On 26 September the Mariinsky Theatre opens once more. The ballet season commences with Swan Lake at the historic theatre. The first opera on the playbill will be Il trovatore, to be conducted at the new theatre the same evening by maestro Valery Gergiev.
The title of the ballet Swan Lake, arguably the most popular in the entire international repertoire, has for many become a synonym for the very concept of “classical ballet”. The masterful choreographic reading of Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s score was created at the Mariinsky Theatre, and so despite the enormous variety of contemporary productions of Swan Lake that are based on the choreography of Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov it is the Mariinsky Theatre’s version that is considered stylistically closest to the original. Over the almost one hundred and twenty years of this ballet’s history much has changed – individual scenes and dances have been restaged, though the “spirit” of Petipa and Ivanov continues to exist in the production; the recommendations of the creators of the imagery in this masterpiece are passed on from one generation of dancers to the next, and in the eyes of the whole world Swan Lake remains the Mariinsky Ballet’s “calling card”.
The lead roles in the first performance of the season will be danced by Oxana Skorik and Yevgeny Ivanchenko. Oxana Skorik was recently entrusted with the opening of the company’s recent series of performances of Swan Lake on tour in London. British critics bestowed high praise on the dancer’s striking characteristics and potential. The Telegraph, noting that Skorik was “a feline beauty whose spine is apparently made of plasticine,” went on to state that she is “genuinely, spectacularly sexy, and for once it is easy to understand just why Siegfried becomes such a sap in her presence.” Yevgeny Ivanchenko, who will be appearing in the role of Siegfried, is one of the company’s most experienced and reliable partners. In any performance he invariably displays a purity of dance form in the finest traditions of the Petersburg school.
Also on the evening of 26 September the Mariinsky-II will be hosting a performance of Giuseppe Verdi’s opera Il trovatore, which along with La traviata and Rigoletto forms the acclaimed Verdian “operatic triad” that bears the seal of the mature composer’s genius and which brought him international renown in the 1850s.
The main conflict in the opera lies in the rivalry between two brothers concerning their love for the Duchess Leonora and their battle for power. Manrico the troubadour leads a resistance movement against the Conte di Luna while being unaware of his kinship to him; di Luna orders the imprisoned Manrico be put to death, and only after his execution does he discover from the half-insane gypsy woman Azucena the terrible secret: he has murdered his own brother.
The production is a classical one – “I have been witness to numerous stage directors’ experiments, but they should never become a system. You don’t have to dress singers in everyday costumes, there’s no sense in putting a television or a bowl of soup in front of a singer to heat in a microwave oven. Opera should soar, not be buried in the ground” (Pier Luigi Pizzi).
In the words of the famed tenor Enrico Caruso “little is required for a successful production of Il trovatore – just four first-class soloists is all it needs.” The performance on 26 September will see Mariinsky Opera stars mezzo-soprano Ekaterina Semenchuk (Azucena), soprano Tatiana Serjan (Leonora) and baritone Alexei Markov (the Conte di Luna) as well as guest soloist tenor Hovhannes Ayvazyan (Manrico) take to the stage. Maestro Valery Gergiev will be conducting.
On 23 September 2014 following the tremendous success of the July online broadcast of the Mariinsky Theatre’s ballet La Bayadère to cinemas in Europe, Cineworld will be broadcasting a recording of the ballet to cinemas in the United Kingdom.
The lead roles are performed by Viktoria Tereshkina (Nikia), Anastasia Matvienko (Gamzatti) and Vladimir Shklyarov (Solor).
For a list of participating cinemas and to book tickets please go to: www.mariinskyonscreen.com
The Mariinsky Theatre opens its new 232nd season on 26 September. Tickets may now be purchased for performances and concerts in September, October and November on the theatre’s website and in box-offices.
Please note that from 16 September Mariinsky Theatre box-offices will be open as per standard working hours.
