Bolshoi names new head after erotic scandal

Tue Mar 15, 2011 12:16pm EDT
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MOSCOW (Reuters Life!) - Russia's famed Bolshoi ballet troupe has named the company's long-standing soloist Yan Godovsky as its new director, after an erotic picture scandal engulfed his predecessor.

Last week, an anonymous letter was sent out to hundreds of electronic addresses with a link to a website displaying erotic photographs of a person resembling Gennady Yanin, the ballet's previous director, according to the Russian daily Izvestia.

"The theatre's general director Anatoly Iksanov appointed Yan Godovsky to the position of the ballet troupe director yesterday, after Yanin filed for voluntary leave," Katerina Novikova, director of Bolshoi's press service, told Reuters.

Godovsky, the Bolshoi's leading soloist in his 18th season, will hold the position until the end of the 2011 season.

The hiring system of the Bolshoi only allows one-season contracts, which can later be extended or given to a replacement. "It is unexpected for me. I kept refusing, but they kept asking me to take the position," Godovsky told Reuters, laughing. "It's definitely an upgrade for me."

In an unrelated development, the Bolshoi also lost its artistic director, Yuri Burlaki, whose contract expired on Tuesday.

"The appointment of the new artistic director is being postponed to an unknown date. It definitely won't be this week, maybe in two weeks," Novikova said.

Godovsky will perform the duties of both the head of the troupe and of the artistic director, before a successor to Burlaki can be found, she said.

(Reporting by Nastassia Astrasheuskaya; editing by Lidia Kelly)

<p>A soloist of the Bolshoi Theatre troupe Yan Godovsky (R) performs at an orphanage during a charity concert while others wait, in the Russian town of Sapozhok, 300 km (186 miles) south-east of Moscow, May 12, 2008. REUTERS/Denis Sinyakov</p>