The Bolshoi Theater is considering suing soloist Nikolay Tsiskaridze following his recent BBC interview, in which he accused the theater’s leadership of a witch-hunt. The comment comes in the wake of acid attack on artistic director Sergey Filin.
“At present, the Bolshoi Theater’s lawyers are studying Nikolay Tsikardize’s remarks. After that, they will decide whether a lawsuit should be filed against the dancer to protect the theater’s business reputation,” said Bolshoi spokeswoman Katerina Novikova, as cited by Itar-Tass news agency.
It’s yet another chapter in the Bolshoi’s behind-the-scenes drama following the brutal attack on Sergey Filin, the theater’s artistic director. He suffered severe third-degree burns to his face and eyes, after a masked assailant threw acid in his face January 17.
The next three weeks saw an outpouring of mutual accusations by the key Bolshoi players, with the off-stage antics overshadowing anything happening onstage.
The assault on Filin intensified and brought to the spotlight the ongoing conflict between Anatoly Iksanov, Bolshoi’s director, and Nikolay Tsiskaridze, its biggest star, once contender for Filin's position and a long-time critic of the theater’s leadership.
The two men blame each other, if not for the crime itself, at least for creating a hostile atmosphere within the theater which eventually led to the tragedy.
A statement from the Bolshoi Theater said that “it’s obvious who could have organized such an appalling assault… It must be people who want the position of the theater’s artistic director.”
In his February 5 interview to ‘Snob’, Anatoly Iksanov was much more specific, saying that “what happened is the natural consequence of the chaos that was created above all by Nikolay Tsiskaridze… I feel guilty for not having tried to stop Nikolay while it was still possible.”
In response three days later Nikolay Tsiskaridze appeared on the BBC with his share of accusations, accusing the Bolshoi leadership of being totalitarian.
"It's like 1937, the days of Stalin – they're constantly organizing meetings against me, they're trying to force staff to sign letters condemning me."
Anastasia Volochkova, who was Bolshoi prima ballerina until she was sensationally sacked in 2003, took Tsiskaridze’s side.
“You absolutely cannot call it an artistic conflict, when a leadership of a theater organizes the collecting of signatures against artists, who suddenly became unwanted. That’s what Iksanov is now doing to Nikolay Tziskaridze, who has turned into an obstacle. Ten years ago Iksanov was scheming the same way against me,” Volochkova wrote in her blog on January 22.
Sergey Filin said he knows who was behind the attack, but would not reveal any names until the police have done their job. An unnamed police official told the Interfax news agency on Friday that they’ve come up with a list of suspects, which includes dancers and other members of the ballet company.
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