On Sunday 14 September the Mariinsky Orchestra under the baton of Valery Gergiev will be performing in Rotterdam (The Netherlands)
On Sunday 14 September the Mariinsky Orchestra under the baton of Valery Gergiev will be performing in Rotterdam (The Netherlands). The concert programme includes Danza ritual del fuego from Manuel de Falla’s ballet El amor brujo, the Symphonic Fantasy on themes from Richard Strauss’ opera Die Frau ohne Schatten, three highlights from Alban Berg’s opera Wozzeck (with soloist Angela Denoke), Anatoly Lyadov’s symphonic tableau From the Apocalypse and Dmitry Shostakovich’s Twelfth Symphony (The Year of 1917).
The concert will take place as part of the XIX Rotterdam Philharmonic Gergiev Music Festival. This year the festival runs from 12 to 14 September and commemorates one century since the start of the First World War. In accordance with the commemorative dedication, each of the three days of the festival has its own thematic heading: The Western Front (12 September), The Eastern Front (13 September) and Revolution (14 September). Aside from his appearance with the Mariinsky Orchestra, Valery Gergiev will be conducting two concerts with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra; these concerts are to feature works by Edward Elgar, Maurice Ravel, Béla Bartók, Sergei Prokofiev, Leoš Janáček and Nikolai Myaskovsky which were composed either shortly before the outbreak of or during WW I.
From 1995 to 2008 Valery Gergiev was Principal Conductor of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, and in 1996 – together with the ensemble – he founded the Rotterdam Music Festival.
For the festival’s official site please go to: www.gergievfestival.nl.
The Mariinsky Orchestra’s tour of Europe continues. On 31 August the orchestra will be performing under the baton of Valery Gergiev at the Lucerne Festival (Switzerland)
The Mariinsky Orchestra’s performance at the Lucerne Festival will take place at the KKL Culture and Congress Centre on the shore of Lake Lucerne which was built in 2000 by the architect Jean Nouvel. The concert hall, which has 1800 seats, forms part of the contemporary Lucerne Culture and Congress Centre.
Under the baton of Valery Gergiev the Mariinsky Orchestra will perform the Prelude to Act I of Richard Wagner’s opera Lohengrin, Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s Sixth Symphony and Frédéric Chopin’s Second Piano Concerto. The soloist will be Daniil Trifonov.
The summer festival, which was founded in 1938 as a series of concerts that were conducted by the legendary Italian maestro Arturo Toscanini in the gardens opposite Richard Wagner’s villa in the Swiss village of Tribschen on the shore of Vierwaldstättersee (Lake Lucerne), has become one of the largest in the world, featuring performances by renowned orchestras, conductors and soloists.
The leading Mariinsky Opera soloist has received Germany’s most prestigious award for the album Verdi
The leading Mariinsky Opera soloist has received Germany’s most prestigious award for the album Verdi.
The 2014 results for the ECHO Klassik award, Germany’s most prestigious classical music prize, have been announced. The federal association of Germany’s music industry has revealed the names of a total of forty-five winners in twenty-two categories. Russian soprano Anna Netrebko has been named the winner of the category “Singer of the Year” for her most recent album Verdi, released on the Deutsche Grammophon label.
This year the ECHO Klassik classical music award is being presented for the twenty-first time. As the union’s director Florian Drücke commented, its founders from the federal association of the German music industry reward German and international stars of classical music as well as young, talented and promising performers for their “tireless striving for musical perfection”. Anna Netrebko has already received several ECHO Klassik awards; the singer has also received two nominations for a Grammy, the prestigious Bambi prize, the title of “Musician of the Year” from Musical America magazine and the titles of “Singer of the Year” and “Female Artist of the Year” in Great Britain (Classic BRIT Awards).
Yannis Kokkos’ production of Hector Berlioz’ monumental operatic duologue Les Troyens conducted by Valery Gergiev will be performed three times at the Edinburgh International Festival
Mariinsky Opera soloists and the Chorus and Orchestra under the baton of Valery Gergiev will be taking part in the annual Edinburgh International Festival (Great Britain). The tour is being held as part of the UK-Russia Year of Culture 2014 exchange programme with the support of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation.
