26.05.2015

On 27 May a premiere of The Queen of Spades opens the XXIII Stars of the White Nights festival, to be held under the aegis of Tchaikovsky marking one hundred and seventy-five years since the great Russian composer’s birth.

On 27 May a premiere of The Queen of Spades opens the XXIII Stars of the White Nights festival, to be held under the aegis of Tchaikovsky marking one hundred and seventy-five years since the great Russian composer’s birth.

This will be the one-thousand-three-hundred-and-fourth performance at the Mariinsky Theatre. The opera’s world premiere took place on 7 (19, Old Style) December 1890 and was conducted by Eduard Nápravník.

The opera was created for the Mariinsky Theatre on the initiative of the Director of the Imperial Theatres Ivan Alexandrovich Vsevolozhsky. The libretto was written by Modest Ilyich Tchaikovsky. The composer began work on The Queen of Spades in Florence in the winter of 1890 and completed his clavier score of the opera in a fantastically short period – just forty-four days.
“I wrote the opera with self-abandonment and enjoyment...” Tchaikovsky wrote to his brother, “either I am terribly and unforgivably wrong or The Queen of Spades is truly my chef-d’oeuvre. In some parts – for example the fourth scene – I feel such fear, horror and amazement that is it impossible for the audience not to feel the same things, albeit partially.”
The Queen of Spades is the most typical of St Petersburg among Tchaikovsky’s works; the plot unfolds in the Summer Garden, along the Winter Palace Canal, at the home of the Countess on Malaya Morskaya Street, on public squares of the city and in army barracks. The characters and the mood are also typical of St Petersburg. The Queen of Spades drew Alexander Blok and Mikhail Kuzmin among other poets of the early 20th century. Alexandre Benois was so inspired by Tchaikovsky’s work that he linked this opus with the very concept of the World of Art movement. Coming to work in the State Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet (as the Mariinsky Theatre was then called) in 1921, he immediately staged The Queen of Spades, both directing and designing the production.

The Queen of Spades remains one of the most popular repertoire pieces. Stars from each and every generation – Nikolai and Medea Figner, Maria Slavina, Sofia Preobrazhenskaya, Nikolai Pechkovsky, Yuri Marusin, Alexei Stablyanko, Vladimir Galuzin, Valentina Tsydshova, Galina Gorchakova, Irina Bogacheva, Larisa Diadkova and Sergei Leiferkus – have created unforgettable images as Liza, Hermann, the Countess and Tomsky.

Since it’s world premiere one hundred and twenty-five years ago, the opera has been staged six times at the Mariinsky Theatre. To this day the theatre performs the 1984 production – it’s Music and Stage Director was Yuri Temirkanov. The 1999 production enjoyed a brief but glittering life (Stage Director: Alexander Galibin; Music Director: Valery Gergiev).

Alexei Stepanyuk is working on the new production, having last season staged Eugene Onegin at the Mariinsky-II.
The stage director underlines the St Petersburg mood of The Queen of Spades: “Pyotr Tchaikovsky was writing about himself, about his life, about his fate, about his wish to be like everyone else and the right to be different. This opera is about the inscrutability of the soul, the inscrutability of the city in which we live. This story could only have taken place in St Petersburg, a city of white nights, a city of ghosts...”

Production team:
Stage Director: Alexei Stepanyuk; Production Designer: Alexander Orlov; Costume Designer: Irina Cherednikova; Lighting Designer Alexander Sivaev; Principal Chorus Master: Andrei Petrenko; Musical Preparation: Irina Soboleva; Choreographer: Ilya Ustyantsev; Musical Director and Conductor: Valery Gergiev.

Roles are being rehearsed by:
Herman: Maxim Aksenov, Mikhail Vekua
Count Tomsky: Roman Burdenko, Viktor Korotich, Edward Tsanga
Prince Eletsky: Vladislav Sulimsky, Vladimir Moroz, Alexander Kuznetsov
The Countess: Elena Vitman, Maria Maksakova, Olga Savova
Liza: Tatiana Pavlovskaya, Tatiana Serjan , Irina Churilova
Polina: Yekaterina Sergeyeva, Yekaterina Krapivina

16.05.2015

On Sunday 17 May on one of the British capital’s central squares there will be a grandiose open-air concert of works by Dmitry Shostakovich. This concert forms the culmination of a series of programmes dedicated to the music of Shostakovich performed by the London Symphony Orchestra under maestro Gergiev

On Sunday 17 May on one of the British capital’s central squares there will be a grandiose open-air concert of works by Dmitry Shostakovich. This concert forms the culmination of a series of programmes dedicated to the music of Shostakovich performed by the London Symphony Orchestra under maestro Gergiev.

