29 and 30 October at the Mariinsky-II will see the  premiere of a new production of Gioachino Rossini’s opera Il barbiere di Siviglia, staged by Alain Maratrat

29 and 30 October at the Mariinsky-II will see the premiere of a new production of Gioachino Rossini’s opera Il barbiere di Siviglia, staged by Alain Maratrat.

The tone of attitudes to Rossini in Russia was very precisely defined by Pushkin in his novel Eugene Onegin: “the ravishing Rossini, spoilt child of Europe, Orpheus,” whose music is “like young lovers’ kisses, always so gentle, yet incandescent; or like the hissing streams and golden spray of champagne...” This tone has remained unchanged for almost two centuries now.

Pushkin first discovered Rossini’s operas when performed by the Italian Company in 1823. It was the re in 1821 that the Russian premiere of the opera Il barbiere di Siviglia took place, soon afterwards  in early 1822  being performed by the Italian Company in St Petersburg, while at the end of the year the opera was translated into Russian and staged at the Imperial Bolshoi (Stone) Theatre on Theatre Square.

Il barbiere di Siviglia is Rossini’s most popular opera, although he composed over forty othe rs. This operatic masterpiece based on Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais’ comedy Le Barbier de Séville, ou la Précaution inutile was written by Rossini at a time when he had already composed sixteen operas by the age of twenty-four. In a record short time  just over two weeks  the opera was ready for the annual carnival in Rome. The unsuccessful premiere on 20 February 1816 had no effect whatsoever on its subsequent dazzling stage history.

At the Mariinsky Theatre the opera Il barbiere di Siviglia has been staged on seven separate occasions  in 1882, 1912, 1924, 1940, 1958 and 1996 at the old the atre and in 2009 at the Concert Hall.
This new version of Rossini’s masterpiece at the Mariinsky Theatre is being staged by director Alain Maratrat. This is the French director’s fourth work for the Mariinsky Theatre, following after productions of Il viaggio a Reims, The Love for Three Oranges and Die Zauberflöte. All of Maratrat’s productions are notable for the ir distinctly French refinement, lightness, humour and vivid the atricality.

Stage director Alain Maratrat sees the love story in de Beaumarchais’ comic plot as contemporary: “I am telling the audience a story from life that is close to the m. That’s why you have to include the element of the miracle  after all, today we really need hopes and dreams. I want to tell an unusual story in order to talk about everyday things.” The production promises to be a dazzling and enchanting one, with magnificent costumes and imaginative headwear. The stage director is also preparing some surprises for the audience, as he is deeply convinced that “people love being part of the on-stage action. And I always try to stage a production so that it is an event, a celebration for the audience.”

Working on the opera are: Alain Maratrat (Stage Director and Production Designer), Zaurbek Gugkaev (Conductor), Larisa Gergieva (Musical Preparation), Mireille Dessingy (Costume Designer), Stéphane Clément (Puppet Designer), Gregoria Recio (headwear), Pascal Noël (Lighting Designer) and Pavel Teplov (Chorus Master).
The roles are being rehearsed by: Yevgeny Akhmedov and Ilya Selivanov (Count Almaviva), Dmitry Garbovsky, Viktor Korotich and Vladimir Moroz (Figaro), Evelina Agabalaeva, Antonina Vesenitsa and Olga Pudova (Rosina), Nikolai Kamensky, Fyodor Kuznetsov and Edward Tsanga (Don Basilio) and Edem Umerov and Edward Tsanga (Bartolo).

The exhibition commemorating one hundred and seventy-five years since Modest Petrovich Musorgsky’s birth and one hundred and forty years since the first production (world premiere) of the opera Boris Godunov at the Mariinsky Theatre is open in the foyer of the 1st Circle at the Mariinsky-II

The exhibition commemorating one hundred and seventy-five years since Modest Petrovich Musorgsky’s birth and one hundred and forty years since the first production (world premiere) of the opera Boris Godunov at the Mariinsky Theatre is open in the foyer of the 1st Circle at the Mariinsky-II.

The exhibition will display not just stage costumes, sketches and set props reflecting the staggering history of various productions of Musorgsky’s operas Boris Godunov and Khovanshchina at the Mariinsky Theatre in the 19th and 20th centuries, but also rare documents, photographs and the composer’s manuscript scores which are being shown to the public for the first time – including a never-published manuscript score of the opera Boris Godunov.