At the festival the Mariinsky Opera will be presenting Hector Berlioz’ monumental duologue Les Troyens, the premiere of which opened the XXII Stars of the White Nights festival. The production is by French theatre and opera director Yannis Kokkos. The conductor is Valery Gergiev.
On 28 and 30 August the lead roles will be performed by Sergei Semishkur (Énée), Ekaterina Gubanova (Cassandre), Ekaterina Semenchuk (Didon) and Alexei Markov (Chorèbe). On 29 August the opera will feature a different cast including Mlada Khudoley as Cassandre, Yulia Matochkina as Didon and Vladislav Sulimsky as Chorèbe. For all three performances the role of Narbal will be performed by Yuri Vorobiev.
Maestro Gergiev and the opera company first performed at the festival in 1991. Ever since then, the Mariinsky Theatre has been a regular guest at this major international arts forum. Since 2011 Valery Gergiev has been Honorary President of the Edinburgh International Festival.
The Edinburgh Festival, one of the greatest arts festivals in the world, is held each year in Scotland’s capital city. The festival was established in 1947 following World War II in an attempt to breathe new life into the arts. The festival’s playbill features concerts of symphony and chamber music, operas, plays and dance shows. Each year performing arts companies from throughout the world come to Edinburgh, with the festival itself being attended by over two million visitors.
Highlights of the 231st season may be found in the summary press-release
Results of the season in figures:
• 50 weeks was the length of the 231st season over the course of 2013-14
• 3 venues: the Mariinsky Theatre, the Mariinsky-II and the Concert Hall. 4 chamber venues at the Mariinsky-II
• 1036 concerts and ballet and opera performances as well as events in chamber venues at the Mariinsky-II
• 9 premieres: 5 operas and 4 ballets, one of which was an evening of four one-act ballets by Hans van Manen
• 6 festivals in St Petersburg plus the XIII Moscow Easter Festival, taking in 56 Russian towns and cities from Kaliningrad to Vladivostok
• 18230 school pupils from 25 Russian regions, including the Far East, attended the Mariinsky Theatre as part of the programme The Mariinsky Theatre – the Soul of St Petersburg
• 13079 year-ten pupils from St Petersburg schools took part in the educational project A Theatre Lesson at the Mariinsky
Premieres of the 231st season. The first operatic premiere of the outgoing season was a premiere of a new stage version of Giuseppe Verdi’s opera Otello (Stage Director – Vasily Barkhatov). At the very end of December 2013 came a premiere of Verdi’s opera Il trovatore (Stage Director – Pierre Luigi Pizzi) in which the lead female roles were sung by Anna Netrebko and Ekaterina Semenchuk. Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin was a co-production with the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing (Stage Director – Alexei Stepanyuk), and following the St Petersburg premiere the production was staged in Beijing with two casts – Russian and Chinese – while during the Stars of the White Nights festival soloists of the Beijing Opera took part in a performance at the Mariinsky-II. A production of Hector Berlioz’ grandiose operatic duologue Les Troyens was mounted by stage director and production designer Yannis Kokkos. The influence of Les Troyens was felt almost throughout the entire 231st season – in October there was a concert performance of the opera in Vienna, in May it was staged at the Mariinsky-II and, in late August, the Mariinsky Theatre will be presenting this production under the baton of Valery Gergiev at the acclaimed Edinburgh International Festival. Sergei Prokofiev’s operatic epic War and Peace was staged by director Graham Vick and drew a huge response from critics and the public. This production has been seen by hundreds of thousands in towns and cities throughout Europe thanks to live broadcasts of a performance to cinemas.
