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Tuesday, 19 June, 2001, 15:22 GMT 16:22 UK
Resigning Bolshoi director lashes out
Gennady Rozhdestvensky
Rozhdestvensky attacked the press for their comments
Conductor Gennady Rozhdestvensky, who left the Bolshoi theatre last week after criticism of his production of Prokoviev's The Gambler, has painted a picture of utter chaos at the opera house in a Russian TV interview.

Interviewed by TV-6's Itogi programme on Sunday, Rozhdestvensky blamed what he called "sabotage" for the failure of the production.

There is no other word but sabotage

Gennady Rozhdestvensky on his last Bolshoi production
The Russian Ministry of Culture appointed Rozhdestvensky as artistic director and Anatoly Iksanov executive director last autumn, in a bid to address the declining fortunes of the company.

But Rozhdestvensky said that Iksanov did nothing to help him.

He said: "During the whole rehearsal cycle I didn't see the director once.

"We bombarded him with letters under the heading SOS: save us, help us.

"There is no other word but sabotage."

The Bolshoi ballet
The Bolshoi was one of the glories of the USSR
The artistic director had to cope with the company's vocal soloists - who earn as little as £50 a month - disappearing when they were offered better paid work abroad.

"On a human level I cannot blame them for anything," said Rozhdestvensky.

"They want to eat."


Furthermore, scores for the Prokoviev work arrived more than two months late and computer-operated scenery refused to move, he said.

The opera programme, which turned up on the day of the première, had not been proof-read and was full of "stupid and absurd" mistakes, said Rozhdestvensky.

The artistic director also attacked the Russian press for its attitude to the production.

"I have been subjected to the most vicious, wild, horrendous and impertinent criticism for everything, for my very existence," he said.

Previously, Rozhdestvensky directed the Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra and the BBC Symphony Orchestra.

Rozhdestvensky's resignation leaves the fortunes of the Bolshoi more precarious then ever.

In addition to the artistic crisis, the theatre itself is said to need a £145m facelift after years of neglect.

See also:

02 Sep 00 | Europe
Bolshoi has new director
29 Aug 00 | Europe
Putin sacks Bolshoi director
15 May 01 | Arts
Bolshoi standards slipping
10 Jun 00 | Education
Ballet boys from Brazil
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