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Anastasia Volochkova, a Bolshoi former soloist, claimed female dancers at the famous Russian ballet theatre were forced to sleep with wealthy patrons.
Anastasia Volochkova accused the Balshoi Ballet’s general director of turning the company “into a giant brothel”.
Outspoken Anastasia Volochkova, who has dabbled in TV talent and talk shows, was fired from the Bolshoi in 2003 for being too heavy.
General director Anatoly Iksanov dismissed the claims as “ravings”.
Anastasia Volochkova made the allegations during an interview on a television talk show in Russia on Sunday, later repeating them in a radio interview with Russian News Service.
“It mainly happened with the corps du ballet but also with the soloists,” she said.
“Ten years ago, when I was dancing at the theatre, I repeatedly received such propositions to share the beds of oligarchs.
“The girls were forced to go along to grand dinners and given advance warning that afterwards they would be expected to go to bed and have sex,” she alleged.
“When the girls asked: <<What happens if we refuse?>>, they were told that they would not go on tour or even perform at the Bolshoi theatre. Can you imagine?”
The allegations were put to Anatoly Iksanov during a news conference at the theatre on Tuesday, to which he responded: “I don’t comment on dirt and ravings.”
Anastasia Volochkova accused the Balshoi Ballet’s general director of turning the company into a giant brothel
It is the latest in a series of controversial events surrounding the world famous Russian theatre, which has become notorious for infighting and rivalry.
One of its top dancers, Pavel Dmitrichenko, is facing trial for allegedly ordering an acid attack on the ballet’s artistic director Sergei Filin in January.
Sergei Filin’s eyesight was damaged and he received severe burns to his face when sulphuric acid was thrown in his face outside his home in central Moscow.
More than 300 staff at the theatre last week signed an open letter to President Vladimir Putin saying that they believed Pavel Dmitrichenko was not capable of ordering such a crime and suggesting he had been pressured into making a confession.
Anastasia Volochkova was fired from the Bolshoi in 2003 with Anatoly Iksanov saying she was too tall and heavy for male partners to lift.
The former soloist eventually won a legal claim against the ballet theatre, although her career never really recovered.
Anastasia Volochkova has since dabbled in opposition politics and appeared on TV talent shows, while her private life has frequently appeared in the pages of Russian gossip magazines.
Bolshoi Ballet soloist Pavel Dmitrichenko has been detained by police, suspected of ordering an acid attack on artistic director Sergei Filin.
Dancer Pavel Dmitrichenko is being held along with Yuri Zarutsky, who is suspected of carrying out the attack, Russia’s interior ministry says.
Sergei Filin’s eyesight was badly damaged when a masked attacker threw sulphuric acid in his face in January.
A third person, suspected of being the attacker’s driver, is also being held.
He has been named as Andrei Lipatov.
It is not clear whether Yuri Zarutsky or Andrei Lipatov have any connection to the Bolshoi.
Pavel Dmitrichenko’s flat was searched by Moscow police on Tuesday before he was confirmed as being detained.
The dancer, who has been with the troupe since 2002, has been performing the lead role in Sergei Prokofiev’s Ivan The Terrible.
A spokeswoman for the Bolshoi Theatre, speaking before Pavel Dmitrichenko was detained, said the company was hopeful that the crime would be solved.
Bolshoi Ballet soloist Pavel Dmitrichenko has been detained by police, suspected of ordering an acid attack on artistic director Sergei Filin
Katerina Novikova said she did not know of any dispute between the dancer and Sergei Filin, Reuters reports.
The mid-January attack shocked the arts world. It came after a period of infighting at the Bolshoi, one of Russia’s most prestigious ballet companies.
Sergei Filin, 42, was released from hospital in Moscow last month for follow-up treatment in Germany. He will have further plastic surgery and a lengthy convalescence.
The artistic director was badly burned during the attack, which happened in the street as he returned to his home in Moscow late at night.
It appears the assailant called out to the artistic director by name, then splashed him before fleeing from the scene.
A security camera apparently captured grainy footage of the event.
Sergei Filin said later he was certain who was behind the attack, but would only speak after an announcement by investigators.
He argued the aim of the attack had been to remove him from his post, adding that he had long been the target of threats.
Police have questioned several Bolshoi employees as potential witnesses.
They are treating the attack as a premeditated act of grievous bodily harm, motivated by Sergei Filin’s professional activities.
German doctors think they can restore some of Sergei Filin’s sight.
A spokeswoman for the Bolshoi said they hoped Sergei Filin would return to the company for their trip to London this summer.
Bolshoi top ballerina Svetlana Lunkina has revealed she has moved to Canada amid claims of threats to her husband.
Leading soloist Svetlana Lunkina told a Russian newspaper she had taken leave until the end of the season.
The news that she had left Russia comes in the wake of an acid attack on the company’s artistic director, Sergei Filin, earlier this month.