The original manuscript score of Modest Petrovich Musorgsky’s Boris Godunov, which is retained in the archive department of the Mariinsky Theatre Library is a pearl of Russian culture. When we open the pages of calligraphy today we become convinced yet again how exceptionally unique the composer’s creative gift was. His gift of deep artistic creation meant that Musorgsky rarely used sketches. He himself admitted that he felt reverential terror when “sending between the bindings” his own “pure score without any sketches.”
Possessed with the idea of Boris, Musorgsky was able to “compose ‘for people’”, often “coming to the piano and playing highlights.” That was how he created the monologue of Marina Mnishek – one of the female characters that the Mariinsky Theatre proposed to the composer for the second version of the opera. It was work on Boris that subsequently became a particular measure of artistic merit for the composer himself.
At the exhibition we will literally be allowing visitors to “touch” the manuscript of Boris Godunov (in the form of an interactive screen with the pages of the score) – to turn its pages, to feel history living and breathing and to see the material embodiment of something great. The exhibition will be open to all visitors at the Mariinsky-II for six months.

Mariinsky Theatre projects focussing on the historic legacy of Russian musical theatre and based on its own archives include the organisation of a similar exhibition to mark one hundred and seventy-five years since the birth of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky in 2015. It is an established fact that many of the composer’s most dazzling artistic works were staged at the Mariinsky Theatre. In the near future, Mariinsky Theatre audiences can expect “interactive” access to the great composer’s colossal legacy — the scores of the legendary Sleeping Beauty, The Queen of Spades and The Enchantress among other great opuses.

TV groups, photographers and journalists are invited to attend the opening on 25 October at 17:00. The press will be admitted via the main entrance of the Mariinsky-II from 16:30.
Accreditation via the theatre’s press service: press@mariinsky.ru;
tel: +7-812-7144164, mobile +7-812-9215673


From 26 October to 1 November the Mariinsky Theatre will be performing under the baton of Valery Gergiev at major concert venues in Frankfurt, Vienna and Dortmund with an extensive programme of works by Sergei Prokofiev

From 26 October to 1 November the Mariinsky Theatre will be performing under the baton of Valery Gergiev at major concert venues in Frankfurt, Vienna and Dortmund with an extensive programme of works by Sergei Prokofiev. It is a well-known fact that the music of this composer is one of the Mariinsky Theatre and maestro Gergiev’s main areas of expertise: “The Mariinsky’s musicians have Prokofiev in their blood, moreover that has been so for a long time, and the fact that under the baton of Gergiev the orchestra and the company have performed – on several occasions – all of Sergei Prokofiev’s symphonies, all of his concerti and all of his operas is of colossal importance” (Kultura TV). It should be noted that the Mariinsky Theatre is the only theatre in the world the repertoire of which includes all of Prokofiev’s operas. Recordings of Prokofiev’s music performed by the Mariinsky Theatre have received numerous Russian and international awards.
The tour begins with a concert at the Großer Saal of the renowned Alte Oper in Frankfurt. On Sunday 26 October maestro Gergiev will be conducting the Mariinsky Orchestra musicians in a performance of Prokofiev’s grandiose Fifth Symphony. The playbill for that evening will also feature music from Rodion Shchedrin’s ballet The Little Humpbacked Horse and Dmitry Shostakovich’s First Violin Concerto (soloist – Nicola Benedetti).

On 27 and 28 October the Mariinsky Orchestra will be appearing ar the Konzerthaus in Vienna – a focal point for classical music in the Austrian capital. Over two evenings the Mariinsky Orchestra under Valery Gergiev will be presenting an incredibly rich programme including all of Prokofiev’s piano concerti and his First, Sixth and Seventh Symphonies. The solos in these concerts will be performed by the acclaimed pianists Denis Kozhukhin, Alexei Volodin, Behzod Abduraimov and Sergei Babayan.

The marathon of Prokofiev piano concerti will be repeated on 30 October ar the Konzerthaus in Dortmund.

