New musical director opens Bolshoi's 235th season

Tue Sep 21, 2010 1:17pm EDT
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By Amie Ferris-Rotman

MOSCOW (Reuters Life!) - Russia's famed Bolshoi Theater opened its 235th season on Tuesday, presenting a new musical director and putting an end to more than a year of infighting that had thrown its future into chaos.

"I have come to the Bolshoi for a seriously long time," grey-haired conductor Vasily Sinaisky told reporters in a marble-lined hall adjacent to the main building, which is undergoing a grand $1-billion rebuild.

Currently conducting Finnish and British orchestras, Sinaisky's near 40 years of experience contrasts to Russian composer Leonid Desyatnikov, who had served as the temporary musical director after his predecessor's abrupt July 2009 exit.

Alexander Vedernikov, who had an eight-year career at the Bolshoi, suddenly resigned citing bureaucratic differences.

When Desyatnikov, who has written operas and film music, was musical director he had five rotating conductors work under him.

Sinaisky, who plans to conduct throughout the season, said the confusion surrounding the appointment of a new musical director had actually helped raise expectations, and he intended to meet them without making wholesale changes.

"The recent scandals surrounding the invitation of a new director have been a good thing. I don't want to make any radical changes," Sinaisky said.

Located near Red Square, Russia's best-known international theater has been closed since 2005 for a major renovation after decades of Soviet neglect. The eight-columned, cream-colored opera and ballet house was built in 1776.   Continued...

<p>Vasily Sinaiski, a music director and a chief conductor of the Bolshoi theatre, speaks as Anatoly Iksanov, a director general of the Bolshoi theatre, listens during a news conference in Moscow, September 21, 2010. REUTERS/Alexander Natruskin</p>