An interview with Professor Sergei Osipenko of the Rostov-on-Don State Rachmaninoff Conservatoire

An interview with Professor Sergei Osipenko of the Rostov-on-Don State Rachmaninoff Conservatoire

Sergei Ivanovich, who were your teachers?
I was extremely lucky; my own teachers were the great pianist Professor Lev Oborin (I studied under him for four years at the Moscow Conservatoire, until his very death), as well as two of his students Vera Demchenko (Golovina), in whose class I graduated from the Leningrad Conservatoire’s Special School, and Mikhail Voskresensky, a professor at the Moscow Conservatoire – under his guidance I studied in my fifth year and undertook a postgraduate study. You could say that throughout my entire musical life I have been influenced one way or another by Oborin.

You are spoken of as a bearer of the finest traditions of the Russian piano school. What exactly are these traditions?
The single most important element of the Russian piano school has always been the beauty of the sound – the vocal tone. That’s not so very easy to achieve on the percussion keyboard instrument we call the piano. The ability to “sing” on the piano forms the heart of the Russian tradition.

Do you have any students who could continue the work of Osipenko-the-teacher? If you do, who are they?
Of course I have such students. For example, three of my students will be performing at the International Piano Festival on 28 December with piano concerti by Russian composers – they are good teachers. Anna Vinnitskaya is a professor at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Hamburg (Germany), while Sofia Bugayan and Alexander Yakovlev teach at the Rostov on Don State Rachmaninoff Conservatoire (Academy).

Do you find it difficult to combine your intense teaching and performing activities?
Teaching occupies a key role in my professional life. It takes up a great many hours, but I certainly haven’t forgotten about recitals – I do perform on-stage, albeit not as often as I’d like. You have to keep in good form. That’s very important at my lessons with students at the conservatoire and at master-classes.

What personal qualities do you consider important for a musician?
The ability to take an interest in the problems of my students and professional integrity.

Can you name a musician whose playing is the very essence of perfection for you?
Sergei Vasilievich Rachmaninoff.

What is perfection for you? Is it even at all possible?
It is probably always possible to perform better. Even great musicians criticise themselves and their own performances...

The British press on the performance of the Mariinsky Der Ring des Nibelungen

The British press on the performance of the Mariinsky Der Ring des Nibelungen.

“Great art this certainly was, as stunning visually as musically. Tsypin’s sets were simply mind-boggling, equally as effective is the lighting design of Gleb Filtshtinsky. And Tatiana Noginova’s costume designs, drawn from the mythology of Ossetia, were arresting.
Under Valery Gergiev’s fluttering hands Wagner’s complex, far-reaching score unfolded with a tremendous sense of inevitability. The orchestra delivered tones of rich brass chording, eloquent woodwind, and expressively articulating strings, and from these vast structures Gergiev was able to convey a seamless sense of line – which meant that Wagner’s constant web of Leitmotive was spun to telling effect.
Gergiev’s system of casting from a squad on the bench had its particular benefits in these stamina-sapping days. Some of the soloists were particularly outstanding.
Both Siegfrieds were tremendous, Mikhail Vekua (previously Loge in Das Rheingold) stentorian in the Forging Song.
We had three excellent Wotans, with Vitaly Kovalyov in  Die Walküre singing with perfect clarity even in the depths of his range, a delightful Freia from Anastasia Kalagina in  Das Rheingold (later an enchanting Woodbird in Siegfried), and a most touching Sieglinde from Mlada Khudoley in Die Walküre.
Ekaterina Gubanova was a persuasive Fricka, and Edem Umerov had huge presence as the malevolent (but actually hard-done-by) dwarf Alberich in his three appearances.
Special among the three Brünnhildes we heard was Götterdämmerung’s Larisa Gogolevskaya, intense in acting, rapier-sharp in delivery, and at the end, a heartbreaking vision of indomitable heroism soaring out of emotional collapse.”
Christopher Morley, Birmingham Post

