, News
24.08.2015

On 25 and 26 August Valery Gergiev will be conducting the Mariinsky Orchestra at the Baltic Sea Festival

On 25 and 26 August Valery Gergiev will be conducting the Mariinsky Orchestra at the Baltic Sea Festival. Traditionally, the festival’s concerts are held at Stockholm’s Berwaldhallen, built in 1979 and named after the 19th century Swedish Composer Franz Adolf Berwald. The unusual hexagonal shape of the hall accommodates up to one thousand three hundred people and is famed for its exceptional acoustics.

The festival was established in 2003 by Michael Tydén, current head of the festival and former director of the hall, and the conductors Valery Gergiev and Esa-Pekka Salonen. One of the music forum’s aims is to initiate discussion about difficult matters concerning the ecology of the Baltic region. Alongside the music programme there are exhibitions and seminars that focus on environmental problems.

The festival runs on an annual basis in the last week of summer. This year’s festival opens on 24 August with a performance by the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra conducted by Kent Nagano. This evening programme will feature music by two Scandinavian classics – Jean Sibelius and Carl Nielsen, the one hundred and fiftieth birth of both of them being widely celebrated this year. On 29 August it will be possible to hear all four symphonies of Arvo Pärt; the Wrocław Philharmonic Orchestra will mark dedicate its performance to the composer’s eightieth birthday. There will be an unusual programme prepared by the singer Matilda Paulsson and the Swedish Wind Ensemble directed by Hans Ek. The tribute concert titled Desperate Housewives features works by female composers and music-writers including Alma Mahler, Clara Schumann, Julia Wolfe, Rebecca Clarke and Björk.

The Mariinsky Orchestra will be performing twice at the festival – and on both occasions will appear with works by Tchaikovsky. On 25 August these pieces will be performed by prize-winners of the recently-concluded Tchaikovsky Competition – pianist Dmitry Masleyev (1st prize), cellist Alexandre Bouzlov (3rd prize) and violinist Pavel Milyukov (3rd prize). The organisers have titled this concert TCHAIKOVSKY FEVER; after the competition, the broadcasts of which were watched by more than six million people, the performances by the prize-winners have been followed throughout the world.

On 26 August Valery Gergiev and the Mariinsky Theatre will be performing the music from the ballet The Nutcracker, sure to be a true gift to the audience in Stockholm. Performed in concert, the conductor – free of the plot constraints and tempi regulated by the dancing – can destroy preconceptions of The Nutcracker as a magical Christmas fairy-tale; Gergiev conveys the tragic incandescence and the symphonic scale of this ballet score.

The festival concludes with Arnold Schoenberg’s grandiose vocal and symphonic fresco Gurrelieder which will feature three hundred performers conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen. This work was last performed in Sweden in 1999.

For news of the Baltic Sea Festival please go to the official Facebook page at www.facebook.com/BalticSeaFest.

Both Mariinsky Theatre concerts will be broadcast live on Sweden's radio station P2 Live sverigesradio.se/sida

23.08.2015

On 24 August at the BBC Proms, soloists of the Mariinsky Academy of Young Opera Singers and the London Philharmonia Orchestra under the baton of Esa-Pekka Salonen will present the British premiere of a concert version of Dmitry Shostakovich’s uncompleted opera Orango

On 24 August at the BBC Proms, soloists of the Mariinsky Academy of Young Opera Singers and the London Philharmonia Orchestra under the baton of Esa-Pekka Salonen will present the British premiere of a concert version of Dmitry Shostakovich’s uncompleted opera Orango.

The BBC Proms festival of promenade-concerts is one of the most significant cultural events run by the BBC, drawing performers from throughout the world. Its aim is to introduce wider audiences to the world of classical music. The concerts take place each year between July and September at various venues and parks in London. This year’s festival marks an anniversary year as it has been running for one hundred and twenty years.

Under the baton of Valery Gergiev, the Mariinsky Chorus, Orchestra and opera soloists have appeared at the Proms on numerous occasions, though this year marks the debuts of singers from the Academy. At the Royal Albert Hall soloists Natalia Pavlova, Natalia Yakimova, Alexander Shagun, Alexander Trofimov, Vladimir Babokin, Oleg Losev, Dmitry Koleushko, Ivan Novoselov, Yuri Yevchuk and Denis Begansky will be appearing in Shostakovich’s surrealist opera Orango. The work will be performed in an orchestral version by British composer Gerard McBurney.