Ballet premieres of the season: Infra with choreography by Wayne McGregor; the full-length ballet Sylvia by Frederick Ashton, staged during the MARIINSKY international ballet festival; his one-act romantic ballet Marguerite and Armand, premiered during the XXII Stars of the White Nights festival, was also performed in the choreographer’s native land – in the UK during a tour by the Mariinsky Ballet to the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; and, lastly, another premiere at the Stars – an evening of four one-act ballets by Hans van Manen, coached in St Petersburg by the choreographer himself.
Significant events of the season – a concert featuring the thousand-member Children’s Chorus of Russia: on 7 January at the Mariinsky-II children from all eighty-three Russian regions comprising the Children’s Chorus of Russia performed with the Mariinsky Orchestra under Valery Gergiev. This event was broadcast throughout Russia by Kultura TV. In February the maestro conducted the chorus at the closing ceremony of the Sochi Olympic Games. The establishment of the Children’s Chorus of Russia is a major project of the All-Russian Choral Society which was established on the initiative of Valery Gergiev. This action by the maestro met with a hearty response in many towns throughout Russia, with numerous children’s choruses being set up today, several of which have already performed with the Mariinsky Orchestra under the baton of Valery Gergiev at concerts during the XIII Moscow Easter Festival.
Other no less significant events included a major concert by the Russo-Chinese Youth Orchestra under the baton of maestro Gergiev which opened a programme of years of youth exchange between China and Russia; a live broadcast to major European cinemas of one of the finest ballets in the theatre’s classical repertoire – Ludwig Minkus’ ballet La Bayadère with Viktoria Tereshkina and Vladimir Shklyarov in the lead roles; and the premiere of a new production of Sergei Prokofiev’s opera War and Peace in collaboration with Telmondis and More2Screen.
Festivals. The Mariinsky Theatre ran the I Organ Festival at the Concert Hall, featuring appearances by the greatest organists from Europe. The already traditional Mariinsky Theatre festivals were held – two rounds of the International Piano Festival at the Mariinsky-II and the Concert Hall, the first featuring an audience vote for the first time as well as the presentation of an “audience favourite” award to young pianist Behzod Abduraimov; the Maslenitsa festival; the MARIINSKY ballet festival, which this year ran the second Creative Workshop of Young Choreographers that allows the results of young choreographers’ artistic searches to be presented to audiences and new names to be discovered; and, finally, the XXII Stars of the White Nights international festival. The festival ran at all three of the theatre’s buildings – the historic theatre, the Mariinsky-II and the Concert Hall. For the first time, the programme featured concerts and lectures at the chamber venues of the Mariinsky-II – the Stravinsky Foyer, Shchedrin Hall, the Prokofiev Hall and the Musorgsky Hall. During this major music festival lasting sixty-five days – from 28 May to 31 July – there were over two hundred opera and ballet performances, eighty chamber and symphony music concerts featuring guest artists and soloists of the Mariinsky Opera, Ballet, Chorus and Orchestra. In advance of the XV International Tchaikovsky Competition, to be held in 2015, the festival playbill listed some of the finest musicians in the world, among them Denis Matsuev, Alexei Volodin, Christian Blackshaw, Daniil Trifonov, Boris Berezovsky, Rudolf Buchbinder, Mario Brunello, David Geringas, Janine Jansen, Leonidas Kavakos, Behzod Abduraimov and, of course, such stars of the Mariinsky Opera as Olga Borodina, Yevgeny Nikitin, Alexei Markov, Mikhail Petrenko, Ekaterina Semenchuk, Sergei Semishkur and Sergei Skorokhodov in addition to guest soloists including Ferruccio Furlanetto, Ekaterina Gubanova, Liudmyla Monastyrska, Marcelo Álvarez, Oksana Dyka, Maria Agresta, Daniela Barcellona, Fabio Sartori, Michele Pertusi, Maria Guleghina and Anita Rachvelishvili among others.
