Today, 30 March, maestro Gergiev will be conducting the Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala at the illustrious theatre in Milan, the ensemble’s home stage
Today, 30 March, maestro Gergiev will be conducting the Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala at the illustrious theatre in Milan, the ensemble’s home stage. The concert programme includes the introductions to Acts I and III of Richard Wagner’s opera Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Johannes Brahms’ Second Piano Concerto with Yefim Bronfman as the soloist and Alexander Scriabin’s Le Poème de l’extase.
Valery Gergiev regularly appears with the fabled Italian orchestra which has much in common with the Mariinsky Orchestra – both ensembles “emerged” from theatre orchestras. Developing on a new level thanks to their performances of symphony music, they began to appear in their own right in concerts and are currently among the most frequently touring orchestras in the world. In November 2010 the Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala awarded maestro Gergiev the title of Honorary Orchestra Member.
2–4 April will see the Russian maestro and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra present a series of programmes in The Netherlands under the common title of A Musical Firework with Valery Gergiev and Leonidas Kavakos. The internationally acclaimed Greek musician, who regularly collaborates with maestro Gergiev, will perform the solo in Dmitry Shostakovich’s First Violin Concerto at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam (2 April) and the De Doelen concert hall in Rotterdam (4 April). The symphony music part of the tour features masterpieces by Wagner including highlights from the operas Parsifal, Götterdämmerung and Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg.
Moreover, on 3 April in Amsterdam Valery Gergiev will run an open conducting master-class with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. Dutch audiences will thus have the unique opportunity to hear not just the dazzling result but also the painstaking working process to achieve an ideal sound with a full symphony orchestra.
– Elena Konstantinovna, you have a famous surname – are you related to the poet Matusovsky who wrote On a Nameless Hill, Moscow Nights and Lilac Mist?
– No, it’s just the same name, but his daughter Elena and I share the name. There were even certain curious things – she was an art historian and when one of her articles was published many friends began to tease me. I never knew Matusovsky but they say he saw posters with my name and he wondered who I was.
– How did you get into the music world? Was anyone in your family a musician? Or were you taken to a music school and it just developed from that?
– My father studied for three years at the conservatoire and although he eventually graduated from the polytechnic he really had a passion for music. Sometimes he would come home from work and go straight to the piano in his coat and hat. From my early childhood, less than a year old, I would hear beautiful music: the inventions of Bach, Chopin’s mazurkas, Mozart. Basically I had no alternative. My father died during the siege and when the war finished I wanted to become a doctor. My mum told me I should be a musician – “That was your father’s advice.”
– How does the musical education you received compare with that of the present, what things do you see today in working with singers?
– Yes, singers come to my class, but whereas back then vocalists were almost considered fools then now it’s a different generation, it’s professionals that come. And with regard to my own training in the profession I was lucky, I had the wonderful teacher Nathan Yefimovich Perelman. What I do is everything that he taught me, it’s approaching the instrument, it’s imagination, it’s depth. At the same time he always focussed on simplicity, “not to tie it up in pretty bows.” His aphorisms from the classroom became famous and were turned into a book – In the Piano Class. I also have strong memories of my second teacher Boris Orlikovich Nakhutin who worked with many famous singers.
– Have you ever regretted the fact you became an accompanist and not a concert pianist?
– Never. I really love my work, I adore it, and so I consider myself a very happy person. I’ve been working for over half a century and I never find it boring when I come to class. Every lesson with anyone brings something new. I really love classroom No 314. The walls remind me of all the singers that have been there! There’s a specific aura, and even looking out of the window onto the Kryukov Canal is simply marvellous!
I also have no regrets about my choice of profession because it has two sides – there’s chamber music which I really love, I’ve had a great many concerts with wonderful singers (and such programmes!), and there’s opera – but there the scale is different, the sound comes across differently. I consider myself a coach and that’s more than a concert-mistress and so I can let myself meddle with some things. Basically I think that singing is a mystical thing. Great singers have written about the art of vocals, they do so today, but you can’t explain it, you have to show it.
– I’ve come across musicians who are of the opinion that you can judge a person and not just a performer by the way he or she sings and acts. What do you think – how closely connected are a person’s character and the quality of their performances?