The libretto by Alexei Tolstoy and Alexander Starchakov is based on the story of the human ape Orango who has been created by science, like Bulgakov’s Sharikov. Orango, a mercenary careerist and enemy of communism, is a caricature of the decadent West who openly criticises the Soviet Union.

The opera was commissioned from the twenty-six-year-old composer by the Bolshoi Theatre in 1932 to mark the fifteenth anniversary of the October Revolution, but it was never completed.

The manuscript (roughly forty minutes of music for piano, chorus and eleven solo singers) was discovered in 2004 by Olga Digonskaya, a researcher of the Glinka Archive and Moscow Museum, in the Shostakovich Archive. The man behind the world premiere was the conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen in 2011 in Los Angeles. In 2014 together with the London Philharmonia Orchestra he presented Orango at the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatoire as part of the Mstislav Rostropovich Festival. That same year, with the Finnish Radio Orchestra and the Gustaf Sjökvist and Mikaeli Chamber Choruses, Salonen took the opera to the Baltic Sea Festival in Stockholm, the lead roles being performed by soloists of the Mariinsky Academy. Last May a stage version of Orango produced by the Perm Opera House under the baton of Teodor Currentzis proved a sensation at the Diaghilev Festival.

The “resurrection” of the opera may well prove another sensational event for London audiences, as the young Shostakovich’s opus touches on still-current matters of scientific progress, cultural differences and the public mind-set.

Official website of the BBC Proms: www.bbc.co.uk/events

09.08.2015
The recently concluded 232nd season was held under the aegis of Tchaikovsky. The first on-line broadcast of the coming 233rd season will be a performance by Dmitry Masleyev, the winner of the XV International Tchaikovsky Competition. In the future, mariinsky.tv plans to broadcast concerts as part of a marathon featuring all of the competition’s prize-winners. Until then, patrons may visit webpages featuring previous on-line broadcasts to hear young musicians and established maestri performing Tchaikovsky’s music once again

The recently concluded 232nd season was held under the aegis of Tchaikovsky. The first on-line broadcast of the coming 233rd season will be a performance by Dmitry Masleyev, the winner of the XV International Tchaikovsky Competition. In the future, mariinsky.tv plans to broadcast concerts as part of a marathon featuring all of the competition’s prize-winners. Until then, patrons may visit webpages featuring previous on-line broadcasts to hear young musicians and established maestri performing Tchaikovsky’s music once again.

Concert on 2 May 2015
Tchaikovsky 
Serenade for Strings in C Major, Op. 48 
Symphony No 4 in F Minor, Op. 36
The Mariinsky Orchestra 

05.08.2015

Dear patrons, please take note of the special working hours of box-offices from 3 August to 15 September 2015. While the season is closed the box-offices continue ticket-sales in the summer regime

Dear patrons, please take note of the special working hours of box-offices from 3 August to 15 September 2015. While the season is closed the box-offices continue ticket-sales in the summer regime.

The box-offices of the Mariinsky Theatre, the Concert Hall and the Service Centre at the Central Railway Office will be closed from 3 August to 15 September 2015.

Tickets for theatre performances and concerts for the 2015-2016 season may be acquired from the box-office of the Mariinsky-II:
on working days box-offices are open from 11:00 to 19:00, closed from 14:00 to 15:00;
on Saturdays and Sundays box-offices are open from 11:00 to 18:00, closed from 14:00 to 15:00.

As well as from the Mariinsky Theatre box-office at Gostiny Dvor (corner of the Nevskaya and Perinnaya Lines, mezzanine):
on working days box-offices are open from 11:00 to 19:00, closed from 14:30 to 16:00;
on Saturdays and Sundays box-offices are open from 11:00 to 18:00, closed from 14:30 to 16:00.

From 16 September all box-offices will operate as normal.

03.08.2015

On 2 August The Nutcracker at the historic Mariinsky Theatre and Eugene Onegin at the Mariinsky-II brought the season to a close. The new 2015-2016 season opens on 25 September at all three venues.
The main events of the 232nd season may be seen in the final press for this season

On 2 August The Nutcracker at the historic Mariinsky Theatre and Eugene Onegin at the Mariinsky-II brought the season to a close. The new 2015-2016 season opens on 25 September at all three venues.
The main events of the 232nd season may be seen in the final press for this season

Results in figures:
• The season lasted forty-five weeks.
• Performances and concerts took place at seven venues: at the historic Mariinsky Theatre, the Concert Hall, the Mariinsky II and its four chamber music halls.
• There was a total of one thousand, two hundred and fifty-nine performances and concerts, averaging four events per day.
• There were five opera premieres and eleven ballet premieres.
• The theatre ran five festivals in St Petersburg, as well as the grandiose XIV Moscow Easter Festival, including concerts in twenty-seven Russian cities as well as Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan.
• Our intensive educational work with children has continued; more than twenty thousand year-ten pupils from St Petersburg took part in the interactive project A Theatre Lesson at the Mariinsky, while twelve and a half thousand school pupils from Russia’s regions visited the theatre as part of the programme The Mariinsky Theatre – the Soul of St Petersburg (the Ministry of Culture’s project My Russia: Peter’s City).