“The one unqualified success of this presentation of Das Rheingold was the performance of the orchestra. Conductor Valery Gergiev achieved a fine balance in the pit, and while his interpretation seemed to be very direct and straightforward that was entirely intentional. All of the music’s beauty is there on the page, but Gergiev revealed just why it takes someone of this experience to bring it all out. Never, for example, has the Valhalla leitmotif felt quite so sumptuous, or moments such as Alberich summoning the dwarves to fetch the gold possessed such striking power.
Sir Willard White was tremendous as Wotan, bringing to the fore all of the thickness in his bass voice to produce a sound possessed of shimmering resonance. Ekaterina Gubanova was every inch his equal as Fricka, revealing her own burnished, rounded voice to the full. Mikhail Vekua as Loge did not initially come across as so dynamic a trickster, but soon established himself as a quiet all­knowing presence and an exceptional actor. His disdainful glances at Wotan were superb, and his sense of sickened sorrow as the gods prepared to ascend to Valhalla was highly moving. Vocally, he was splendid and he could suddenly hit the audience with a power that they simply weren’t expecting. Evgeny Ulanov also impressed as Donner, Edward Tsanga was superb as Fasolt and Mikhail Petrenko good as Fafner. However, it was the final segment that really stunned. As the Rhinemaidens lamented their loss, the monoliths rose, the lighting (which was strong throughout) really came into its own, and Gergiev genuinely brought the music home, it felt as if a touch of heaven had come to rest in the Birmingham Hippodrome.”
Sam Smith, MusicOMH

“Two outstanding performances of the evening are nobly sung Fricka of Ekaterina Gubanova and Mikhail Vekua’s fine Loge, transforming word into character, movement and colour, relishing the athleticism of his tenor. Anastasia Kalagina offers an affecting Freia; Evgeni Ulanov’s Donner is vocally potent.”
The Times

“The Mariinsky Opera took things to another level in its performance of Die Walküre, while the singing proved strong across the board. Vitaly Kovalyov was a first rate Wotan, with a voice that demonstrated firmness and consistency, but which was really marked out by its brilliant and resonant darkness. He also had enormous presence so that when he appeared in Act III his fury radiated out across the entire auditorium. As in  Rheingold Ekaterina Gubanova was superb as Fricka, bringing her rich, rounded and accurate sound to the fore and making the most of the even greater opportunity afforded to stamp out such a strong, haughty character. Avgust Amonov as Siegmund and Mlada Khudoley as Sieglinde provided sounds of immense power, and Amonov brought a considerable degree of sensitivity to his magnificent sound, while Khudoley’s voice proved both resonant and ethereal. Olga Savova as Brünnhilde revealed a soprano that could be incredibly direct, and the strength and consistency in her performance made her a terrific match for Kovalyov’s Wotan.”
Sam Smith, MusicOMH

“Amidst a strong cast, two performances stood out in particular. The first came from Mikhail Vekua who must surely stand as one of the world’s great Siegfrieds today. His voice not only possessed astounding stamina, but also immense warmth. It could be expansive and powerful, but had that element of lightness that still made the sound feel full rather than hollow. He also proved a fine actor, capturing Siegfried’s virility, confidence and arrogance, while at least hinting at some more sensitive traits. Their existence in turn enabled us to like, and hence want to go on the journey with, the hero.
The second came from Vladimir Feliauer who proved an outstanding Wanderer in what I believe was only his second appearance in the role. His bass was possessed of immense darkness and power. Decked all in black, he was a magnetic presence from start to finish.
Mikhail Petrenko proved a tremendous Fafner. Zlata Bulycheva was a rich voiced Erda and Anastasia Kalagina a splendid Woodbird, producing a direct yet sweet sound.
The Mariinsky Orchestra, under the baton of Valery Gergiev, was on top form.”
Sam Smith, MusicOMH

