27.11.2014
On 25, 26 and 27 December 2014 the Mariinsky-II will be hosting the premiere performances of a new production of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s opera The Golden Cockerel. In over a hundred years this is just the third production at the Petrograd-Leningrad-St Petersburg Theatre

On 25, 26 and 27 December 2014 the Mariinsky-II will be hosting the premiere performances of a new production of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s opera The Golden Cockerel. In over a hundred years this is just the third production at the Petrograd-Leningrad-St Petersburg Theatre.

The opera was premiered in 1909 in Moscow at the Sergei Zimin Private Russian Opera, and was only staged at the Mariinsky Theatre ten years later in 1919; it was a production in the traditions of Russian fairy-tale opera. More than eighty years later, in 2003 the Mariinsky Theatre together with the Théâtre du Châtelet of Paris presented a kabuki-style project by a Japanese production team as part of a revival of the Saisons russes.

The current production of The Golden Cockerel marks the opera debut of Anna Matison, a playwright, script-writer, film director and producer. In this production she will be appearing as Stage Director and Production and Costume Designer. “In selecting the genre of the fairy-tale,” the stage director says, “I do not intend to experiment with it as a genre. It is a family story: for children it is a merry and vivid tale; for parents it is a wise parable.” The melodious nature, beauty and leitmotifs of the plot will be underscored by the production designs; the opera will use pantomime and masquerades, while the sets will use 3D format video projections.

26.11.2014
We are sad to announce the death of former ballet company soloist (1959-1982) Yevgeny Vasilievich Shcherbakov on 23 November at the age of seventy-four following a serious illness

We are sad to announce the death of former ballet company soloist (1959-1982) Yevgeny Vasilievich Shcherbakov on 23 November at the age of seventy-four following a serious illness.

Yevgeny Shcherbakov’s entire stage career was linked with the Kirov Theatre. Joining the company following his graduation from the Leningrad Vaganova School of Dance in 1959, Yevgeny Vasilievich Shcherbakov featured in numerous ballets that were created in the 1960s-70s. He danced in Leonid Yakobson’s ballets Twelve, The Bedbug, Land of Miracles and Choreographic Miniatures (The Dream), and he performed lead roles in Shurale (Ali-Batyr) and Spartacus (Spartacus). Yevgeny Shcherbakov’s repertoire also included lead roles in Yuri Grigorovich’s The Stone Flower (Danila) and The Legend of Love (Ferkhad), Igor Belsky’s Leningrad Symphony (the Youth) and Natalia Kasatkina and Vladimir Vasiliev’s Creation of the World (Archangel, God). In addition to roles in contemporary ballets at that time, Shcherbakov remained in audiences’ minds as the noble Jean de Brienne in the classical Raymonda. Having ended his career as a performer, Yevgeny Shcherbakov dedicated his life to coaching; he worked at the theatre in Ufa and with Boris Eifman’s company, while from 1990 to the start of the 21st century he passed on his rich experience and the traditions of the Leningrad school to the next generation of artists, teaching at the  Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet.

Yevgeny Shcherbakov’s funeral service and burial will take place on 26 November at 12:00 in the church at Smolensk Cemetery.

24.11.2014
We are deeply saddened to relate that Alla Ivanovna Sizova, a brilliant Kirov Theatre ballerina and People’s Artist of the  USSR, has died at the  age of seventy-five

We are deeply saddened to relate that Alla Ivanovna Sizova, a brilliant Kirov Theatre ballerina and People’s Artist of the USSR, has died at the age of seventy-five.

Alla Ivanovna Sizova joined the Kirov Ballet in 1958, though she made her debut on the fabled stage somewhat earlier. While still a student at Leningrad’s Vaganova School of Dance she had enchanted audiences with the fantastic flight of her dance when she appeared as the Queen of the Dryads in Don Quixote. Following Sizova’s graduation performance, Leningrad critics – the n spoiled for choice with the performances of an entire galaxy of star dancers – delightedly wrote that “The beauty of lines and precision of the dance forms, the lightness and extent of the leaps resulted in applause rarely heard, even at the Kirov Theatre.” At the the atre, the career of Alla Sizova, beautifully trained by Natalia Kamkova and with her own generous natural talent, took off impetuously. In the space of three seasons she had learned fourteen major roles, and the culmination of her first years was to appear as Aurora in the ballet The Sleeping Beauty. The technical perfection of her dance, its refinement and lightness as well as the ballerina’s ability to take joy in every movement, enchanting the audience with her joie de vivre, made Sizova one of the leaders of ballet in the 1960s-1970s. Captivating in its sincerity and intimacy, Alla Sizova’s dance with her airy leaps of rare beauty revealed fresh colours in such familiar roles as Giselle, Cinderella, Juliet, Maria in The Fountain of Bakhchisarai, Katerina in The Stone Flower, Masha in The Nutcracker, Kitri in Don Quixote. Sizova’s staggering individuality combined with the dancer’s capacity and adaptability in lyrical roles also adorned numerous contemporary productions from those years; Alla Sizova brought the image of Ophelia to life in Konstantin Sergeyev’s Hamlet, she was involved in the creation of Igor Belsky’s Leningrad Symphony, and the search for new expressive means came for the ballerina in ballets by Oleg Vinogradov – as Princess Rose in The Enchanted Prince and as the Fairy of the Rond Mountains in the eponymous ballet. Throughout her performing career and subsequently as a teacher and coach Alla Sizova truly worshipped the classicism of the Leningrad school as the embodiment of musicality, the virtuoso dazzle of the phrasing of movements and the conveyance of plastique nuances. Impressions of her inspired dance which emanated joy, always filled with immediate emotion, to this day remain in the hearts of those who saw her. And in the hearts of her friends and colleagues the re will forever remain the light that Alla Sizova brought the m – in life as well as on the stage.

22.11.2014

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...

20.11.2014
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

19.11.2014

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.

13.11.2014
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.

11.11.2014
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.

10.11.2014

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

06.11.2014

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

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