Premieres of the 232nd season
• Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia staged by Alain Maratrat.
• Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Golden Cockerel (Anna Matison’s debut as a director).
El Juez – Die Verlorenen Kinder, an opera by the contemporary Austrian composer Christian Kolonvits, the lead role in which was performed by the internationally acclaimed tenor José Carreras.
• Vladimir Tarnopolsky’s musical tale The True Story of Cinderella entered the theatre’s repertoire in March 2015.
• The Stars of the White Nights festival saw new productions of Tchaikovsky’s The Queen of Spades (directed by Alexei Stepanyuk) and Verdi’s La traviata (directed by Claudia Solti). Following the premiere, the new Queen of Spades was also performed at the summer music festival in Baden-Baden.
• There was the first performance in concert in Russia of Luigi Dallapiccola’s one-act opera Il prigioniero.
• There were also concert performances of the world premieres of operas by contemporary Russian composers – The Damned Apostle by Pyotr Gekker and Bela by Leonid Klinichev.
• The Young Choreographers’ Creative Workshop project has opened up the path for one-act ballets by Maxim Petrov, Ilya Zhivoi, Yuri Smekalov, Vladimir Varnava, Xenia Zvereva and Maxim Sevagin. Three of them – Petrov’s Ballet No 2, Varnava’s Clay and Zvereva’s Second I – are now in the theatre’s repertoire.
• Together with Anna Matison, Anton Pimonov presented the ballet diptych Bambi. In the Jungle to music by Alexander Lokshin and Andrei Golovin.
• The final ballet production of the season was Le Divertissement du Roi, a neoclassical fantasy by Maxim Petrov on baroque themes. It was created specially for Principal Dancer Igor Kolb and was presented at the ballet evening Knights of Dance.

In June and July the theatre welcomed participants of the XV International Tchaikovsky Competition. The Musorgsky Hall in the Mariinsky II and the Concert Hall hosted the vocalists’ competition, while the main stage of the Mariinsky II saw the final gala concert of prize-winners. That same evening, the Co-Chair of the competition’s Organisational Committee Valery Gergiev announced the winner of the Grand Prix – the Mongolian baritone Ariunbaatar Ganbaatar. The jury members – the outstanding musicians Barry Douglas, Denis Matsuev, Lynn Harrell, Leonidas Kavakos, Yuri Bashmet, James Ehnes, Olga Borodina, Mikhail Petrenko and Mikhail Kazakov – all gave recitals in June at the Mariinsky’s various venues.

Tours at the Mariinsky Theatre
• The Beijing Opera
• The Astana Ballet
• The Ballet Company of the Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow Music Theatre staged one-act ballets by Jiří Kylián as part of the project The Golden Mask Festival in St Petersburg
• The Turku Philharmonic Orchestra
• The Venice Baroque Orchestra
• The Chamber Orchestra of Lausanne
• The Philadelphia Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra
• The Virtuosi di Roma ensemble
• The Wiener Philharmoniker under Riccardo Muti
• The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen under Paavo Järvi

Diana Vishneva celebrated twenty years of work with the Mariinsky Ballet with an artistic soirée, which included Hans van Manen’s ballet • The Old Man and Me• and the finale of John Cranko’s ballet Onegin.

To mark one hundred and seventy-five years since the birth of Tchaikovsky the theatre presented every ballet and opera by the composer in the Mariinsky’s current repertoire, as well as preparing an exhibition of costumes from historic productions, archive documents and decoded manuscripts of Tchaikovsky from the theatre’s collection. On the eve of the composer’s birthday, on 6 May at the Mariinsky II there was an Evening of Tchaikovsky, which attracted many new patrons.

