Ballet director returns to Russia's Bolshoi after acid attack

By Gabriela Baczynska

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Wearing dark glasses over his damaged eyes, artistic director Sergei Filin returned to the Bolshoi Ballet on Tuesday to guide its troupe through a new season, eight months after he was nearly blinded in an acid attack.

The attack on Filin, who returned to Russia at the weekend after seven months of treatment at a clinic in Germany, exposed bitter rivalries at Russia's premier cultural institution, where Filin had the power to make or break careers.

Blinking through dark glasses under the theatre's bright lights in the gold-encrusted main hall, the 42-year-old thanked his fans for their support.

"I feel good and my condition is stable enough to be here at the opening of the season and to take on work," he said, his eyelids visibly swollen.

"I am very glad to see you," he told the crowd just hours ahead of the theatre's first performance of the new season.

Bolshoi spokeswoman Katerina Novikova said Filin had undergone at least 22 operations on his eyes and face since the attack, and he said more were in the pipeline in Germany.

Filin also thanked his deputy, Galina Stepanenko, for filling in for him "in this difficult time during my absence".

Novikova said it remained to be seen how many duties Filin could carry out with more operations planned.

DISGRUNTLED DANCER

A disgruntled top dancer Pavel Dmitrichenko, who earned a reputation for playing villains on the theatre's stage, confessed to ordering an attack on Filin, and is on trial along with two alleged accomplices.

Dmitrichenko said he did not want acid to be used. All three men face up to 12 years in prison for the attack which left Filin writhing in agony in the snow late in the evening on January 17 before he eventually managed to get help.

The Russian government appointed experienced theatre manager Vladimir Urin as director to rebuild the theatre's tarnished reputation, after veteran director Anatoly Iksanov was ousted earlier this year in the wake of the attack.

Before his departure, Iksanov suggested that another top ballet dancer, Nikolai Tsiskaridze, might have played a role in inciting the attack ordered by his protege Dmitrichenko.

Tsiskaridze has denied playing any part, and when his contract was not renewed in June, he said the management was conducting a witch-hunt against him to hound him out of the theatre.

Novikova also said she hoped Filin's return would mean the world's gaze would turn back to the Bolshoi's artistic output rather than the drama going on behind the scenes.

"This horrible event shifted attention from art to the criminal aspect. Sergei Filin is back now and he is not blind. I hope it ends here, especially as we have really interesting things going on," she said.

The Bolshoi's new 2013/2014 season will include premieres of Richard Wagner's opera "The Flying Dutchman" and ballet "Lady of the Camellias".

(Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska, writing by Thomas Grove; Editing by Mike Collett-White)

--

Did you know that you can get stories like this on the Yahoo mail app?
Download it here.

Yahoo Cricket

Latest News

  • Box Office: 'Furious 7' Races Past 'Age of Adaline'
    Box Office: 'Furious 7' Races Past 'Age of Adaline'

    By Brent Lang LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - Nothing, it seems, and certainly not Blake Lively, can get "Furious 7" to slam on the brakes. The mega-grossing sequel took the top spot at the weekend box office with $18.2 million, becoming the first film to come in first for four consecutive weekends since "The Hunger Games" in March of 2012. …

  • I'm here to share love: Atif Aslam on performing in India

    Indore, April 26 (IANS) Popular Pakistani musician Atif Aslam might not have been able to entertain his fans in Pune with his rock numbers and melodious tracks as his concert had to be cancelled, but he says he has no grudges and has only love to share with his Indian fans. I love my fans and I like being in India. …

  • Anupam Kher's TV show returns, to tell more inspiring tales

    New Delhi, April 26 (IANS) Veteran actor Anupam Kher is returning with the second season of "The Anupam Kher Show...Kucch Bhi Ho Sakta Hai". He says there will be more inspiring stories to tell. He made his TV production debut with the first season of the show last year on channel Colors. It highlighted inspirational stories of popular Bollywood celebrities, who will spoke about their life's challenges and testing times. …

  • Evelyn 'obsessed' with Ram's 'Dil Ki Baatein'

    Mumbai, April 26 (IANS) Actress Evelyn Sharma, who will be seen portraying an aspiring rockstar Naina in comedy caper film "Kuch Kuch Locha Hai", says she is hooked to co-star Ram Kapoor's ongoing TV show "Dil Ki Baatein". The 28-year-old, who has appeared in films like "Yaariyan" and "Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani", doesn't watch many Hindi shows, but she feels Ram is doing an "outstanding job" in the Sony Entertainment Television show. "Right now I am obsessed with the show 'Dil Ki Baatein'. I …

  • Better to open a shop than do TV soaps, says Sunil Grover

    Mumbai, April 26 (IANS) He has been tickling the audiences' funny bone with his act as Gutthi in "Comedy Nights With Kapil", but actor Sunil Grover says fiction dramas are not his cup of tea, and that he wouldn't opt for them even if he has no money to pay his EMIs some day. Sunil told IANS: "I have not been doing much on small screen apart from 'Comedy Nights With Kapil'. "I have not done fiction (soaps), and here in India, the kind of routine, the number of days you have to shoot... it's …

  • Pop culture reminds Ben Stiller of his childhood days

    New Delhi, April 26 (IANS) Actor Ben Stiller, who stars together with actress Naomi Watts as a middle-aged couple in comedy-drama film "While We're Young", says the pop culture reminds him of his "childhood and youth days". …

  • Sunny Leone likes live audience connect

    Mumbai, April 26 (IANS) Close on the heels of the release of comedy caper "Kuch Kuch Locha Hai", actress Sunny Leone performed live during a promotional event here along with singer Shraddha Pandit. Sunny, who was also joined by actor Ram Kapoor, debutant Navdeep Chhabra and director Devang Dholakia for the event, had an interactive session with the fans and was also seen giving autographs and clicking photographs with them. It was a great idea to have a promotional activity," Sunny, who …

  • Shaadi-e-Khas: Manage weddings digitally

    New Delhi, April 26 (IANS) Whether you're a wedding vendor, wedding planner, the bride, the groom or the parents of the couple-to-be, help is at your hand with Shaadi-e-Khas, an online wedding management software which enables users to ease the process of planning and organising marriage-related events. Bharat Kanodia, CEO, Shaadi-E-Khas, describes it as an Enterprise Resource Planning system for weddings. The idea for the platform dawned upon Kanodia when he was entrusted with the …

Loading...