AFTER some time without a top leader, a commission put together by Slovakia’s Culture Minister has chosen Ondrej Šoth from among nine final candidates to be the new head of the Slovak National Theatre (SND). The general manager of the Opera, Pavol Smolík, had been temporarily leading the theatre.
The theatre had been without a general director since last August when Silvia Hroncová resigned from her position after the opera’s leadership expressed a lack of confidence in her, joined also by the head of the drama section.
A competition to find a replacement that began in December 2009 did not result in a new general director so Culture Minister Marek Maďarič addressed some leading personalities in cultural life and asked them to send their visions of SND’s future direction and leadership. The whole approach was kept confidential and the discussions were unofficial. After nine professionals interested in this position made it to a final competition, the commission recommended to Maďarič that he appoint Šoth, who has been the artistic director of the State Theatre in Košice, the SITA newswire was told by the ministry’s spokesman, Jozef Bednár.
The head of the commission, Peter Kováč, told the TASR newswire that the decision had essentially been made in the first round as Šoth had the best resume, with the most innovative elements.
Šoth studied classical dance at the Košice Conservatory, and choreography and dance directing at the Bratislava Academy of Performing Arts. He has worked as a choreographer with the Prague Chamber Ballet of Pavel Šmok, the Czech National Theatre, Laterna Magika, the Slovak National Theatre and with the SĽUK folklore ensemble.
He also served as the head of the ballet section in Ústí nad Labem and in Košice and as a lecturer at the Academies of Performing Arts in Bratislava and Prague, at the Prague Conservatory, and as a visiting lecturer in Krakow, Poland; Liége, Belgium; and in Paris, France.
Šoth has been recognised with several awards. In his work, he has been inclined to modern forms and methods of expression in dance and as a choreographer has stressed the psychology of characters, the plausibility of situations and their substantiation in the language of movement, TASR wrote. His most recent works in Košice have included the M.R. Štefánik multi-media dance show and the dramatisation of the life of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Malý princ, (The Little Prince), to music by Michal Pavlíček.
5. Apr 2010 at 0:00 | Compiled by Spectator staff