“Andreas Schager proved just as strong a Siegfried as Mikhail Vekua had the previous day. Larisa Gogolevskaya also proved a strong actor as Brünnhilde and with an intriguing soprano delivered a mind-blowing Immolation Scene. And yet it was her ability to shape any sound that produced such a variety of richly coloured lines.
Edward Tsanga was a powerful Gunther, while Mlada Khudoley as Gutrune and Olga Savova as Waltraute repeated the magic they had brought to the roles of Sieglinde and Brünnhilde respectively in Die Walküre. Elena Vitman, Svetlana Volkova and Tatiana Kravtsova provided an excellent Prologue as the Norns, while the three Rhinemaidens were beautifully sung by Zhanna Dombrovskaya, Irina Vasilieva and Ekaterina Sergeyeva. Edem Umerov also made his mark in Alberich’s sole scene by interacting so well with Hagen.
The orchestra played brilliantly as it has done all week, and Siegfried’s Funeral March was the most powerful I have ever experienced.
The Mariinsky Ring Cycle will stay long in my memory by virtue of the excellent conducting of Valery Gergiev, and a host of very strong performances. It was, of course, good to enjoy established figures such as Sir Willard White, Mikhail Petrenko, Andreas Schager and Ekaterina Gubanova, but the real revelation came in experiencing some singers whom I had seldom or never heard live before, singling out Vladimir Feliauer (The Wanderer), Mikhail Vekua (Siegfried in  Siegfried) and Vitaly Kovalyov (Wotan in Die Walküre).”
Sam Smith, MusicOMH


Valery Gergiev will be conducting the London Symphony Orchestra as part of a marathon series of concert programmes exclusively featuring classical Russian music of the 20th century

Valery Gergiev will be conducting the London Symphony Orchestra as part of a marathon series of concert programmes exclusively featuring classical Russian music of the 20th century. Maestro Gergiev and the famed British symphony orchestra’s appearances together with acclaimed Russian pianist Denis Matsuev will be held in Singapore and major venues in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne in Australia.
Appearing once again as an ambassador for Russian culture abroad, Valery Gergiev will be presenting a broad panorama of the history of Russian music, ranging from Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto (composed in 1900) to Dmitry Shostakovich’s Festive Overture (1954).

On 19 and 20 November at the vast and ultra-modern theatre and concert complex The Esplanade in Singapore maestro Gergiev and the London Symphony Orchestra will be giving two concerts. The programme for the first evening, in addition to the aforementioned Piano Concerto No 2 by Rachmaninoff (soloist – Denis Matsuev) and Shostakovich’s Festive Overture, also features Rachmaninoff’s Third Symphony, which was to be one of the composer’s final works. The programme for the second – monograph – evening will consist entirely of music by Sergei Prokofiev and includes his First and Fifth Symphonies as well as his Third Piano Concrto with Denis Matsuev performing the solo.

22 November will see the London Symphony Orchestra under Valery Gergiev making their debut at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre in Brisbane. The concert programme includes Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto with Denis Matsuev and Dmitry Shostakovich’s Tenth Symphony.

Over three evenings in a row, the orchestra and maestro Gergiev will be performing at the Sydney Opera House. On 24 November there will be a concert dedicated to Stravinsky (the orchestral version of Pétrouchka from 1947) and Prokofiev (the First and Fifth Symphonies).
The playbill for the second evening includes Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto (piano solo – Denis Matsuev) and Dmitry Shostakovich’s Tenth Symphony.

At the final concert on 26 November there will be performances of Dmitry Shostakovich’s Festive Overture, Sergei Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No 3 with Denis Matsuev and Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Third Symphony.

The London Symphony Orchestra’s tour under Valery Gergiev comes to a close in Melbourne on 28 November. At the Arts Centre in Melbourne there will be a performance of Sergei Prokofiev’s First Symphony, Igor Stravinsky’s Pétrouchka (1947 orchestral version) and Dmitry Shostakovich’s Tenth Symphony.