Festivals
The II Organ Festival (October) presented the internationally acclaimed musicians Thierry Escaich, David Briggs, Maxime Patel, Lada Ladzina and Gunther Rost.
The International Piano Festival (December and April). This season’s participants included Mira Yevtich, Boris Berezovsky, Daniil Trifonov, Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Yeol Eum Son, Boris Petrushansky and Alexei Volodin among others.
The XV ballet festival MARIINSKY (March) was held in collaboration with the Opéra de Paris. Key events included the premieres of the ballets Bambi and In the Jungle, Viktoria Tereshkina’s artistic soirée and the staging of works as part of the Young Choreographers’ Creative Workshop.
• Six orchestras from St Petersburg’s music institutions took part in the I Festival of Children’s and Youth Orchestras (April).
• The XIV Moscow Easter Festival, which ran from 12 April to 9 May, was dedicated this year to the seventieth anniversary of victory in World War II and the anniversary of Tchaikovsky’s birth.
The XXIII Stars of the White Nights music festival was held under the aegis of Tchaikovsky. The playbill of the festival included several monograph programmes; all of Brahms’ symphonies were performed by the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen under Paavo Järvi, the Viennese pianist Rudolf Buchbinder appeared as both soloist and conductor with nine concerti by Mozart and the Atrium quartet performed Beethoven’s Russian quartets. The Mariinsky Orchestra was accompanied onstage by such world-renowned conductors as Christoph Eschenbach, Emmanuel Villaume, Vladimir Ashkenazy and John Axelrod.
The Mariinsky Theatre’s various venues saw performances by such internationally acclaimed singers as Ferruccio Furlanetto, Olga Borodina, Ekaterina Semenchuk, Rafał Siwek, Vitaly Kovalev, Mikhail Kazakov, Albina Shagimuratova, Maria Guleghina, Tatiana Serjan,  Gevorg Akopian, Asmik Grigorian, Alexei Markov, Ildar Abdrazakov, Yevgeny Nikitin and Mikhail Petrenko.
The festival saw appearances by the outstanding violinists Pinchas Zukerman, Leonidas Kavakos, Kristóf Baráti, Ilya Gringolts and James Ehnes and the pianists Daniil Trifonov, Alexei Volodin, Christian Blackshaw, Rudolf Buchbinder and Denis Matsuev.
The performance by French pianist Lucas Debargue, a prize-winner at the XV International Tchaikovsky Competition, caused a veritable furore.

One of the most important activities of the Mariinsky Theatre is its cultural and educational projects
This season saw the organisation of the free weekly concert series Open Wednesday at the Mariinsky (a total of thirty-three concerts). These were held in the Stravinsky Foyer and gave the opportunity to more than five thousand music-lovers to get to know members of the Mariinsky Orchestra up-close (some one hundred and fifty musicians of the orchestra took part in the concerts).
Part of the project involved performances by teachers and students from the city’s music and arts schools – Arts Schools Visiting the Mariinsky Theatre. Over the course of the 2014–2015 season the chamber venues of the Mariinsky II hosted twenty “children’s” concerts.
Over four hundred young musicians demonstrated their skills. Throughout the season the chamber venues of the Mariinsky II were in active use. The Musorgsky, Prokofiev, Stravinsky and Shchedrin Halls hosted Music Hours, series of concerts organised by the Academy of Young Opera Singers and lectures, in all totalling some four hundred events.
The Young Theatre-Goers’ Academy also continued its subscriptions with the programme for older school pupils Playing with Beads and the Piccolo series of lectures held in conjunction with the Mariinsky Theatre featuring programmes for children from three years to teenagers.
The theatre has worked actively with its adult patrons too, offering a series of lecture programmes in the form of weekly discussions preceding a performance or concert at the Mariinsky II entitled Sunday Foreword as well as lectures focussing on outstanding performers and musicians of the Mariinsky Theatre.

Mariinsky Theatre tours
In the 2014-2015 season the Mariinsky Theatre (ballet company, opera company, orchestra and chorus) toured to sixteen countries, visiting forty-nine cities abroad and twenty-eight within Russia. Of incredible significance proved the appearances in Russian towns and cities during the Easter Festival and tours to Vladivostok and Khabarovsk, as well as a tour to the USA which saw a performance of Rodion Shchedrin’s opera The Enchanted Wanderer, a major tour by the orchestra to Japan and performances in China during which Valery Gergiev and the Mariinsky Orchestra opened the Prokofiev Festival in Beijing, which saw performances of all of the composer’s symphonies and piano concerti. In Great Britain there were performances of the opera Betrothal in a Monastery and Boris Godunov, the European premiere of Shchedrin’s opera The Lefthander and a performance of Wagner’s tetralogy Der Ring des Nibelungen.
The main ballet tours included appearances in South and North America, featuring performances of the repertoire’s finest productions, such as Swan Lake, Le Corsaire, Cinderella, Nijinsky’s Le Sacre du printemps and ballets by Michel Fokine.