The next day, the Mariinsky Theatre under the baton of maestro Gergiev will be in Dortmund for a concert performance of the opera Betrothal in a Monastery. The vocal roles will be sung by leading Mariinsky Opera soloists including Larisa Diadkova (the Duenna), Anastasia Kalagina (Louisa), Yulia Matochkina (Clara), Yevgeny Akimov (Don Jerome), Dmitry Voropaev (Don Antonio), Vladimir Moroz (Don Ferdinand) and Sergei Aleksashkin (Mendoza).

The tour comes to a close on 1 November in Dortmund with a concert featuring the oratorio Ivan the Terrible with soloists Mikhail Petrenko (bass, Narrator) and Ekaterina Sergeyeva (mezzo-soprano) and music from the ballet Cinderella.

Due to construction work on the underground vestibule of the metro station Teatralnaya, parking in the vicinity of Theatre Square is limited

Dear Patrons,
Due to construction work on the underground vestibule of the metro station Teatralnaya, parking in the vicinity of Theatre Square is limited.
Works are scheduled to be completed on 16 June 2015.
We ask you to take this into consideration when planning a visit to the theatre.


24 – 30 October 2014
The II International Organ Festival is being held at the Concert Hall of the Mariinsky Theatre, which for five days will become a centre of organ music in St Petersburg

The II International Organ Festival is being held at the Concert Hall of the Mariinsky Theatre, which for five days will become a centre of organ music in St Petersburg. According to French organist Thierry Escaich, who has already performed on several occasions at the Concert Hall of the Mariinsky Theatre and who next year will be the festival’s director, “the festival promises to be interesting and memorable: during the festival there will be performances of undoubted great classical composers of the past – Bach, Mendelssohn and Franck, organist-composers who began their careers by playing the organ and only later composed timeless orchestral and vocal masterpieces; it will also be possible to hear the ‘organ-orchestra’ – arrangements for organ of symphony music by Ravel, Strauss and Messiaen; and there will be performances of contemporary organ music at the festival – works by classical composers of our own time including Mikael Tariverdiev and Rolande Falcinelli as well as jazz compositions.”

One interesting festival event will come with Thierry Escaich’s improvisation performance to a silent film. This project will be a memoir of the magnificent tradition of organ performances in the cinema at the dawn of filmmaking, when films were shown to the accompaniment of such great composers as Saint-Saëns and Olivier Messiaen.

This year the International Organ Festival is dedicated to the memory of the festival’s founder and first Artistic Director Oleg Kinyaev, a Russian organist who held the post of Principal Organist and Organ Master of the Mariinsky Theatre and who made a tremendous contribution to the development of organ music in St Petersburg.

The organ at the Concert Hall, crafted by the Strasbourg company Daniel Kern, is one of the first organs to be built in Russia in the last century, constructed in the manner of the French symphony organ with rich timbres, deep nuancing and expansive registers.

24 October. Gunther Rost, a prize-winner at more than ten organ competitions, recipient of the Bavarian State Prize “For Achievements in Art” and professor of the organ and improvisation class at the Universität für Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Graz (Austria), will be performing a classical programme of works by Johann Sebastian Bach, Felix Mendelssohn and Louis Vierne.

25 October. The programme of the recital by Lada Labzina, Honoured Artist of the Republic of Tatarstan, senior lecturer at the faculty of organ and harpsichord studies at the Kazan State Zhiganov Conservatoire and Art Director of the State Bolshoi Saidashev Concert Hall in Kazan, will feature Lada Labzina’s own original transcriptions of the first movement of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s symphonic suite Schéhérazade, a prelude by Dave Brubeck and jazz works for organ by Volker Bräutigam, Krzysztof Sadowski and Dežē Antalfi-Žiross as well as works by Franz Liszt, Johann Sebastian Bach, César Franck and Mikael Tariverdiev.

26 October. Maxime Patel, an organist who frequently performs recitals in Europe and beyond and the only performer in the world of Jeanne Demessieux’ incredibly complex Organ Études a recording of which critics have hailed as a historic event, will be performing works by this French virtuoso organ music composer. The programme also includes works by French, Italian and German composers from the baroque to the 20th century such as Johann Sebastian Bach, Domenico Scarlatti, Franz Liszt, Marcel Dupré, Rolande Falcinelli and Pierre Labric.