– I think it’s all connected, and very closely. But that’s the case with chamber music rather than opera. The performer conveys the music and how they see it, how they react to it, that’s how you can see their personalities. I consider that a pianist, an accompanist, is an equal partner in the process – for example that’s been written about by Gerald Moore in his memoirs. Did Schumann compose his cycle Dichterliebe just for the voice? It seems to me it’s more for the piano. With regard to my fellow opera concert-master colleagues I believe them to be heroes because all of the work with a singer lies on their shoulders right up until the orchestral rehearsal.
– You have performed an incredible amount of music, but tell us about your personal tastes, sort of “likes and dislikes”. Do you have a favourite opera or a favourite song cycle?
– I like every composer without exception up to Mahler, I really love German music. I love Russian romances. With regard to Tchaikovsky it’s impossible to know how to play it – it has to be simple but it has to be deep and expressive. He’s the kind of composer that if you make a wrong move the performance turns into formalism or maybe even vulgar. So you have to think it through. Tchaikovsky was symphonist and so you have to mentally orchestrate his piano music.
I’m probably old fashioned. We’re supposed to love Wagner, but I don’t like him. With regard to contemporary music it’s like the romance But I’m Sad, My Soul is Quiet, I regard it speculatively.
– I know that you love more than music – you adore animals.
– I love all animals and worry about what’s happening to them. I’ve had pets – a wonderful parrot who spoke in monologues and two dogs. I hate seeing homeless dogs and cats or seeing dolphins being killed. It strikes you to the very soul, neither more nor less. If I could I’d build a huge shelter for all the animals and look after them myself. Unfortunately I can’t do that at present. Zweig wrote the novel Impatience of the Heart, and it’s impatience of the heart that I feel about that.
Speaking with Arkady Rumyantsev
– Boris Vsevolodovich, you left Russia in the early 1990s. What’s your life like abroad?
– Yes, I left in January 1991. First of all, living in Italy gave me the opportunity to have a concert career and record music. And, of course, abroad I had the chance to take on a hitherto unknown musical career as a teacher.
– But you taught before – at the Moscow Conservatoire...
– No, I couldn’t teach in the special piano department. In the 1970s I only taught the basic piano course to woodwind and string musicians. In 1989 I was asked by the Imola Academy (Bologna, Ed.), and my family moved to Italy.
– What sort of academy is it?
– As an academic institution it began in the autumn of 1990. Our piano academy is called Аccademia Pianistica Incontri col Maestro. Previously each month we were visited by a great musician – Vladimir Ashkenazy, Nikita Magalov, Paul Badura-Skoda and Jörg Demus. For two and a half days they held master-classes and on the third day we had a concert. For their arrival maestro Franco Scala’s students prepared special programmes and presented them for luminaries to judge. Scala believed his training at the conservatoire to be insufficient and thought that his students should attest to their achievements by associating with a great artist, an expert in some specific field of the piano repertoire. Such was the case with Jörg Demus, who twice came and worked with his students on Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier.
I believe that Franco Scala, freely leaving his pupils “at the mercy” of great performers, displayed great courage and disinterest. This always proved of inestimable use – in addition to the new and the often unexpected takes on a work that are different to the traditional the students were faced with a different outlook, the tasks they tackled were not just about performance and music but also about pure art and the stage. Students often lack this kind of stage experience with regard to music.
– What do you call “a stage relationship to the music”?
– It’s the sense that you’re performing not just for yourself, in the hermetically sealed classroom or exam hall. A performance should be a kind of ethical ambassador, a message for a huge number of different audiences, not just fellow musicians. The relationship with the stage is about being able to have a recital, self-control, the behaviour of the performer on a big stage, broad breath, the ability to perform together with an orchestra, listen to it, to establish psychological contact with the conductor and much more besides.
– How do you cope with “stage-fright” and what advice do you give to your students?
– I try to give the impression (as best as I can) that nothing is happening. Not to think too much about I have an important event, “what will the Queen think” sort of thing. That can knock your legs out from under you. A lot of people say that anxiety gives them a special kind of courage. But sometimes it’s the case that it’s best to focus on the fact that you’re going to play on a good instrument in a great venue and that you have the opportunity to convey to people the things you have dedicated a certain period of your life to. That the hall you’re performing in is a good, kind and welcoming house. Whereas if you think “Oh, those columns, those chandeliers, that velvet, the audience, who has performed here before you” then you won’t make it to the stage. You have to try to share with a sense of joy the things that have inspired you with the audience, seeing the public without restrained hostility but with amicability and hospitableness.
– Returning to the Academy... How is the teaching process organised there? What are the details? What does a diploma result in?