This season the Mariinsky label has produced five discs – Prokofiev’s ballet Romeo and Juliet on DVD with Diana Vishneva and Vladimir Shklyarov, Musorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition and Songs and Dances of Death with Ferruccio Furlanetto, Rachmaninoff’s First Piano Concerto with soloist Denis Matsuev, Shchedrin’s opera The Lefthander and Shostakovich’s Ninth Symphony and First Violin Concerto with soloist Leonidas Kavakos. The fifth disc is ready to be released – Prokofiev’s Fourth, Sixth and Seventh Symphonies and the Fifth Piano Concerto performed by the Mariinsky Orchestra under Valery Gergiev, the solo performed by Sergei Babayan.
The label’s releases are produced in the contemporary formats SACD (audio), DVD and Blu-ray (video); they are accompanied by booklets containing information about the works and the performers. All audio recordings are also available in digital format from iTunes.

The 2015-2016 season opens on 25 September at all three venues: at the Mariinsky II there will be a performance of last season’s premiere of Tchaikovsky’s The Queen of Spades conducted by Valery Gergiev. Ballets by Michel Fokine, a unique early 20th century project comprising Chopiniana, Le Spectre de la rose, The Dying Swan and Schéhérazade, comprise the first ballet evening of the new season. A concert by pianist Dmitry Masleyev, recipient of the 1st prize at the XV International Tchaikovsky Competition, opens the series of concerts by prize-winners of this prestigious music contest.

01.08.2015

From 1 to 4 August maestro Gergiev will be conducting the Pacific Music Festival Orchestra in a programme including Shostakovich’s Tenth Symphony, Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto and the  overture from Rossini’s opera Guillaume Tell in major cities throughout Japan

From 1 to 4 August maestro Gergiev will be conducting the Pacific Music Festival Orchestra in a programme including Shostakovich’s Tenth Symphony, Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto and the overture from Rossini’s opera Guillaume Tell in major cities throughout Japan. The performances are taking place as part of the Pacific Music Festival, of which Valery Gergiev is Artistic Director. One of the main aims of the  project is to support talented young musicians; the orchestra of the Pacific Music Festival is a youth ensemble of eighty musicians aged between eighteen and twenty-nine who are selected on an annual basis according to the results of additions throughout the world. Over the course of July the young musicians honed the ir skills under the guidance of conductors and musicians of internationally acclaimed symphony orchestras (the Wiener and Berliner Philharmoniker and the Philadelphia and Chicago Orchestras). Now they will have two performances in Sapporo (a gala concert at the Concert Hall Kitara and an open-air concert in the Art Park) and performances in Yokohama and Tokyo’s Suntory Hall. In the Rachmaninoff concertoon all four evenings the soloist will be the young Russian pianist Dmitry Masleyev, recipient of the 1st prize and the Gold Medal at the XV International Tchaikovsky Competition.

On 5 August maestro Gergiev will be conducting the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra at a concert dedicated to Countess Yoko Nagae Ceschina – a long-standing friend and partner of the Mariinsky Theatre who died in January this year. Valery Gergiev and the Japanese orchestra will be dedicating their performance of Tchaikovsky’s Sixth Pathéthique Symphony to her memory.

29.07.2015
The Mariinsky Theatre’s recording company has released its latest disc featuring works by Prokofiev. These include the Fourth, Sixth and Seventh Symphonies and Piano Concerto No 5 performed by the Mariinsky Orchestra under the baton of Valery Gergiev with soloist Sergei Babayan

The Mariinsky Theatre’s recording company has released its latest disc featuring works by Prokofiev. These include the Fourth, Sixth and Seventh Symphonies and Piano Concerto No 5 performed by the Mariinsky Orchestra under the baton of Valery Gergiev with soloist Sergei Babayan. The disc may currently be pre-ordered exclusively on amazon.com.