28 October. David Briggs, the guest organist at St James’ Cathedral in Toronto, professor at Great Britain’s Royal Academy of Music and the first Briton to receive the Charles Tournemire Prize at the International Improvisation Competition in St Albans in Great Britain, will be presenting the audience with traditional organ music by Johann Sebastian Bach, Maurice Ravel and Olivier Messiaen in addition to his own transcription for organ of Richard Strauss’ symphonic poem Tod und Verklärung.

30 October. The festival closes with a concert by Thierry Escaich, a renowned composer (he has written over one hundred works), a virtuoso organ improviser, teacher and recipient of numerous music prizes, who will amaze the audience with his masterful improvisation for a screening of the 1925 silent film The Phantom of the Opera.

On Monday 20 October Aman Tuleyev, the Governor of the Kemerovo Region, awarded maestro Gergiev the title of Hero of Kuzbass

On Monday 20 October Aman Tuleyev, the Governor of the Kemerovo Region, awarded maestro Gergiev the title of Hero of Kuzbass.

The award, which marks significant achievements and successes in concerts and educational activities, the careful revival of traditions and great personal contributions to the development, maintenance and promotion of classical music, was presented at the end of a charitable concert. That day the Mariinsky Orchestra under the baton of Valery Gergiev performed twice in Kemerovo, with one of the concerts – which was free – aimed at children studying at music schools and their teachers from the region. Valery Gergiev underlined the fact that he considers performing for children to be a priority: “Opening a window, a door, or even better the great gates into the world of classical music for children is the number one task for us all.” During the children’s matinee concert the Mariinsky Theatre musicians presented the young audience with Sergei Prokofiev’s symphonic tale Peter and the Wolf; many children also attended the second concert in the evening, though that programme was much more “serious”, including music by Rimsky-Korsakov, Verdi and Wagner.

The Mariinsky Orchestra under Valery Gergiev first performed in Kemerovo in 2010. Less than one year ago, in December 2013, after a concert at the Kuzbass State Philharmonic the maestro was awarded the title of “Honorary Citizen of the Kemerovo Region” for his contribution to the development of the area’s cultural life.

An interview with Alain Maratrat, the stage director and production designer of Rossini’s opera Il barbiere di Siviglia, which will be premiered at the end of October at the Mariinsky-II

An interview with Alain Maratrat, the stage director and production designer of Rossini’s opera Il barbiere di Siviglia, which will be premiered at the end of October at the Mariinsky-II.

– Il barbiere di Siviglia is your fourth production at the Mariinsky Theatre, and two of those have been operas by Rossini. How did you get the idea for this production? Did the management of the theatre offer it or was it your own initiative?
The offer to stage Il barbiere di Siviglia came from the Mariinsky Theatre, more specifically from Larisa Gergieva. Possibly after Il barbiere di Siviglia more productions of Rossini’s operas will follow.

The Russian press calls you “a professional who knows absolutely what he wants”. What meaning are you revealing for yourself and for audiences with this production – what is your production about?
Why Il barbiere di Siviglia in particular? My attention was drawn by one very important fact. De Beaumarchais wrote his play during the French Revolution, and Rossini was alive during the Bourbon reign, so they both witnessed monarchical France. Both these periods are very important as they heralded the structure of modern society. Back then it changed completely and utterly. It marked the end of rule by the aristocracy with its devotion to social order, which it considered a pledge for world harmony, and the advancement of the bourgeoisie with its reverence for money and the despotic supremacy of the individual. That was when a completely new class emerged, and it is embodied by Figaro the barber – a man who suddenly finds himself independent. Almaviva’s former lackey has become master of his own life. He has his own trade and uses this to make a living. Figaro can turn his hand to anything and is keen to assist anyone. He is also independent. It comes as no surprise that de Beaumarchais’ play was censored at the time. For the age, the character was totally new. The nobility had power, titles and money, but the bourgeoisie was becoming an increasingly dangerous rival. It was in just such circumstances that the plot of our tale was born. A youth from high society is enchanted by a young girl and wishes to marry her, but in order to achieve his dream he must battle against conditions, social order and his own situation in life. He is a man who wishes to be admired for his own qualities rather than his personal status. There is something of the hero in him: he tries to discover himself as well as the meaning of life. And in this sense the plot is completely new – here de Beaumarchais is very close to modernity. Moreover, this story reflects his own life: you know, he was the son of a watchmaker and achieved everything under his own steam. And he achieved a great deal: he was elevated to the ranks of the nobility and became a trusted advisor to the king and a purveyor of weapons during the American War of Independence.