– In Italy there is a widely-used points system. Someone who has taught at a music school, even temporarily, earns points as a teacher. Those who have studied at a conservatoire or academy (including our own one), given concerts or recorded discs gets points as a performer. All these points are summed up and taken into consideration when being interviewed for a job with a State institution – a conservatoire or university. It’s like musical training.
One particular feature of the Academy is that a student studying there can (as frequently happens) study with a different teacher. The five hours a month that they get can be spent with as many as three teachers!
I had a female student, the Chinese pianist Jin Ju (she teaches with us now) who came to Imola having won 3rd prize at the Tchaikovsky Competition. She took an hour with our director Franco Scala, two hours with Lazar Berman and two hours with me.
A student can study with one teacher for an entire year and the next year say “Thanks very much. Now I’m studying with someone else,” or it might be “I’m studying with another teacher at the same time as I’m studying with you.”
– Are there any faculties other than piano at the Academy?
– Our academy began with the piano, but over the course of time we have added violin classes which, God willing, will be taught next year by Zakhar Bron, and viola, flute and chamber music classes.
We have established a professional chamber orchestra, there are auditions to get into it. And over twenty-five years our pianists have taken about seventy 1st prizes at international competitions.
– How long does training last?
– For students over the age of twenty it’s a four-year course – a trial year and then another three. If a musician displays any particular talent and is in a stage of interesting creative development and doesn’t want to leave the Academy they can stay for an extra year.
Those under the age of twenty (apropos, students who have reached that age as well) can simultaneously study with us and at home, in other cities and at other schools. The course for younger students lasts one year, though it can be repeated. So sometimes they come to us at the age of twelve and finish their studies at the age of twenty-six. That happens. One of my students who will be performing in St Petersburg, Roman Lopatinsky, came to me from Kiev when he was about sixteen.
– Did he come to Italy from Kiev specially to take lessons from you?
– Yes. He still lives in Kiev and studies at the conservatoire. He came to us on the bus, almost stage-coach style... It wasn’t easy. Of course, initially he came with his parents.
– Which pianists’ concerts do you try not to miss?
– I wouldn’t put musicians into any class, but one musician I always find interesting is Grigory Sokolov. He reveals such interesting facets of works we all know, and his amazing pianism is such that it has an aesthetic quality all of its own. He creates a surprising sense of triumph of the musical idea and emotions. Recently I was at his concert where he performed seven mazurkas by Chopin... It was an incredible revelation! It was such a surprising spiritual work for its depth, sincerity, tension, poeticism and boldness. Staggering! Not to mention the fact that he performs incredibly diverse music – Prokofiev, Stravinsky, Rameau, Beethoven, whatever comes along. I think he is one of the most interesting and thoughtful pianists.
– Which piano competitions do you consider the most interesting and important?
– The Tchaikovsky Competition first and foremost. In recent years it has acquired a totally new significance and new life which I am delighted about. The Chopin Competition (Warsaw). The Leeds Competition at which I had the honour of being a jury member this year. The Van Cliburn Competition in Texas and the Competition in Brussels, the Santander Competition, which was always renowned albeit for the fact that it had dozens if not hundreds of concerts by its prize-winners, and the Hamamatsu Competition in Japan, from which I’ve recently returned after a recital and master-classes. There will be another competition there in November.
– They say that the Japanese audience is an interesting one...
– The Japanese are very hospitable but due to their sense of politeness they never applaud very long. They don’t stay in the auditorium like they do in Italy. I twice saw the Italians would not let Kisin leave the stage. Apropos, he’s another musician I really admire. I remember his recent performance of Beethoven’s Sonata No 32, Op. 111, which staggered me with its crystal purity and the kind of lofty light-bearing sense and embodiment. In Italy Kisin gave sixteen encores! I was there! The audience didn’t leave until they started to shut the theatre. In Japan that’s not possible. The Japanese react passionately, they applaud, I’ve even heard cries of “bravo!” But the applause always suddenly stops, as if it’s been switched off.
– But they probably don’t clap between the movements of one piece?
– Between the movements they don’t even breathe! As I see it they are ready to die, but never to cough or sneeze.
– But with regard to applause between movements I became relaxed after my wife and I heard Mahler’s Seventh Symphony at the Musikverein in Vienna and after the first movement the audience applauded. In Vienna! My father said to me “Don’t ever get annoyed, perhaps it’s the first time these people have been at a concert.”