Immediately after the conclusion of the XIV Moscow Easter Festival, unprecedented in its scale and the intensity of its events, Valery Gergiev departed for London to rehearse with the acclaimed British symphony orchestra, of which he was appointed Principal Conductor in 2004 following his triumphant performance of a series of Prokofiev’s symphonies. Over the past dozen years maestro Gergiev has conducted some three hundred orchestral concerts and featured in an entire series of recordings for the LSO Live label. On 12 May at the Barbican Hall, the London Symphony orchestra under Valery Gergiev performed works by Balakirev, Tchaikovsky and Shostakovich, while on 13 May he performed the First and Fifteenth Symphonies by Shostakovich at the Opera di Firenze.

This open-air concert on Trafalgar Square, a traditional venue for folk celebrations in the British capital, will take place on a specially constructed stage. The programme for the evening includes the First Symphony, the Festive Overture and highlights from the Jazz Suite and First Violin Concerto (solois – Nicola Benedetti) by Shostakovich. The monograph concerts with maestro Gergiev and the London Symphony Orchestra will continue into October this year at the Barbican and will be dedicated to Stravinsky and Bartók.

15.05.2015
The German company ArtHaus Musik has released a recording of all of Shostakovich’s symphonies and instrumental concerti featuring the Mariinsky Orchestra under the baton of Valery Gergiev. The recording features videos of eight concerts that took place at the Salle Pleyel in Paris in the 2013–2014 season

The German company ArtHaus Musik has released a recording of all of Shostakovich’s symphonies and instrumental concerti featuring the Mariinsky Orchestra under the baton of Valery Gergiev. The recording features videos of eight concerts that took place at the Salle Pleyel in Paris in the 2013–2014 season.

In addition to the Mariinsky Orchestra, the concerts saw the participation of cellists Mario Brunello (Cello Concerto No 2) and Gautier Capuçon (Cello Concerto No 1), pianists Denis Matsuev (Piano Concerto No 2) and Daniil Trifonov (Piano Concerto No 1), violinists Alena Bayeva (Violin Concerto No 2) and Vadim Repin (Violin Concerto No 1), soprano Veronika Dzhioeva (Symphony No 14), bass Mikhail Petrenko (Symphonies Nos 13 and 14) and the Mariinsky Chorus (Symphonies Nos 2, 3 and 13). The release also includes a documentary film about Shostakovich’s music and a collation of video interviews with maestro Gergiev in which he speaks about each of the fifteen symphonies and each of the six instrumental concerti. The disc box comes with annotations for the works. This project was brought about through the combined efforts of the Mariinsky Theatre, ArtHaus Musik, the Cité de la musique (which produces concerts at the Salle Pleyel), Mezzo TV and the companies Telmondis and AMPVISUALTV with the participation of French TV.

The works of Shostakovich occupy a special position in Valery Gergiev’s repertoire. Together with the Mariinsky Orchestra and other ensembles the maestro has presented the complete Shostakovich symphonies in Vienna, London, Munich, New York and St Petersburg; he has also conducted several of these symphonies individually at dozens of venues throughout the world. For several years the Mariinsky label has been running the All Shostakovich Symphonies project. Currently it has released recordings of Symphonies Nos 1–11 and 15, as well as Violin Concerto No 1 (with soloist Leonidas Kavakos) and Piano Concerti Nos 1 and 2 (with soloist Denis Matsuev). All of these recordings were produced at the Concert Hall of the Mariinsky Theatre

The video recording of the Paris cycle of Shostakovich’s symphonies and concerti is available on four discs in the format Blu-ray: http://vk.cc/3M8RFO or eight discs in DVD format: http://vk.cc/3M8RRZ. Both sets are also available at the theatre’s kiosks.

14.05.2015

On 14 May 2015 Varvara Nepomnyashchaya will make her first recital appearance at the Concert Hall of the Mariinsky Theatre

On 14 May 2015 Varvara Nepomnyashchaya will make her first recital appearance at the Concert Hall of the Mariinsky Theatre. The pianist has won awards at several international competitions. The most important, however, was the first prize at the XII International Geza Anda Competition in Zurich, which she won in 2012. This marked the impetuous development of her international career. Today Varvara (as she is known by foreign critics and audiences, leaving out her hard-to-pronounce surname) appears with various chamber and symphony orchestras and has performed in St Petersburg. This is her first recital, at which the pianist will perform a highly varied programme including works by Handel, Schumann, Medtner and Stravinsky.

There will be an on-line broadcast of the concert on Mariinsky Media: http://mariinsky.tv/

03.05.2015
The dazzling star of Maya Mikhailovna Plisetskaya, who for several generations of audiences throughout the world embodied the very essence of ballet, its refined beauty and majesty will now shine down from Heaven...