It is well known that Il barbiere di Siviglia is an opera not just with a rich history of productions but also with a huge number of production and performance clichés. How do you plan to tackle these?
A cliché is the systematic on-stage embodiment of an incredibly superficial glance at the lead characters, situations and performance style (meaning “so-called” tradition). From the word itself it is clear that a cliché is literally a repetition of a situation or an image purely because it has a defined effect on the audience. In other words, it involves the use of tawdry jokes or caricature depictions of people with one single aim – to please the public. For example, don Bartolo is often portrayed as a ridiculous and naïve man who lets himself be manipulated, but that’s not true: he understands immediately that Rosina is concealing something – it is merely that he is blinded by the surrealist and absurd life situation into which he has fallen. He is touching and pathos-filled rather than ridiculous. Intuitively he senses the lie that surrounds him and he suffers from that. But his jealousy does not allow him to accept reality in full. Tradition in opera is terrible because it only exists to serve the egocentric whims of performers who have nothing in common with what the composer wrote and what he based the work on. It is an established fact that the renowned conductor, music historian and Rossini specialist Alberto Zedda researched the composer’s original score and discovered that the role of Rosina was not actually written for a soprano: it was performed by a mezzo, the same singer who sang in  L’italiana in Algeri! And in new versions of scores – to which changes were often made by the singers themselves – there are a huge number of deviations. In particular, the role of Basilio was written in D Major. For a bass that is rather high, and so, when singing “La calunnia”, the singer really has to push himself. But this tension reflects the state the character is in – Rossini wanted to show how worked up Basilio gets when Bartolo relates that Count Almaviva has come to Seville. In this aria we can sense a touch of slight madness or hysterical joy – you see, he has found a way truly to harm someone close to him without dirtying his own hands. The high notes of this aria should be strained, the character has to be beside himself – because that is how he reveals his true nature to us. So in this production I am trying to tell a simple story of characters who find themselves in unusual circumstances.

What part of the production is most important for you – the instrumental, the vocal or the drama – or perhaps you focus on the visual aspect of the production?
With Rossini, and particularly in this work, it is staggering that the music itself and the vocals already incorporate the drama based on de Beaumarchais’ text. And so when staging the opera it is vital first to study the content, to find its human message, and only then create the visual imagery of the opera – which may change during the production process. You can see that here everything is interconnected – the teamwork of the set designer, costume designer and stage director, the work of the singers, looking for interpretations. We are staging a story about how, in a certain social and human context, people mercilessly battle against each other in order to attain their own aims.

Your previous productions at the Mariinsky Theatre have been interactive. Will you be involving the audience in your production this time too?
I think that people love being part of the on-stage action. For example, we have the cinematographer: there the viewer is totally involved in the process. He sits in the dark watching a story that unfolds on the screen and is totally immersed in the film. He experiences true catharsis – he completely identifies with the story on the screen. And I always try to stage a work so that it is an event, a celebration for the audience. That’s why I decided to move the stage forwards and have a bridge between the auditorium and the orchestra – to bring the action as close as possible to the audience.

You have admitted that you see your place as a stage director as being “between the composer and the modern day”. Do you plan to translate the plot of Il barbiere di Siviglia into contemporary language?
All social classes are involved in this story: those of the past, the present, the emergent and the developing. Basilio is a ruined and embittered nobleman. Meanwhile, Bartolo is a representative of the bourgeoisie – there are such people even today. Almaviva represents a noted aristocratic family. Rosina is also an aristocrat, while Figaro is a man who runs his life as he sees fit. Berta is her master’s favourite servant, who suddenly finds herself in disgrace. So I am telling the audience a story about their lives which is also close to them. Therefore you have to have the element of a miracle – because today, especially, we need hopes and dreams. I want to tell an unusual story so that I can talk about everyday things. And so I select elements from all ages and times that can help me tell this story.