– Which company made the instrument you have at home?
– At home I have an old Steinway. And when our Academy was established it was supported by Yamaha.
– You have a huge discography. Which of your recordings please you the most? The ones I haven’t done yet.
– And yet... What can we recommend to our audiences? I’ve recorded all of Shostakovich. In the preludes and fugues I had questions relating to the composer’s directions. I think you have to approach them carefully, not always following the letter of the law but rather its spirit. And the Second Sonata is a work that I have lived with most of my life.
I’m quite proud of my recordings of Brahms’ music. Although, as they say, it’s “music in a can” and, of course, it was recorded twenty years ago, and today I would perform it differently. From time to time I listen in horror at some of my recordings and think “Did I really do that?” and then I listen agin and think “No, it’s passable.”
The last recording released was Tchaikovsky’s Seasons and Children’s Album. I think it turned out rather well.
There are recordings that wouldn’t make a good “memorial plaque” and there are recordings that I would delete from my discography. I had a case like that. In London I recorded a Chopin disc and didn’t permit it to be released – I really did not like what I did with it.
– How did you choose the programme for your recital – preludes by Chopin and Scriabin?
– I last performed Chopin’s Preludes twenty-five years ago and I wanted to revive them together with Scriabin’s eleventh opus. My father used to perform that work. As I wrote in my book, my teacher Professor Naumov played them remarkably well. And I decided to make a personal tribute to my father.
I hadn’t played that work by Scriabin and I didn’t know what to combine it with. But then I had the idea of having two cycles. It’s a work that appears banal, even school-like: in terms of structure, in terms of their arrangement, in terms of the circle of fifths with parallel tonalities Scriabin’s preludes exactly replicate Chopin’s principles, and the early Scriabin came totally from Chopin – that is all well known. But the combination of these two cycles in one concert is rare for some reason. So I decided to unite into one large chain these forty-eight different conditions of the human soul, mind, mood and relations. We’ll see how it turns out.
Speaking with Svetlana Nikitina
Vladimir Tarnopolsky, composer:
”I want Cinderella to be an opera not just for children but with children as well. In the score, as well as a professional orchestra and performers there is a children’s chorus and orchestra. Children’s choruses always have stable singers – high and middle register voices, but with a children’s orchestra it’s more complicated. You never know in advance what instruments the children will be playing in this or that class. That’s why in Cinderella the woodwind parts are written not for specific instruments but conditionally, for the registers. The first part can be taken by the flute or possibly the clarinet – whatever is available will do. It also involves percussion which children love so much – ringing, pounding and rustling.
At the premiere in 2003 the huge stage of the Barbican Hall in London was filled with two hundred people, moreover of different ages. At times it was really curious. For example, one five-year-old girl who was sitting at the back of the violin section had to go off for a minute, she was led off and then she came back and continued to perform. And in Norway Cinderella was performed with a chamber orchestra – the ensemble and one singer.
Cinderella might be a children’s opera, but in terms of language it is complex. Several passages of the score feature a very avant-garde arsenal. And Dahl’s text is contemporary and paradoxical. It is full of childhood slang and risqué and curious words that are hard to translate into a foreign language. Dahl’s verse was transformed into a libretto by the writer and director Donald Sturrock. I looked at different translators and – in my opinion – only Yekaterina Shukshina was able to reproduce this wonderful British humour in Russian.
Dahl’s tale has a specific plot. But Russia and Britain are exactly the countries where apparently absurd jokes are accepted. I am certain that Dahl’s text will be understood in Russia. You can’t be a sanctimonious hypocrite and protect children from everything. I know so many stories of non-problem children who 'go out on the streets" at the age of thirteen or fourteen and fall into neglect. A fairy-tale is a kind of lesson that it always best to learn from. When I was working on this opera my son was thirteen and I wrote in the dedication of the score the words 'To Vladislav in all seriousness'.
I try not to interfere in the production process. If the composer begins to control every single detail then the imagination of the production team becomes paralysed. I really loved Arkady Gevondov’s idea. I’ve already worked a lot with Ivan Stolbov and I trust him absolutely – he’s a great stage director. In Great Britain at the premiere the tempi were not exactly the ones I’d envisaged. But when I heard it I understood that it was great, it could be done that way as well. Of course, it is hard for choristers to sing such complicated musical phrases, but with this material the children will slowly but surely learn modern musical language. And, I hope, the audience will find pleasure in it.”