Yet another major project – the XIII Moscow Easter Festival – this year covered the whole of Russia, with programmes of symphony, choral, chamber and bell-ringing music performed in fifty-six towns and cities. The Mariinsky Orchestra, Brass Ensemble and Stradivarius Ensemble under Valery Gergiev and the theatre’s Wind Quintet performed over twenty-six days in twenty-six towns from Kaliningrad to Vladivostok and from Volgograd to Severomorsk. The regional programmes featured appearances by world-renowned performers including Pinchas Zukerman, Nelson Freire, Denis Matsuev, Daniil Trifonov and Amanda Forsythe in addition to younger soloists who represent the future of Russian music.
There were also several monograph festivals – one marking a century since the birth of Benjamin Britten, a second marking one hundred and seventy-five years since the birth of Modest Musorgsky and yet another commemorating two centuries since the birth of Giuseppe Verdi.
Over the course of the season the chamber venues of the Mariinsky-II began to function, each of them named after an outstanding Russian composer – Musorgsky, Prokofiev, Stravinsky and Shchedrin. These halls hosted the programme Music Hour, a series of concerts organised by the Academy of Young Opera Singers and lectures – a total of 103 events.
The Mariinsky theatre has become a major cultural and educational centre. In the 231st theatre season we began a series of educational programmes for children and young people from three to student age. Together with the children’s reading centre Piccolo the Mariinsky Theatre presented a series of chamber concerts and lessons entitled Musical Instruments in the Magical Land of Piccolo for children between the ages of three and six. For the youngest school pupils there was a series of interactive fairy-tale concerts and lessons entitled Music Told in Tales of Sand. For young pupils we continued the Young Theatre Goers’ Academy subscription which lasts two years. Pupils at middle school had the opportunity to attend the series of lectures and concerts Bead-Play: Inside Music and beyond Its Confines given by famous music historians, theatre historians and composers from St Petersburg. As part of the federally supported culture and education programme The Mariinsky Theatre – the Soul of St Petersburg the theatre was visited by 18230 pupils from twenty-five Russian regions including the Far East. A Theatre Lesson at the Mariinsky is a project, unique in terms of its scale, which was organised by the theatre with support from the City Government of St Petersburg and is targeted at year-ten pupils at all city and suburban schools; between January and May the project involved 13079 senior pupils. The theatre has begun to work actively with adult audiences, offering lecture programmes in the form of A Sunday Foreword – weekly lectures prior to the start of a performance or a concert at the Mariinsky-II that focus on adult musicians and performers of the Mariinsky Theatre.
Tours. Over the course of the 2013-14 season the Mariinsky Opera, Ballet, Chorus and Orchestra toured to twenty countries, with the theatre’s performances being seen by audiences in some forty towns outside Russia and fifty-six towns in Russia. An extremely important tour for the opera company included a performance of Berlioz’ Les Troyens at the Edinburgh Festival in late August, while the most important tour for the ballet company took them to London for a three-week season including twenty-one performances.
This season the Mariinsky label celebrated five years since its launch, releasing an anniversary compilation of highlights from its best recordings. The founding date of the label is considered to be the day the first audio recording went on sale – Dmitry Shostakovich’s opera The Nose performed by Mariinsky Opera soloists and the Chorus and Orchestra under the baton of Valery Gergiev. The last five years have seen the release of twenty-five discs (twenty audio and five video recordings). Recordings are issued in the contemporary formats SACD (audio) and DVD and Blu-ray (video) and include booklets containing information about the works and their performers. All audio recordings are also available in digital format from the iTunes music shop. Since it was established five years ago the Mariinsky label has won numerous prestigious awards and lofty praise from respected critics and music publications. This season the label released two discs of symphonies by Dmitry Shostakovich – the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Eighth. There are two discs with Denis Matsuev – Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s First and Second Piano Concerti as well as Sergei Prokofiev’s Third Piano Concerto and Fifth Symphony. Wagner’s Ring cycle continues – an audio recording of Das Rheingold has been released. Available on DVD in Blu-ray format is Richard Strauss’ opera Die Frau ohne Schatten with Mlada Khudoley as the Empress and Avgust Amonov as the Emperor along with Edem Umerov (Barak) and Olga Sergeyeva (Barak’s Wife). This year a recording of Prokofiev’s opera The Gambler won an International Classical Music Award, a major classical music prize. A disc of Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s First and Second Piano Concerti, released in February this year, was named “Recording of the Month” by Great Britain’s respected Gramophone magazine. A recording of works by Prokofiev (Piano Concerto No 3 and Symphony No 5) was also named “Disc of the Month” by the UK music portal Classical CD Choice. The last release of the current season – a recording of Shostakovich’s Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Symphonies performed by the Mariinsky Orchestra under maestro Gergiev – received the prestigious Choc du mois award from Classica magazine.
