Exit the Bolshoi boss: the latest chapter in the drama
Anatoly Iksanov, the general director of the Bolshoi Theatre has been replaced by the Russian government.
The Culture Minister, Vladimir Medinsky, announced Iksanovâs departure and his replacement by Vladimir Urin, general director of the Stanislavsky Musical Theatre.
The minister said in a news conference that Urin âwill be able to unite the troupe and continue the development of the best theatre in the country and one of the best in the world.
âA difficult situation had developed around the theatre and the troupe, and everything pointed to the need for renewal at the theatreâ.
Iksanov, who backed Alexei Ratmansky as artistic director of the Bolshoi Ballet in 2004, was appointed general manger of the Bolshoi Theatre in 2000. He had more than a year of his contract to run. (Ratmansky left the company after four years).
Iksanov’s departure is yet another fallout from the acid attack last January on Sergei Filin, the Bolshoi Balletâs artistic director.
Ismene Brown, the UK writer with the most depth of knowledge on the Bolshoi drama, has reported on the latest development.
I feel sorry for Mark Monahan, joint dance critic of the Telegraph in the UK, whose feature about the Bolshoi Ballet was published in the Telegraph yesterday, ahead of the companyâs forthcoming tour to London and only a day before Iksanovâs departure was announced.
Monaghan, who went to Moscow to interview Bolshoi dancers and staff, wrote that âIksanov, 61, is an engagingly droll and mischievous presence, a career administrator with the confidence that comes with knowing he is in overall charge of the largest (at 200-odd dancers) and most famous ballet company in the world, and employs a total staff of more than 3,000 at the Bolshoi Theatre (including both ballet and opera).
âSince taking the job 13 years ago, he has increased the theatreâs subsidy tenfold to about ÂŁ75 million and drafted in an unprecedented number of modern or brand-new works from the West, from Christopher Wheeldonâs Elsinore and Mats Ekâs Apartment to Twyla Tharpâs In the Upper Roomâ.
Itâs not safe to report anything at all about the company with confidence that things will not change very soon.
I know this from my own experience. I interviewed Filin in Moscow in January 2012 and concluded in an article published later that year that everything seemed relatively calm at the company after years of turmoil.
Here’s Iksanov’s background, as it appears on the Bolshoi’s website:
Mr. Iksanov has graduated from Theatre History Department (Division ofÂ Theatre Management) ofÂ Leningrad State Institute ofÂ Theatre, Music and Film inÂ 1977 and began his professional career asÂ House Manager ofÂ the Maly Drama Theatre inÂ Leningrad.
InÂ 1978Â he was invited byÂ Georgy Tovstonogov toÂ join Maxim Gorky Bolshoi Drama Theatre (BDT), and inÂ 1983 was appointed BDT General Manager. InÂ 1994Â he has established Bolshoi Drama Charitable Foundation and was appointed its Executive Director, and inÂ 1996 has become BDT Managing Director.