From 18 to 26 March soloists of the Mariinsky Opera and the Orchestra will be giving nine concerts under the baton of Valery Gergiev in eight European cities
From 18 to 26 March soloists of the Mariinsky Opera and the Orchestra will be giving nine concerts under the baton of Valery Gergiev in eight European cities.
The main accent of the tour of Spain and France falls on Wagner’s musical dramas, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the participation of long-established Spanish choral ensembles, concerts by the Stradivarius Ensemble and a programme of Russian music including both well-known works and 19th and 20th century masterpieces that are little-known outside Russia.
On 18 March at the famous Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona there will be a concert performance of the opera Tristan und Isolde under maestro Gergiev. It will feature lead soloists of the Mariinsky Opera, many of whom are internationally renowned for their interpretations of the Wagnerian repertoire, among them Mikhail Petrenko (King Marke), Larisa Gogolevskaya (Isolde), Yevgeny Nikitin (Kurwenal), Yulia Matochkina (Brangäne), Dmitry Voropaev (Shepherd, Young Sailor) and Yuri Alexeyev (Melot). The role of Tristan will be performed by the outstanding American singer Robert Gambill – one of the most sought-after Wagnerian heldentenors famed for his appearances as Tannhäuser, Tristan, Siegmund and Parsifal.
On 21 March in Oviedo there will also be a performance of highlights from Wagner’s musical dramas Die Walküre (Act I) and Parsifal (Act III) with lead soloists of the Mariinsky Opera and the Orchestra under the baton of Valery Gergiev. The vocal roles will be sung by Mikhail Vekua (Siegmund), Mlada Khudoley (Sieglinde), Mikhail Petrenko (Hunding), Sergei Semishkur (Parsifal), Yevgeny Nikitin (Amfortas) and Yuri Vorobiev (Gurnemanz).In the other three Spanish cities to be visited during this tour – Pamplona (19 March), Madrid (20 March) and Santander (22 March) – the Mariinsky Orchestra and soloists of the Opera Company will perform Ludwig van Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony under maestro Gergiev. In the finale of this famous symphony set to the text of Schiller’s Ode to Joy the Mariinsky Theatre performers will be joined by local choruses with a rich history – the Pamplona Chorus (one hundred and fifty years old), the Basque Country chorus Orfeón Donostiarra (one hundred and eighteen years old and the Bilbao Municipal Chorus (one hundred and thirty years old). The solo roles will be performed by Viktoria Yastrebova, Yulia Matochkina, Sergei Semishkur and Mikhail Petrenko.
The second leg of the tour will take place in France. On 23 March at the concert hall La Halle aux Grains in Toulouse the Mariinsky Orchestra under Valery Gergiev will perform Rodion Shchedrin’s Orchestra Concerto No 1 (Naughty Limericks), Modest Musorgsky’s song cycle The Nursery (orchestrated by Rodion Shchedrin and with soloist Anastasia Kalagina) and Musorgsky’s piano cycle Pictures at an Exhibition (orchestrated by Maurice Ravel).
24 March will see the first performance by the Mariinsky at the Grand Théâtre in Bordeaux. Valery Gergiev and Paul Daniel (Music Director of the Opéra National de Bordeaux) have commented that the Mariinsky’s debut at this beautiful 18th century theatre – the same age as the Imperial wooden theatre that stood before the Mariinsky Theatre was built – signifies a great collaboration between the two illustrious companies.
It is not by chance that for its performance in Bordeaux the Mariinsky Theatre chose the Stradivarius Ensemble, as its members are the best performers in the Mariinsky Orchestra performing on old and unique-sounding instruments crafted by the great masters including Amati, Stradivari, Guarneri and Gofriller. Specialists consider that the acoustics of the historic auditorium of the theatre in Bordeaux are ideal for the warm sound of a small string orchestra. The playbill for the evening includes Richard Strauss’ Metamorphosen and Serenades for Strings by Edward Elgar and Pyotr Tchaikovsky. Paul Daniel will be conducting the piece by fellow Briton Elgar.
The two final tour concerts will take place in Paris at the Grande Salle opened by the new Philharmonie de Paris in January this year. The building was constructed by the renowned French architect Jean Nouvel in the picturesque Parc de la Villette in the north-east of Paris. The acoustics of the Grande Salle, which has two thousand four hundred seats, were designed by the acclaimed specialists Harold Marshall and Yasuhisa Toyota (who also worked on the acoustics of the Concert Hall of the Mariinsky Theatre). The acoustics of the Philharmonie de Paris are well known to Valery Gegiev – in just the last few weeks he has conducted on two occasions at the Grande Salle (concerts by the London Symphony Orchestra and thee Munich Philharmonic Orchestra).
