Prima Ballerina Appointed Acting Bolshoi Artistic Director

MOSCOW, January 22 (RIA Novosti) – Prima ballerina Galina Stepanenko will be in charge of Bolshoi ballet until Artistic Director Sergei Filin recovers from last week’s acid attack, Bolshoi Theater’s spokeswoman said on Tuesday.

“Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky, Bolshoi Director General Anatoly Iksanov and members of the board of directors announced at a meeting of the ballet troupe today that Galina Stepanenko will become acting artistic director of the troupe,” Bolshoi spokeswoman Katerina Novikova said.

Stepanenko said Filin asked her to replace him while he remains in the hospital.

“Sergei called me and asked for help,” she told journalists at a news conference on Tuesday. “We keep in contact by phone, everything is going as planned.”

A masked assailant threw concentrated acid into Filin’s face and fled the scene last Thursday. Filin suffered third-degree burns to his face and eyes, and is being treated at a hospital in Moscow, where doctors are fighting to save his sight. It could take at least six months for him to recover.

Filin underwent skin transplantation surgery by Russia’s leading burns expert Andrei Alexeyev earlier on Tuesday. The doctor, who heads the burn unit at Moscow’s Vishnevsky Surgery Institute, said the operation “went according to plan.” The patient will undergo a second eye surgery on Wednesday.

The Bolshoi general director said it was too early to make any forecasts concerning Filin’s recovery.

“Eyesight is the main problem today… Doctors said they would make predictions after 10-14 days,” Iksanov told journalists.

“Filin will return to his post. I’m not sure when, but he will,” Iksanov said.


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