The dazzling star of Maya Mikhailovna Plisetskaya, who for several generations of audiences throughout the world embodied the very essence of ballet, its refined beauty and majesty will now shine down from Heaven...

A ballerina of rare talent, acting expressiveness, temperament and charisma, she received ovations at theatres throughout the world. As a dancer and as an actress, her absolute mastery made audiences empathise with her Odette in Swan Lake, and it was impossible to draw one’s eyes away from the breadth of her wings in The Dying Swan. And yet the legend of Plisetskaya’s personality was not just and not so much about roles in classical productions as much as it was about her thirst for new roles, new choreographers and new ballets. In the Soviet Union she managed to bring about the birth of her own Carmen in Carmen Suite staged by Alberto Alonso; as a ballerina of the Bolshoi Theatre she worked with Maurice Béjart and Roland Petit. Her intense stage career came to be seen as independence in art and proof that true art is above politics and knows no borders.

Maya Plisetskaya was a true friend of the Mariinsky Theatre – she always took a lively interest in the theatre’s everyday life and important events and was an honorary guest at numerous premieres.

The Mariinsky Theatre would like to express its condolences to the family and friends of Maya Plisetskaya. May she rest in peace...

30.04.2015
La Bayadère on 30 April will be danced in honour of Natalia Spitsyna, Honoured Artist of Russia.
Of the fifty years she has dedicated to her home theatre, she has been a teacher and coach for more than twenty-five, jealously guarding the style and performing traditions of the Leningrad school of dance in Mariinsky Theatre productions

Today not one performance of La Bayadère at the Mariinsky Theatre passes without the keen observation of Natalia Georgievna Spitsyna. Of the fifty years she has dedicated to her home theatre she has spent over twenty-five as a teacher and coach, jealously guarding the style and performing traditions of the Leningrad school of classical dance in Mariinsky Theatre productions.
A 1964 graduate of the Leningrad Vaganova School of Dance where she was trained by V. Mei, I. Trofimova and Y. Shiripina, Spitsyna flew onto the illustrious stage of the Kirov Theatre as the Street Dancer in Don Quixote – she had to learn the role in three rehearsals, for many years subsequently delighting audiences with her temperament and refined technique in this role. The Fairies in The Sleeping Beauty, La Bayadère, Swan Lake and Le Corsaire – Natalia Spitsyna danced the entire classical repertoire. Moreover, her artistic career saw numerous premieres and artistic collaborations with choreographers – working on productions by Konstantin Sergeyev, Leonid Yakobson, Igor Belsky and Oleg Vinogradov. Today Natalia Spitsyna’s rich onstage experience helps her train young performers. Thanks to her impeccable knowledge of choreographic texts and production styles, many ballets in the Mariinsky Theatre’s repertoire are now performed at theatres throughout the world – Natalia Spitsyna has set the Leningrad versions of La Bayadère, Swan Lake and Chopiniana at theatres in France, Italy, Japan, South Korea and Bulgaria. At the Mariinsky Theatre today Natalia Spitsyna works with the corps de ballet and the results of her labour are invariably highly praised by the public, generous applause rewarding the performers in the spectacular corps de ballet scenes.
La Bayadère on 30 April will be danced in her honour.

27.04.2015
On 3 May the performance of the ballet Shurale will be dedicated to the memory of Askold Makarov, People's Artist of the USSR

On 3 May the performance of the ballet Shurale will be dedicated to the memory of Askold Makarov, People's Artist of the USSR

Askold Makarov was a hero of Soviet ballet. A classical dancer on a heroic scale and of epic proportions, he created his characters with major “brushstrokes”, breadth of gesture and picture-like poses. When performed by this athletically-built dancer, his characters when static and in monumental sculpture-like poses were no less expressive than when he moved. And the roles Askold Makarov performed were invariably filled with the pathos of the positive hero.