On the first evening (25 March) there be a repeat of the same programme performed two days earlier in Toulouse. On the second evening (26 March) there will be a performance by the Mariinsky Stradivarius Ensemble, the programme to include Edvard Grieg’s From Holberg’s Time, Dmitry Shostakovich’s First Piano Concerto (Concerto for Piano and Trumpet; soloists – Denis Matsuev and Timur Martynov) and Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings.
The Mariinsky Theatre has opened an official page on the Instagram social networking site: https://instagram.com/mariinsky/
Please note that the Mariinsky Theatre has opened an official page on the Instagram social networking site located at https://instagram.com/mariinsky/. Photo and video materials published on this page give audiences further opportunities to discover more information about the Mariinsky Theatre’s activities in a format that is easy-to-use, attractive, accessible and popular.
Sign up to the Mariinsky Theatre’s official Instagram page!
The annual Mariinsky ballet festival will run for the fifteenth time from 13 – 22 March 2015.
In line with tradition the festival will open with a premiere. The first ballet premiere of the season will be an evening of one-act ballets choreographed by Anton Pimonov – Bambi to music by Andrei Golovin and In the Jungle to music by Alexander Lokshin (13 and 14 March). The festival marathon will continue with performances by lead soloists from the world’s best ballet companies in Mariinsky Theatre productions. This year’s guest stars include Isaac Hernández representing the Dutch National Ballet, Sae Eun Park from the Opéra de Paris and Ruslan Skvortsov from the Bolshoi Theatre.
One of the Mariinsky ballet festival’s traditions is to host galas for the company’s principal dancers. The artistic evening on 19 March will focus on Viktoria Tereshkina. A Mariinsky Theatre prima ballerina and recipient of numerous awards and prizes, she has been appearing in repertoire productions for more than ten years now and practically every Mariinsky Ballet premiere involves her. Adored by the public and critics alike, Viktoria Tereshkina will be performing the roles of Mekhmene-Bahnu in Act I from The Legend of Love, Zobeide in Schéhérazade and the lead in “Paquita” Grand Pas.
Also in line with tradition, one of the festival evenings will see the stage transformed into a space for new dance ideas. On 21 March at the Creative Workshop new ballets will be presented by the young choreographers Vladimir Varnava, Ilya Zhivoi, Xenia Zvereva, Maxim Petrov, Maxim Sevagin and Yuri Smekalov. These young choreographers are being stimulated by a plan conceived by the theatre’s management in line with which the best pieces enter the theatre’s repertoire. Having been performed at previous workshops, Anton Pimonov’s Choreographic Game 3x3 and Yuri Smekalov’s Camera obscura are now in the repertoire, while Vladimir Varnava’s miniature Keep Calm from last year’s festival will be performed as part of the programme for the final gala concert this year.
The Gala Concert on 22 March will feature Mariinsky Theatre soloists Ulyana Lopatkina, Yekaterina Kondaurova, Oxana Skorik, Alina Somova, Zlata Yalinich, Timur Askerov, Kimin Kim, Xander Parish and Vladimir Shklyarov as well as Opéra de Paris soloists Ludmila Pagliero, Joshua Offalt, Audric Bezard, Marie-Agnès Gillot, Hugo Marchand, Léonore Baulac and Jérémy-Loup Quer.
On 6 and 9 March Gergiev will be conducting the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra in Berlin and Paris
On 6 and 9 March Gergiev will be conducting the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra in Berlin and Paris. The playbills for these performances include Richard Strauss’ famous symphonic poems Also Sprach Zarathustra and Till Eulenspiegels Lustige Streiche as well as Antonín Dvořák’s Cello Concerto with Sol Gabetta performing the solo.
The concert in Berlin is of particular significance – it is dedicated to the memory of the famed conductor Lorin Maazel (1930–2014), who today would have been eighty-five years old. From 2011 maestro Maazel was the Music Director of the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra. In January 2013 the city authorities of Munich and the orchestra’s management made the unanimous decision to appoint Valery Gergiev as Maazel’s successor in the post starting in the 2015-2016 season. It should be noted that maestro Gergiev will be flying to Germany on that day specially to appear at this memorial concert on the only free day between performances of Wagner’s tetralogy Der Ring des Nibelungen at the Mariinsky Theatre; yesterday and the day before he conducted Das Rheingold and Die Walküre while tomorrow and the day after he will be conducting the operas Siegfried and Götterdämmerung.