It is well known that the music of Prokofiev is one of the key speciality fields of the Mariinsky Orchestra and maestro Gergiev: “The Mariinsky’s musicians have Prokofiev in their blood, moreover this has been the case for a long time, and the fact that the orchestra and the company under the baton of Gergiev have, on several occasions, performed all of Sergei Prokofiev’s symphonies, concerti and operas is of tremendous significance” (Kultura). The Mariinsky Theatre is the only theatre in the world which has all of Prokofiev’s operas in its repertoire. This current release will be the fourth recording of Prokofiev’s music produced by the Mariinsky recording company; previously, the label has released the opera The Gambler and the ballet Romeo and Juliet in DVD format as well as the Fifth Symphony and Piano Concerto No 3 with Denis Matsuev. All of these recordings have received numerous prestigious Russian and international awards. The recording of The Gambler won in the category “Best DVD – Stage and Drama” from the Japanese publication Record Geijutsu (2013) and won a highly sought-after International Classical Music Award in the category “Best Opera DVD” (2014). The Fifth Symphony and Piano Concerto No 3 were named “Disc of the Month” by leading British classical music portal Classical CD Choice. The ballet Romeo and Juliet was awarded the very highest prize of five stars by the magazine Audiophile Audition.

28.07.2015

Maestro Gergiev will be conducting a marathon of Prokofiev concerts at the BBC Proms in London

Maestro Gergiev will be conducting a marathon of Prokofiev concerts at the BBC Proms in London.

28 July will see Valery Gergiev’s traditional performance at the annual BBC Proms series of concerts at the Royal Albert Hall. Today the maestro will conduct the London Symphony Orchestra – an ensemble of which Valery Gergiev was invited to become Principal Conductor in 2004 following a triumphant performance of a series of all of Prokofiev’s symphonies. Symbolically, this year the maestro will again be presenting a Prokofiev “integral” – just one evening will see a performance of all five of Prokofiev’s piano concerti. the festival’s audience will have the unique opportunity to hear three internationally acclaimed pianists and compare their interpretations. Two concerti will be performed by Sergei Babayan, two by his pupil Daniil Trifonov and in Piano Concerto No 4 (for the left hand), commissioned by the one-armed pianist Paul Wittgenstein and rarely performed on the concert stage, the solo will be performed by Alexei Volodin.

The marathon of Prokofiev’s piano concerti is a project that Valery Gergiev has run several times with different orchestras both in Russia and abroad. In April 2012 this cycle was performed at the Concert Hall of the Mariinsky Theatre as part of the III International Piano Festival. In the autumn of 2014 it featured on several occasions during the Mariinsky Orchestra’s international tours under the baton of maestro Gergiev, including at the Age of Prokofiev festival in Germany and Austria as well as at Beijing’s National Centre for the Performing Arts in China.

25.07.2015

The traditional cultural invasion of the International Music Festival in Baden-Baden by the Mariinsky Theatre has caused a veritable furore in the international press

The traditional cultural invasion of the International Music Festival in Baden-Baden by the Mariinsky Theatre has caused a veritable furore in the international press. The Mariinsky’s new production of The Queen of Spades by Tchaikovsky, the anniversary of whose birth is being widely celebrated this year, symphony programme and concert performance of Berlioz’ grandiose opera duologue Les Troyens drew the attention of a huge number of German, French and Italian critics.

Alexei Stepanyuk’s monumental production is at the crossroads of Russian and western aesthetic ideals, embodying the inherent ambivalence of St Petersburg, a crossroads between East and West. The stage director and production designer have created a production that arouses a mass of associations: there is a reference to Adolph von Menzel’s painting Flute Concerto of Frederick the Great at Sanssouci, there are scenes with ghosts in the spirit of the French romantic opera Robert le Diable by Giacomo Meyerbeer, there is the Hoffmannesque demonism that leads to inevitable disaster and there are pastoral scenes that hint at theatre of the late Baroque period. As a result, The Queen of Spades comes across as a true “grand opéra” in the new Mariinsky Theatre production.
The vocal side of the production will also not leave the audience unaffected with its inspired dramatic acting combined with Slavonic timbres. Although it must be admitted that Mikhail Vekua (Hermann) at times unnecessarily forced the sound, which apart from anything else affected the proper nature of the intonation. A much more favourable impression was made by the voice of Irina Churilova (Liza), standing out for the lyrical warmth and evenness throughout the entire range. Of particular note in the brilliant cast of soloists was the free-flowing and velvet baritone voice of Alexei Markov (Prince Yeletsky), who presented an incredibly convincing image as a rival and antipode of Hermann. Two mezzo-sopranos must also be mentioned – Yekaterina Sergeyeva (Polina) with her intense and also pliant voice and the dark and nuance-rich vocals of Elena Vitman (the Countess).
It is superfluous to say that for Valery Gergiev and the Mariinsky Orchestra this was absolutely “doing what they do best”, brilliantly conveying the duplicity of the “St Petersburg text” of Tchaikovsky’s opera. (Alexander Dick, Badische Zeitung)