Makarov danced the classics – his repertoire included Siegfried in Swan Lake, Solor in La Bayadère, Basilio in Don Quixote and Jean de Brienne in Raymonda, though the main events in his performing career were linked with new productions. Joining the Kirov Ballet after graduating from the Leningrad School of Dance in 1943, Askold Makarov found himself at the epicentre of the choreographic experiments of those years. The first performer of the roles Ostap in Fenster’s Taras Bulba, the Chinese worker Ma Lichen in Zakharov’s The Red Poppy, Danila in Grigorovich’s The Stone Flower and the Fisherman in Belsky’s Shore of Hope – Askold Makarov embodied in dance an entire plethora of heroic images and collaborated with many choreographers. And yet audiences associated him in their minds first and foremost as one of Leonid Yakobson’s dancers. The meeting of these two masters of their art was to change the destinies of both: the dancer had found a choreographer in whose productions he could display his artistic individuality, while the choreographer had found a dancer who was able fully to bring his vision to life. It was in working with Yakobson that Makarov created his finest roles – the stately bogatyr Ali Batyr in Shurale, the mighty Spartacus who seemed to have stepped down from some ancient Greek pedestal in the eponymous ballet and the imperious and expressive Mayakovsky in The Bedbug. Makarov, a natural in the choreography of the subtle stylist Yakobson, was for many generations the first and unforgettable performer of these roles. Following Askold Makarov’s example, dancers learned the secrets of performing skills, and he taught – Makarov worked at the faculty of choreography at the conservatoire and the Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet, and he also trained several generations of dancers for the Choreographic Miniatures company which he took over following Yakobson’s death.

3 May marks Askold Makarov’s birthday. The finest tribute that could be paid to him is the fact that the images he created are alive onstage today; the memory of his performance triumphs are retained not just in photographs and films of this inspired dancer – it remains alive in his ballets.

25.04.2015

To mark the anniversary of victory in WW II the Mariinsky Theatre website is exhibiting photographs and playbills from the Mariinsky Theatre Archive, performers’ family albums and the collection of the Central State Archive of Film and Photo Documents of St Petersburg

To mark the anniversary of victory in WW II the Mariinsky Theatre website is exhibiting photographs and playbills from the Mariinsky Theatre Archive, performers’ family albums and the collection of the Central State Archive of Film and Photo Documents of St Petersburg. There are comments about these items in the form of extracts from diaries, letters and memoirs of theatre staff, reactions from contemporaries and the dry lines of certain official decrees. The chronicle is split into five sections and will be published in several stages – the final series (1945) to be published on the website on the eve of festivities taking place on 9 May.

21.04.2015

On 21 April following a matinee charity concert by the Mariinsky Orchestra in Tomsk as part of the Moscow Easter Festival maestro Gergiev was awarded the title of Honorary Doctor of the Tomsk State University

On 21 April following a matinee charity concert by the Mariinsky Orchestra in Tomsk as part of the Moscow Easter Festival maestro Gergiev was awarded the title of Honorary Doctor of the Tomsk State University.

The performance in Tomsk marked the fourth visit by the Mariinsky Orchestra under Valery Gergiev to this city. This close cultural collaboration has been made possible thanks to an agreement signed in May 2014 between the Tomsk Region and the Mariinsky. In line with tradition, the musicians perform two concerts at most of the stops on the festival tour. The first – a matinee – is for charity and allows free entry to veterans of World War II, students of academic institutions and their teachers. The programme of the charity concert in Tomsk featured masterpieces of world symphony music Debussy’s Prélude à l’après-midi d'un faune and music from Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s ballet The Nutcracker as well as Brahms’ Second Piano Concerto with the outstanding Russian pianist Alexei Volodin. At the end of the performance Dean of the Tomsk State University Georgy Mayer awarded maestro Gergiev the Gold Medal and regalia as an Honorary Doctor of the university.

In the evening, at 19:00 at the Tomsk Philharmonic there will be another concert by the Mariinsky Orchestra under the baton of Valery Gergiev. The playbill for the evening performance includes Tchaikovsky’s Second Piano Concerto (soloist – Boris Berezovsky), the first movement of Shostakovich’s Seventh (Leningrad) Symphony and highlights from Stravinsky’s ballet The Firebird.

The musicians arrived in Tomsk on the Moscow Easter Festival’s chartered train from Omsk, where yesterday there were also two concerts; the next stop on this record tour in terms of its geography is Kemerovo.

17.04.2015

Barry Douglas, Valery Gergiev and musicians of the Mariinsky Orchestra performed in Votkinsk, Tchaikovsky’s home town

Barry Douglas, Valery Gergiev and musicians of the Mariinsky Orchestra performed in Votkinsk, Tchaikovsky’s home town.

On 16 April, the fifth day of the XIV Moscow Easter Festival, under the baton of Valery Gergiev the Mariinsky Orchestra performed at the Yubileiny House of Culture in Votkinsk, the town where Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky was born. There were performances of Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony and First Piano Concerto with piano soloist Barry Douglas, winner of the VIII International Tchaikovsky Competition (1986). After the concert Valery Gergiev, Barry Douglas and musicians of the Mariinsky Orchestra visited the house where Tchaikovsky was born which is today the composer’s House-Museum. The musicians then set out for Izhevsk, where at the Axion House of Culture they performed Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony and First Piano Concerto. From Izhevsk a special train set out for Perm, where there will be two concerts today.

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