On 9 March, having completed Wagner’s cycle in St Petersburg, Valery Gergiev will once again perform with the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra at the new Philharmonie de Paris which opened one and a half months ago. And on 10 March maestro Gergiev will set out for Moscow for a press-conference dedicated to the XIV Moscow Easter Festival.
On 5 March the performance of Die Walküre will be dedicated to the jubilee of Olga Sergeyeva, Honoured Artist of Russia, who will be appearing as Brünnhilde
This year marks fifteen years of the singer’s activity at the Mariinsky Theatre. Having graduated from the Russian Gnessins Academy of Music in 2000 (class of Zara Dolukhanova), Olga Sergeyeva became a Mariinsky Theatre soloist, invariably proving herself in the most demanding roles. The singer’s repertoire includes important roles, each of which demands not just vocal mastery but drama as well – Katerina Ismailova (Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk), Barak’s Wife (Die Frau ohne Schatten), LadyMacbeth (Macbeth) and Aida (Aida). Yet Wagnerian characters are her favourite roles.
On her birthday Olga Sergeyeva will be appearing as Brünnhilde in the opera Die Walküre. This is her first Wagnerian role performed at the Mariinsky Theatre. Her Brünnhilde has been applauded in St Petersburg, Paris, London, New York, Madrid, Seoul and Baden-Baden as have her stage partnerships with such artists as Plácido Domingo.
Today Olga Sergeyeva is one of the Mariinsky Opera’s leading Wagnerian soloists. Music critics refer to her “outstanding dramatic soprano voice” and her “truly theatrical temperament”.
The Mariinsky Theatre congratulates Olga Sergeyeva on her jubilee and wishes her health, inspiration, new artistic success and longevity in the name of Russian culture!
The press about the latest Mariinsky label release.
Respected international music publications have heaped high praise on a disc of works by Musorgsky released on the Mariinsky label on 9 February this year and which marked the end of the composer’s anniversary, widely celebrated at the three Mariinsky venues in March 2014. The release includes Ravel’s orchestration of Musorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition and the composer’s own original version of Night on Bald Mountain which maestro Gergiev and the Mariinsky Orchestra particularly love and promote throughout the world. The disc also includes Musorgsky’s finest chamber-song cycle Songs and Dances of Death (orchestrated by Dmitry Shostakovich) interpreted by the outstanding Italian bass and long-standing Mariinsky Theatre collaborator Ferruccio Furlanetto, famed for his love of Musorgsky’s music.
Valery Gergiev has completely reinvented masterpieces of classical music and the result of that rethinking is phenomenal. Beyond any doubt this is one of the best releases to date on the Mariinsky label and one of Gergiev and the Mariinsky Orchestra’s greatest accomplishments. The magnificent performance makes this recording a “listening-must”! (Herald Scotland)
This disc is like a casket filled with jewels... Gergiev has done much to bring the real Musorgsky back to us, cleansing Night on Bald Mountain from everything that was added and letting the composer speak for himself. Those of us weaned on the full-fat versions of Night on Bald Mountain made by Rimsky-Korsakov and Stokowski can have trouble adapting to the ur-version, but Gergiev here gives a supercharged reading of the composer’s original 1867 creation; in the shrieking piccolos, hammering rhythms and the starkest of harmonies you can hear the genesis of (Stravinsky’s) The Rite of Spring.
Musorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition is one of Gergiev's finest works as a conductor. In fine form, the Mariinsky Orchestra gives the maestro the full opportunity to expose the timbre qualities of Ravel’s orchestration. And, finally, we have a recording of Night on Bald Mountain – the composer’s original version – which reveals to the audience a grandiose musical universe. (Pizzicato)
The wonderful quality of the recording allows us to hear every nuance of the orchestra’s work... But the dark shades of the timbre, which literally makes one’s blood freeze, comes from Ferruccio Furlanetto’s ideal performance of this famous Songs and Dances of Death cycle. It is an&bsp;interpretation that staggers with its magnificence. (MusicWeb International)
Ferruccio Furlanetto’s interpretation of Musorgsky’s song series is unforgettable. (BBC Radio 3 CD Review with Andrew McGregor)