YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–The staff of the Armenian National Theater of Opera and Ballet have split into two rival camps following this week’s sacking of its artistic director by the ministry of culture. Supporters of the fired director–Tigran Levonian–staged a protest outside the government building in Yerevan on Thursday while his successor–eminent Armenian tenor Gegham Grigorian–was presented to the loyal actors.
Levonian said his dismissal was a personal revenge by Culture Minister Roland Sharoyan whom he has repeatedly criticized. Sharoyan–for his part–blamed Levonian for a "dire atmosphere" at the theater.
Levonian was widely blamed for the flop. He was sacked as director general of the Opera and confined to artistic matters shortly after that. His replacement–Grigorian–has been based outside Armenia’since the early 1980s–mainly performing on various European stages.