Maestro Gergiev has been Principal Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra since 2007. In this post he regularly conducts the orchestra’s concerts at its London home residence at the Barbican. Last season saw the orchestra focus on the musical legacy of Berlioz, Scriabin and Messiaen, while this season Valery Gergiev and the London Symphony Orchestra will be presenting works by Russian composers – Tchaikovsky, Balakirev, Glazunov, Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev, Shostakovich and Tishchenko. Many of the concerts will feature appearances by the acclaimed Russian pianist Denis Matsuev. This series of concerts began in September; then, on 11 and 13 November, there came concerts to mark the end of the Mariinsky Theatre’s tour to Great Britain. The programme for that tour included Mily Balkirev’s symphonic poem Russia and Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto and Third Symphony. The performances in Australia are a key and eagerly anticipated event in the country’s cultural calendar, the London Symphony Orchestra having last visited Australia more than thirty years ago.

Nominations for the 2013-2014 season’s Golden Mask, Russia’s most prestigious theatre award, have been announced. Mariinsky Theatre productions and performers have been nominated in six categories

Nominations for the 2013-2014 season’s Golden Mask, Russia’s most prestigious theatre award, have been announced. Mariinsky Theatre productions and performers have been nominated in six categories.

Among opera premieres of the past season, the expert council focussed on a new stage version of the opera Otello. This production has been nominated in four categories. Otello has been forwarded for the prize as “Best Opera Production”, its stage director Vasily Barkhatov has been listed in the category “Opera/ Work by a Stage Director” and Zinovy Margolin, the production designer of Otello, is one of the nominees for the Golden Mask in the category “Work by a Designer in Musical Theatre”. Soloists in this production have also received nominations; Aleksandrs Antonenko (as Otello) and Alexander Krasnov (as Iago) have been forwarded in the category “Opera/ Male Role”.

Ballet premieres listed in the category “Ballet/ Production” include Infra and one-act ballet by Hans van Manen. Moreover, Mariinsky Theatre prima ballerina Diana Vishneva has been nominated for her work in the ballet Woman in a Room, which was produced by the Diana Vishneva Foundation and Ardani Artists.

The prize-winners will be announced at the XXI festival of productions and nominees, to be held in Moscow in March-April 2015. The awards ceremony of the Golden Mask Russian national theatre prize will take place on 18 April at the Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Musical Theatre.

The Mariinsky Theatre, its productions and performers have been awarded the Golden Sofit, St Petersburg’s most prestigious theatre prize, in several categories

The Mariinsky Theatre, its productions and performers have been awarded the Golden Sofit, St Petersburg’s most prestigious theatre prize, in several categories.

Alexei Ratmansky’s ballet Concerto DSCH was the winner in the category “Best Short Ballet”.
In the category “Best Female Role in Ballet” the authoritative jury voted for Viktoria Tereshkina for her performance of the lead role in the ballet Sylvia.
The prize for “Best Female Rol e in Opera” went to Tatiana Serjan for the role of Leonora in Pier Luigi Pizzi’s production of Il trovatore.
In the category “Best Work by a Designer in Musical Theatre” the Golden Sofit statuette went to designers Alexander Orlov and Irina Cherednikova for their set and costume designs for The Lefthander. At the twentieth Golden Sofit grand awards ceremony the prize “For Artistic Longevity and a Unique Contribution to Theatre in St Petersburg” the award went to Gabriela Komleva, a former ballerina and present-day ballet-mistress and coach at the Mariinsky Theatre.
The Special Prize “For Continued Success Working with a Chorus” went to Andrei Petrenko, the theatre’s Principal Chorus Master.


From 12 to 23 November the Mariinsky Ballet will be performing at the Theatro Municipal in Rio de Janeiro and the Teatro Alfa in São Paulo

From 12 to 23 November the Mariinsky Ballet will be performing at the Theatro Municipal in Rio de Janeiro and the Teatro Alfa in São Paulo.