The 2014-15 season opens on 26 September with a performance of the ballet Swan Lake at the Mariinsky Theatre and Giuseppe Verdi’s opera Il trovatore at the Mariinsky-II with Valery Gergiev conducting the Mariinsky Orchestra and a stellar cast including Tatiana Serjan, Ekaterina Semenchuk, Alexei Markov and Hovannes Ayvazyan. The season at the Concert Hall opens with a recital by Alexei Volodin on 27 September. On 29 September there will be a performance of Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem marking one century since the start of World War I. The soloists are Oksana Dyka, Alexander Timchenko and Vladislav Sulimsky along with the Mariinsky Chorus and Orchestra conducted by Valery Gergiev.
25 August sees the Mariinsky Orchestra under the baton of Valery Gergiev perform in Stockholm at the Baltic Sea Festival
25 August sees the Mariinsky Orchestra under the baton of Valery Gergiev perform in Stockholm at the Baltic Sea Festival. At the Berwaldhallen there will be a veritable marathon of works by Sergei Prokofiev; in the course of just one evening all five of his piano concerti will be performed. The soloists are to be musicians who regularly work with the Mariinsky Orchestra and maestro Gergiev – Olli Mustonen (First and Fifth Concerti), Alexei Volodin (Second and Fourth Concerti) and Behzod Abduraimov (Third Concerto). At the previous festival, Mariinsky Theatre musicians presented a marathon of concerti by Rodion Shchedrin.
The Baltic Sea Festival, founded in 2003 on a joint initiative of maestro Gergiev, Finnish conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen and Director of Stockholm’s Berwaldhallen concert hall Michael Tydén, is being held this summer for the twelfth time. In line with the organisers’ concept, the project’s cultural focus is combined with drawing attention to the state of the environment; the festival programme will see seminars, a symposium and various exhibitions dedicated to the ecology of the Baltic region. This year the Baltic Sea Festival runs from 22 to 30 August.
Maestro Gergiev will be conducting the Mariinsky Orchestra in two concerts at the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, an annual event since 1986 in the region of the same name in northern Germany which is one of the world’s greatest classical music forums
Maestro Gergiev will be conducting the Mariinsky Orchestra in two concerts at the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, an annual event since 1986 in the region of the same name in northern Germany which is one of the world’s greatest classical music forums. This year the festival runs from 5 July to 31 August. The festival was initiated by the German pianist and conductor Justus Frantz, whose intention was not only to organise a celebration of music for the people of Schleswig-Holstein but also to introduce foreign visitors at the festival to the beauty of this region of northern Germany. This is why festival events take place throughout the region, with concerts being held in castles, mansions, churches and even wharves, stables and airport terminals. In addition to concerts of classical music, audiences are offered literary and music programmes, jazz evenings and special events for children.
This year the Mariinsky and Valery Gergiev will be giving two performances at the festival – in Hamburg on 21 August and in Lübeck on 22 August. The concert programmes include Dmitry Shostakovich’s First Cello Concerto and symphonies by Johannes Brahms – the Fourth (in Hamburg) and the Third (in Lübeck). On both evenings the soloist will be Argentinean cellist Sol Gabetta, whose performances form a focal point of this year’s Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival (she is appearing in seventeen festival concerts).