The strong side of this production lies in the realism of the narrative, in the important reality of the behaviour of the characters, which can arouse deep emotions and feelings in the audience regardless of a specific era or time. Mikhail Vekua’s Hermann is a vulnerable person, gloomy and despondent, aimlessly wandering among the finely-dressed representatives of the higher echelons of St Petersburg society (costumes by Irina Cherednikova), whose refined tenor voice, at times somewhat restrained in the piano, can take on the power of passion, and sometimes even achieve piercing sharpness. Irina Churilova is enchanting with her incredibly warm and even soprano with its full upper register, which can produce both expressive nuances of doubt and tragic despair. Alexei Markov as Prince Yeletsky, Roman Burdenko as Count Tomsky and Anna Denisova as Prilepa were vivid members of this exemplary cast of singers with staggeringly beautiful voices and strong acting skills, truly engaged with one another in the performance. The kind of theatre ensemble culture seen with the Mariinsky Theatre is now almost impossible to find in Germany.
Of course, the figure of the Mariinsky Theatre’s Artistic Director Valery Gergiev is associated with the most incredible enjoyment of music. He, like no-one else, magically draws melting sounds of languor and nostalgia from the orchestra, he highlights the vocal phrases with gentle flutes and mournful oboes, he spreads out velvety carpets of the strings under the singers’ feet. (Isabel Herzfeld, Badisches Tagblatt)

A wonderful production from the point of view of comprehensibility, its timeless classical qualities and pliant beauty. At the same time, this visually lavish production was not just a feast for the eyes, but for the ears too. Mikhail Vekua created a dazzling image as Hermann. Initially he appeared weak and unconfident in his over-long coat, his voice lacked clarity. But soon it became clear that this was intentional, as little by little he proved himself, displaying Napoleonic resolve and revealing exceptional energy and liveliness. Irina Churilova was very convincing as Liza, her voice sounds beautiful and strong. Loving passion, the torture of doubt and despair – the young soprano demonstrated the entire range of colours, making the audience empathise with her heroine. To a great extent Roman Burdenko has all the qualities for a successful performance of the role of Tomsky. But it was Alexei Markov’s sonorous and powerful baritone that was most affecting in the role of Yeletsky, particularly in the scene of his declaration of love for Liza, when he displays such a vocal gift that touch the hearts of even the most passionless people. Elena Vitman’s performance as the Countess was also beautiful.
Naturally one of the key components of the success of the evening was the performance by the Mariinsky Orchestra under Valery Gergiev. (Catherine Jordy, Forumopera.com).

The most powerful part of the performance was the music. Valery Gergiev’s immense experience with this score was clear to be seen in the clarity and originality of his interpretation, combining three-dimensional sound images with passionate tension. Of course, we must also note the brilliant work of the chorus and orchestra in this opera, which had its world premiere one hundred and twenty-five years ago at the Mariinsky Theatre itself. And so this evening the audience had a unique opportunity to hear the real Tchaikovsky.
The vocal cast of the first performance was also magnificent. Mikhail Vekua as Hermann demonstrated an impressive vocal culture and a complex and ambiguous image in the role. Irina Churilova gave a heartfelt performance as Liza. As Prince Yeletsky Alexei Markov demonstrated a luxuriant baritone and Russian bel canto. Elena Vitman sang well as the Countess, possibly even too well for such a sinister character. (Karl Georg Berg, Die Rheinpfalz)

In the Symphonie fantastique Valery Gergiev and the Mariinsky Orchestra took a gamble with the new effects that were first used by Berlioz. These worried the composer’s contemporaries and continue to have an effect today when they are produced so decisively, passionately and abundantly. The orchestra displayed an almost limitless scale of colours and shades. The wind and percussion sections deserve particular mention. The audience thanked the performers for this dazzling display with lengthy applause and endless shouts of “bravo”. (Birgitta Schmid)

Gergiev gives the orchestra the chance to enjoy the sound, visually embodying the contradictions of Berlioz’ alter ego. (Christian Euler)

The musicians of the Mariinsky Orchestra follow the tiniest movements of the tips of their principal conductor’s fingertips, and this is evidence not just of discipline but – to no less a degree – of the inspiration, passion and dedication which essentially transforms these separate and diverse individuals into an organism that breathes as one, feels the same emotions, and turns these emotions into sound. Gergiev’s interpretation is remarkable for its very particular sensitivity and pliancy. Without a conductor’s podium, standing at eye-level with his musicians, the maestro turns to separate sections, and can even come right up close to intensify the effect, becoming part of the orchestra, so to speak. This intimacy is absolutely and totally suited for the mysterious and confessional nature of the Symphonie fantastique. (Isabel Herzfeld)