During the tour, in addition to the full-evening Le Corsaire, Brazilian audiences will see Michel Fokine’s one-act ballets Chopiniana, Le Spectre de la rose and The Dying Swan as well as a gala featuring the “white adagio” from Swan Lake, Yuri Smekalov’s piece Parting, the miniature Ballet 101 performed by Vladimir Shklyarov, Anastasia Kolegova in Russkaya and the popular pas de deux Diane et Actéon and the pas de deux from Don Quixote. The tour will feature Ulyana Lopatkina, Anastasia Kolegova, Oxana Skorik, Kristina Shapran, Nadezhda Batoeva, Nadezhda Gonchar, Elena Yevseyeva, Yekaterina Ivannikova, Viktoria Krasnokutskaya, Xenia Ostreikovskaya, Vladimir Shklyarov, Timur Askerov, Andrei Yermakov, Konstantin Zverev, Kimin Kim, Yuri Smekalov, Alexei Timofeyev, Islom Baimuradov and Ernest Latypov.
For details of the tour please go to www.teatroalfa.com.br


Regardless of the fact that the Mariinsky Theatre’s major tour that brings the Year of Culture of Russia and Great Britain to a close has only just begun, critics in the United Kingdom have already appeared in the press, giving high praise to the first performances in Cardiff (Betrothal in a Monastery) and London (Boris Godunov and The Lefthander)

Regardless of the fact that the Mariinsky Theatre’s major tour that brings the Year of Culture of Russia and Great Britain to a close has only just begun, critics in the United Kingdom have already appeared in the press, giving high praise to the first performances in Cardiff (Betrothal in a Monastery) and London (Boris Godunov and The Lefthander).

"Under its celebrated conductor Valery Gergiev, the Mariinsky Opera’s concert performance must rank as one of the most satisfying evenings of opera in Wales this year. The principals interacted with the players and proved so effective in their communications through song and gesture that the surtitles were hardly required. The excellent Sergey Aleksashkin sang Mendoza, weaving an adorable comic acting and singing role with consummate craft and seeming ease. The trio of scheming women was completed by the again accomplished comic actor-singer of Larisa Diadkova as The Duenna. We had sparkling performances from soprano Anastasia Kalagina as the feisty daughter Louisa and the charming Yulia Matochkina as her friend Clara. The young women have their eyes on younger men, the dreamily sung tenor of Dmitry Voropaev as Antonio and the richly voiced Don Ferdinand, from Roman Burdenko. In this Andalusian tale from a Russian composer, cast and orchestra the music glistened with thrilling playing both in ensemble and individual contributions with a score that is both rarely performed but remarkably familiar with so much of Prokofiev's signature musical vocabulary".
Mike Smith, WalesOnline

"Authenticity came in triplicate in the opening performance of the Mariinsky Opera’s Barbican residency. First there was the score: the original 1869 seven­scene version of Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov, its brusque maleness unmollified by any love interest, the granitic blocked chords unsmoothed by Rimsky­Korsakov’s silken fingers. Second came the Mariinsky instrumental and choral sound: dark, oily and pungent. Third came the odd sensation of hearing an ensemble execute a work they clearly know with uncommon intimacy".
Anna Picard, The Times

"The glory of this performance was in the high standard of the Mariinsky Choir and Orchestra. Although small in number, the choir made a formidable sound, of that deep­seated, guttural richness that only Russian choirs seem able to produce. The orchestra, though also modest in size, played with its characteristic warmth and flexibility, partly derived from the soft, lyrical quality of its brass instruments. The cast was an advertisement for the company’s in­house depth of talent. Mikhail Petrenko’s soft­toned, pious Pimen and the outgoing Varlaam of Sergey Aleksashkin were well contrasted; among the rest, there was notable singing from Anastasia Kalagina as Xenia, Evgeny Akimov as Shuisky, Andrei Popov as the Fool. Gergiev, inevitably, was his usual self – waggling his fingers incomprehensibly at the assembled company and getting back a performance full of life and vigour. How does he do it?"
Richard Fairman, Financial Times