Svetlana Lunkina alleged the unspecified threats arose from a film project involving her producer husband.
Vladislav Moskalyev was working on a movie about the legendary Russian ballerina Matilda Kshesinskaya but is in dispute with his former business partner, who is reportedly suing him for $3.6 million.
Svetlana Lunkina, 33, who has performed with the Bolshoi since 1997, told the Izvestia publication: “I think we need to react to these threats. These people have no right to interfere in our private lives or my professional work.
“I was supposed to be doing a lot of interesting work, including several premieres.”
She was due to star in a performance of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, choreographed by Britain’s Wayne McGregor, later this year.
Bolshoi top ballerina Svetlana Lunkina has revealed she has moved to Canada amid claims of threats to her husband
Svetlana Lunikna’s allegations are not believed to be related to the assault on Sergei Filin, who had sulphuric acid thrown in this face by a balaclava-clad assailant as he left the Moscow Arts Theatre on January 17.
The attack damaged both of his eyes and he is still receiving treatment for his injuries in a Moscow hospital.
Speaking via video-link this week, Sergei Filin, 42, suggested the assault was carried out by someone looking to “satisfy their ambitions” or “extinguish the pain of resentment”.
“I forgive all those people who were involved,” he went on.
Police are working on the theory that the attack was carried out by someone from within the company.
Svetlana Lunkina told Izvestia she believed it “may not be someone who works at the Bolshoi theatre but someone linked to the theatre and ballet”.
Sergei Filin, artistic director of Russia’s Bolshoi Theatre, is being treated in a Moscow hospital for severe burns to his face after a masked man threw acid in his face, police say.
The attack happened late on Thursday as Sergei Filin, an award-winning ballet star, was walking home in central Moscow.
Doctors are now fighting to save his eyesight and Interfax news agency says he will be sent to a clinic abroad.
A Bolshoi spokesman said Sergei Filin, 42, had suffered months of threats.
According to local media, it is suspected that he was the victim of infighting and rows between different groups of dancers at the Bolshoi.
According to the Bolshoi statement, the assailant shouted to Sergei Filin as he was approaching the entrance to his apartment block, then threw acid in Filin’s face.
Sergei Filin then got help from a warden keeping watch over nearby cars.
The theatre’s executive director, Anatoly Iksanov, told Russian television that Sergei Filin was “uncompromising” in his management style.
“If he thought a performer was unready to play a certain role, or incapable of it, he would not let the performer do it,” he said.
Tensions at the Bolshoi over its artistic programme have been widely reported in Russian media.
Sergei Filin, artistic director of Russia’s Bolshoi Theatre, is being treated in a Moscow hospital for severe burns to his face after a masked man threw acid in his face
In 2011 two ballet stars – Natalia Osipova and Ivan Vasiliev – resigned in protest at the Bolshoi’s new repertoire.
At the time of Sergei Filin’s appointment the head of the Bolshoi’s ballet troupe, Gennady Yanin, resigned after erotic photographs purporting to be him were posted on a website.
Another celebrated performer, Nikolai Tsiskaridze, sharply criticized Sergei Filin in early 2012.
- 1970 – born in Moscow
- 1988 – began dancing at Bolshoi
- Winner of Russian and international awards
- Performs abroad, including at Covent Garden, London
- 2008 – dancing career ends
- March 2011 – takes over as Bolshoi artistic director
Russian opera singer Galina Vishnevskaya, who performed soprano roles in opera classics, has died aged 86.
In a career spanning 40 years, Galina Vishnevskaya joined Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre in 1953.
She made her Metropolitan Opera debut as Aida in 1961 and first sang Liu in Turandot in La Scala in 1964.
Moscow’s Opera Centre, which Galina Vishnevskaya created, said the singer died on Tuesday in the Russian capital.
Spokeswoman Yulia Ivanova said she had been treated in Germany and was surrounded by her loved ones at her country house when she died.
Known for her full-on style, Galina Vishnevskaya was not always to everyone’s taste, but her emotional involvement in the music left a big impact on audiences.
Her dramatic interpretations of soprano roles in the likes of Lady Macbeth by Soviet composer Dmitry Shostakovich and the War Requiem of British composer Benjamin Britten led some music critics to call her the Russian Maria Callas.
Russian opera singer Galina Vishnevskaya, who performed soprano roles in opera classics, has died aged 86
Soviet audiences also loved her for her great interpretations of the standard repertoire including the great heroines of Puccini and Verdi.
Galina Vishnevskaya was born in what was then Leningrad and survived the city’s blockade by Nazi Germany during World War II, serving in missile defense troops when she was a teenager.
She studied in Leningrad, after which she was accepted into Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre.
Galina Vishnevskaya married the cellist Mstislav Rostropovich in 1955 and the couple performed together frequently until his death in 2007.
The couple left the Soviet Union with their two daughters in 1974 and lived in Paris and then Washington, before returning to Russia after the Soviet collapse.