now, when after a difficult, frantic year, the situation at the theater seemed to be stabilizing."

Vassily Sinaisky has been musical director of the Bolshoi Theater since 2010, prior to which he was a conductor-in-residence at the theater for the 2009-10 season. He has previously conducted the Latvian National Symphony Orchestra from 1976-89, the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra from 1991-96, and the Malmo Symphony Orchestra from 2007-10. Sinaisky has also done stints as a guest conductor at numerous Russian and international orchestras and is well known abroad.

Sinaisky's resignation continues a series of prominent departures that began with the resignation of star dancer Nikolai Tsiskaridze in July following a conflict with Anatoly Iksanov, then director of the Bolshoi. Iksanov himself was fired only days later and replaced by Vladimir Urin, who removed prominent Bolshoi staff members such as planning director Mikhail Fikhtengolts, who left the theater in late August.

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