"The singers cast their shadows over the drama, adding to the wholeness enabled by the extraordinary connection of Gergiev’s conducting, in which pace, momentum and detail were uppermost. The Mussorgsky genius burst out of the orchestra and singers in all its uncompromising uniqueness, confirming, even in our global-village time, the otherness of his music".
Peter Reed, Classical Source

"That the Mariinsky can field so strong a cast of singer-actors in these smaller roles is a sign of what it can still achieve at its best." "It’s rare that a new score can compel so thoroughly at first hearing. Russia’s greatest living opera composer has done it again, creating a contemporary classic that really gets under the skin."
Alexandra Coghlan, The Arts Desk

"Shchedrin’s scoring is characteristically inventive and colourful, his vocal lines always singable. The Mariinsky's concert performance captured the wit and humour of Shchedrin's opera"
John Allison, The Telegraph

The Mariinsky Theatre is saddened to announce the death of baritone Viktor Mikhailovich Chernomortsev, People’s Artist of Russia, on 4 November at the age of sixty-six.
Viktor Mikhailovich Chernomortsev’s memorial service and funeral will take place on 14 November

The Mariinsky Theatre is saddened to announce the death of baritone Viktor Mikhailovich Chernomortsev, People’s Artist of Russia, on 4 November at the age of sixty-six.

Viktor Chernomortsev’s funeral service and burial will take place on 14 November –
at 10:00 in the White Foyer of the Mariinsky Theatre there will be a civil memorial service, while the performer’s funeral service will be held at the Alexandrovskoe Cemetery Church.
The burial will take place at the Alexandrovskoe Cemetery in the village of Alexandrovskaya, Pushkin District.

Viktor Chernomortsev was an outstanding singer, a brilliant teacher and a man who was sincerely loved by his friends, students and colleagues. Over the course of twenty years he dedicated his life to the Mariinsky Theatre, where he performed dozens of lead roles in the baritone repertoire. A magnificent singer and a true artiste, Viktor Chernomortsev had powerful charisma, a noble appearance and an inexhaustible sense of humour.

Born in the Krasnodar Region, he studied vocals at the Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatoire. From 1973–1974 he was a soloist at the Saratov Chernyshevsky Opera and Ballet Theatre. From 1974–1992 he was a soloist at the Kuibyshev Opera and Ballet Theatre. In 1992 he became a soloist with the Wiener Staatsoper, while in 1994 he made his Mariinsky Theatre debut as Scarpia in the opera Tosca.

Viktor Chernomortsev’s appearances at the Mariinsky Theatre are impossible to forget, recent memorable major roles of the great singer including those of Tsarev in Sergei Prokofiev’s opera Semyon Kotko (production by Yuri Alexandrov), Alberich in Richard Wagner’s Siegfried and, of course, Falstaff in Giuseppe Verdi’s eponymous opera (production by Kirill Serebrennikov).

An incredibly charming performer and a bright and warm-hearted and generous man, Viktor Mikhailovich Chernomortsev will remain in the hearts and minds of his students, colleagues and fans of opera.

We mourn together with his family.

May he rest in peace.

Details of the date and place of the funeral are to be announced.

The candidates for this prestigious award, presented by Great Britain’s Critics’ Circle, include Diana Vishneva, Kristina Shapran and Xander Parish

The candidates for this prestigious award, presented by Great Britain’s Critics’ Circle, include Diana Vishneva, Kristina Shapran and Xander Parish.

Diana Vishneva has been nominated for the award as “Best Female Dancer”. Following the Mariinsky Ballet’s tour to London in August this year, Kristina Shapran and Xander Parish have been forwarded in the category “Outstanding Performance (Classical)”. British critics praised their interpretation of lead roles in George Balanchine’s ballet Apollo.