In Les Troyens, from the very first bar Gergiev inspires the huge cast of soloists, the chorus and the Mariinsky Orchestra and confidently leads them through all five acts. The maestro underscores the classical majesty of the large choral scenes and leads the ensembles with a steady hand of theatrical drama. Didon (Ekaterina Semenchuk) demonstrates perfect command of her voice, and the expressiveness of her performance constantly grows. As a tragic actress she is rivalled by Mlada Khudoley as the prophetess Cassandre.
In the large ensemble of Trojans and Carthaginians of particular note were the bass Yuri Vorobiev as Narbal as well as the refined and stylish Chorèbe of Alexei Markov. (Nikolaus Schmidt)

The dramatic intensity and engaging dynamics as well as the wealth of colour which we see in the score of Les Troyens is presented to us by Gergiev and his orchestra in staggering fashion. The musicians under his baton, however, produce not only incredibly grandiose music, but also of incredible refinement. At the centre of attention, as with Berlioz, we have strong female characters. In the first part we have Cassandre who prophesies doom, which Mlada Khudoley embodies with the incomparable expressiveness of her timbre-rich soprano. Just as huge was the majestic mezzo-soprano voice of Ekaterina Semenchuk, who revealed the entire emotional range of her heroine Didon, abandoned by Énée, from loving nostalgia and despair no unrestrained fury. Alexei Markov created a lyrically intense image as Chorèbe, Cassandre’s fiancé, and Yekaterina Krapivina as Didon’s sister Anna stood out for her even and flexible mezzo-soprano. (Thomas Weiss)

Ekaterina Semenchuk presented a divine image as Didon. From the first recitative she enthralled the public with her majesty and magnificent command of French. Here was a true sovereign and queen! Her impressive vocal technique and the beauty of the timbre of her imperious and dazzling voice completely matched the stage image. Mlada Khudoley was also notable for her perfect enunciation, she interpreted the complex and highly diverse role of Cassandre with delicacy and passion, with differing nuances. Alexei Markov may be congratulated on his ideal performance as Chorèbe. His voice, weighty, colourful and radiant, was as captivating as the singer’s physical image. This baritone is a true hero, and his impeccable French was a pure delight. I would pick out Yuri Vorobiev as Narbal with his stunning low notes. A truly wonderful surprise came with the exceptional performance of the role of Anna by the very aristocratic Yekaterina Krapivina. The dark and velvety contralto of this surprisingly delicate young woman was truly exceptional. The ensembles, particularly the octet, were a pure delight. Conducting the Mariinsky Orchestra, with emotion, inspiration and dynamism Valery Gergiev recreated the epic pathos of Berlioz’ score. (Catherine Jordy, Forumopera.com)

22.07.2015
On 23 July Valery Gergiev, Denis Matsuev and Daniil Trifonov will be performing with the orchestra of the internationally acclaimed Swiss festival

On 23 July Valery Gergiev, Denis Matsuev and Daniil Trifonov will be performing with the orchestra of the internationally acclaimed Swiss festival

This major festival of classical music, held each year in the very heart of the Swiss Alps, always eagerly anticipates the arrival of guests from the Mariinsky Theatre. Two years ago the finest opera singers under the baton of maestro Gergiev commemorated the Year of Verdi and Wagner at the festival with performances of the operas Otello (featuring Anna Netrebko, Alexei Markov, Aleksandrs Antonenko and Francesco Demuro) and Die Walküre (featuring Bryn Terfel, Eva-Maria Westbroek and Iréne Theorin).

This time Valery Gergiev and two internationally acclaimed Russian pianists – Denis Matsuev and Daniil Trifonov – will be presenting a programme of works by Mozart, Ravel and Pyotr Tchaikovsky, whose anniversary is being celebrated this year.

As part of the symphony concert, maestro Gergiev will conduct the Verbier Festival Orchestra in a performance of Tchaikovsky’s Sixth Pathétique Symphony and Ravel’s Boléro, thus paying tribute to Maya Plisetskaya, the great Russian ballerina and friend of the Mariinsky Theatre who died in May this year.

The main intrigue of the evening will be a performance of Mozart’s Triple Piano Concerto, in which Valery Gergiev will be appearing not just as a conductor but also as a piano soloist together with his colleagues Denis Matsuev and Daniil Trifonov.

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