Great Britain’s Critics’ Circle is the world’s oldest professional critics’ organisation for drama, dance, film, music and the visual arts. The Critics’ Circle is over one hundred years old, and it comprises journalists who cover events in the arts world in the United Kingdom. This annual national award for dance has existed since 2000. Today, the finest dancers, choreographers and companies with classical and contemporary repertoires are selected at the close of each season by more than fifty professional critics who write about classical ballet and dance. The shortlist of this – the fifteenth – prize was compiled from four hundred candidates and, according to Graham Watts (Chairman of the Dance Section in the Critics’ Circle), includes dancers who “represent the elite of the last year.”
The winners of the National Dance Awards of Britain’s Critics’ Circle will be announced on 26 January 2015.

In Great Britain from 2 to 9 November there will be a major tour by artistes of the Mariinsky Opera, Chorus and Orchestra under the baton of Valery Gergiev

In Great Britain from 2 to 9 November there will be a major tour by artistes of the Mariinsky Opera, Chorus and Orchestra under the baton of Valery Gergiev.

On Sunday 2 November at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff there will be a performance of Sergei Prokofiev’s opera Betrothal in a Monastery. The main roles will be performed by leading Mariinsky Opera soloists Larisa Diadkova (the Duenna), Anastasia Kalagina (Louisa), Yulia Matochkina (Clara), Yevgeny Akimov (Don Jerome), Dmitry Voropaev (Don Antonio), Vladimir Moroz (Don Ferdinand) and Sergei Aleksashkin (Mendoza); maestro Gergiev will be conducting. The performance of Prokofiev’s opera will be the highlight of triumphant celebrations marking ten years since the Wales Millennium Centre opened. The concert will also mark the conclusion of a contract on a six-year extension of cultural collaboration between this concert venue and the Mariinsky Theatre (the contact having been signed in 2007).

On Monday 3 and Tuesday 4 November there will be important performances by the Mariinsky Theatre under Valery Gergiev at the concert hall of the Barbican Centre in London. In the British capital the Mariinsky will be performing Russian operatic masterpieces of the 19th and 21st centuries. The playbill for the first evening features a concert performance of Modest Musorgsky’s opera Boris Godunov (1869 version) with lead Mariinsky Opera soloists Alexei Markov (Andrei Shchelkalov), Mikhail Petrenko (Pimen), Yevgeny Akimov (Shuisky) and Andrei Popov (the Simpleton). The title role will be performed by Bolshoi Theatre soloist Mikhail Kazakov.

On the second evening there will be a concert performance of Rodion Shchedrin’s opera The Lefthander. This will be the British and, indeed, European premiere, of the work, written by the composer in 2013 following a commission from the Mariinsky Theatre to mark the opening of the new theatre (the Mariinsky-II) and which is dedicated to maestro Gergiev. The lead roles are to be performed by Andrei Popov (the Lefthander), Edward Tsanga (Ataman Platov), Vladimir Moroz (Alexander I, Nicholas I), Kristina Alieva (the Flea), Maria Maksakova (Princess Charlotte) and Andrei Spekhov (a British Under-Skipper).

One key event of the British tour comes with four evening performances (5, 6, 8 and 9 November at the Birmingham Hippodrome of Richard Wagner’s tetralogy Der Ring des Nibelungen in a stage version developed from a concept by Valery Gergiev and George Tsypin. This will be the third performance of the Mariinsky’s Ring in Great Britain – the famous opera cycle was performed in Cardiff in November-December 2006 and in London in July-August 2009. Top Mariinsky Opera soloists and internationally acclaimed Wagnerian singers have been engaged for the performance of the composer’s tetralogy, among them as Wotan – Willard White (Das Rheingold), Vitaly Kovalyov (Die Walküre) and Vladimir Felyauer (Siegfried); as Fricka – Ekaterina Gubanova (Das Rheingold); as Alberich – Nikolai Putilin (Das Rheingold) and Edem Umerov (Siegfried, Götterdämmerung); as Sieglinde – Mlada Khudoley (Siegfried); as Siegfried – Mikhail Vekua (Siegfried) and Andreas Schager (Götterdämmerung); as Brünnhilde – Olga Savova (Die Walküre), Olga Sergeyeva (Siegfried) and Larisa Gogolevskaya (Götterdämmerung); as Loge – Mikhail Vekua (Das Rheingold); as Fasolt (Das Rheingold), Hunding and Fafner (Siegfried) and Hagen (Götterdämmerung) – Mikhail Petrenko; as Mime – Andrei Popov; as Erda – Zlata Bulycheva; and as Freia and the Waldvogel – Anastasia Kalagina. Valery Gergiev will be conducting. Moreover, on 8 November before the performance of Siegfried there will be an autograph session – maestro Gergiev will be signing discs released on the Mariinsky label for members of the audience. http://www.birminghamhippodrome.com/whatson_focus.asp?showid=1817

On Friday 7 November at Birmingham Town Hall there will be a concert by the Mariinsky Stradivarius Ensemble conducted by Valery Gergiev. The programme includes Edward Elgar’s Introduction and Allegro for strings, Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings and Richard Strauss’ Metamorphosen. 

Other highlights of the UK tour include three a cappella concerts by the Mariinsky Chorus under the baton of Principal Chorus Master Andrei Petrenko. On Wednesday 5 November at the Milton Court Concert Hall in London there will be a performance of Valery Gavrilin’s symphonic tableau Chimes, spiritual works by the Russian composers Dmitry Bortnyansky, Pyotr Tchaikovsky, Modest Musorgsky, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Alexander Arkhangelsky and Igor Stravinsky and choral arrangements of Russian folk songs and romances. On Thursday 6 November at Llandaff Cathedral and on Saturday 8 November at Birmingham Town Hall the musicians will perform Sergei Rachmaninoff’s All-Night Vigil – an absolute masterpiece of Russian spiritual music.

These events will be the Mariinsky Theatre’s final performances in Great Britain for 2014, declared as a Year of Cultural Exchange between Great Britain and Russia. In August at the prestigious Edinburgh International Festival, the Mariinsky Opera, Chorus and Orchestra under the baton of Valery Gergiev presented Hector Berlioz’ epic opera duologue Les Troyens. In July and August the Mariinsky Ballet and Orchestra undertook a major three-week tour to the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, in London. Eight ballets were performed – Romeo and Juliet, Swan Lake, Apollo, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Firebird, Marguerite and Armand, Concerto DSCH and Cinderella. In February and March musicians of the Mariinsky Brass Ensemble and Wind Quintet gave concerts at the Milton Court Concert Hall in London and master-classes at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff. That same season, in November 2013 at Milton Court – which had opened one month before – the Mariinsky Stradivarius Ensemble performed under the baton of Valery Gergiev.
Maestro Gergiev, an ambassador for Russian culture throughout the world, has been Principal Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra since 2007. In this post, he frequently conducts the orchestra’s concerts at its London residence – the concert hall of the Barbican Centre. Last season saw the focus fall on the musical legacies of Berlioz, Scriabin and Messiaen, while this season the London Symphony Orchestra and Valery Gergiev will be presenting works by Russian composers – Tchaikovsky, Balakirev, Glazunov, Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev, Shostakovich and Tishchenko. Many of the concerts will feature the acclaimed Russian pianist Denis Matsuev. This concert series opened in September; the next concerts will take place on 11 and 13 November following the end of the forthcoming UK tour by the Mariinsky Theatre. The programme includes Mily Balakirev’s symphonic poem Russia and Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto and Third Symphony.

Other noteworthy appearances in Great Britain this year by Valery Gergiev include two July concerts at the Royal Albert Hall in London as part of the famous promenade concerts of the 120th BBC Proms music festival. At one of the concerts maestro Gergiev conducted the London Symphony Orchestra together with Mariinsky Opera soloists. The other concert took place under the aegis of UNESCO and marked one century since the outbreak of World War I. That concert saw an appearance by the World Orchestra for Peace – a unique ensemble made up of musicians of the best orchestras from countries throughout the world, many of whom are concert masters and leaders of sections in their own orchestras. Five musicians from the Mariinsky Orchestra performed with the ensemble.