You have already worked with our company and you know many of the performers and what they are capable of. Who supervised the casting of the singers for this production – you or the Mariinsky Theatre?
Larisa Gergieva and I both worked on the casting. And I particularly asked her for the role of Rosina and the Count to be performed by young singers. So both the Count and Rosina will be very young, and Bartolo will be much older in order that the characters seem real as well as comical. I recommended Edem Umerov for the role of Bartolo. I absolutely adore working with Mariinsky Opera soloists because together we can do everything. They can get deep under the skins of their characters. And if they perform with real inspiration the story will take on new life... They are true artistes.

Speaking with Nadezhda Koulygina


From 24 to 30 October the Concert Hall of the Mariinsky Theatre will be hosting the II International Organ Festival featuring acclaimed European musicians. An interview with one festival participant, the virtuoso improviser and world renowned composer Thierry Escaich, is now available

From 24 to 30 October the Concert Hall of the Mariinsky Theatre will be hosting the II International Organ Festival featuring acclaimed European musicians. An interview with one festival participant, the virtuoso improviser and world renowned composer Thierry Escaich, is now available.

– What does the organ mean to you? Why did you opt for it of all musical instruments?
Over the course of recent centuries the organ has been closely connected with composition. It is a polyphonic instrument with its tremendous richness of colours and incredibly refined nuances – the more so as it is performed by just one person. And so it is entirely logical that for me (and for my great predecessors including Mendelssohn, Franck, Vierne and Messiaen) the organ came to be a kind of unique laboratory where the composer can study the architecture of sound before approaching the composition of orchestral music or assimilating other instruments. One dazzling example of such comes with Bruckner and his symphonies that were performed on the organ.

– Which composer is closest to you in spirit? And why?
However paradoxical it may sound, several composers that are very close to me in terms of spirit never ever played the organ – or at least they dedicated little attention to the instrument. Significantly, I have been inspired by Béla Bartók with his Beethoven-like sense of form, rhythmic fugues and research into folk music of various countries. I also really value the incredible melodic virtuosity of Tchaikovsky and the Impressionistic orchestral colours of Ravel. It is interesting that in truly discovering these composers it helped me select my own organ performing style. And so, when I improvise, these composers become my guides, they make me go beyond the confines of the instrument and make maximum use of its possibilities in order not to destroy the musical fabric that inspires me (regardless of the fact that it may have nothing in common with the organ itself).

– You are known for your improvisations. Could you please tell us something about their charms and complexities?
Improvisation is the creation of music here and now. But that doesn’t mean that the public’s fingers are open to jests and merriment. Quite the reverse. In this genre you have to think several steps in advance, you have to create harmonies and rhythms in a few milliseconds before your fingers perform it; you have to form the structure of musical speech as if it were in words – and, at the same time, you have to observe impulsive and feverish bursts that characterise any improvisation.
The true art of improvisation lies in not losing the freedom of expression even when using complex and ideally refined musical language.

– What is the meaning of creativity for you?
We are all creators: when working with sound material (albeit background, melodies or harmonic colour etc.) we see it through the prism of our own identity and we convey this to subsequent generations in a new format. We don’t have to strive to be “new”: any true creative beginning starts with powerful individuality combined with total and absolute mastery in all fields of composition. Johann Sebastian Bach, whose compositions open the current Organ Festival, never negated the music of the past. He merely transformed it, uniting different styles and trends. Thus emerged the new concept of the fugue – more concertante, at times even dance-like, with an ideal balance of harmony and counterpoint and a new approach to the instrument... And all of this was attained via stormy and comet-like inspiration.

– Has your attitude to your work changed with time? And, if yes, how so?
Of course – in my first works I strove first and foremost for musical expressionism, trying to achieve maximal expression of sound (a fine example is my Organ Concerto No 1 which has been performed for several seasons at the Concert Hall of the Mariinsky Theatre), while in more recent works I have essentially focussed on the colour of sound and its movements over the general orchestral fabric. One example of my new creative style is my symphonic poem for organ and orchestra Barque solaire, which I had the honour to perform at the same venue three years ago under the baton of Valery Gergiev.

– What can we expect from the Organ Festival this year? Are there any surprises to delight the public?
Of course, there will be performances of works by undoubted classics such as Bach, Mendelssohn and Franck – meaning all three organist-composers who began with the organ and only subsequently composed their timeless orchestral and vocal masterpieces. But we will also hear the organ-orchestra, or arrangements for organ of music by highly diverse composers, from Ravel and Strauss to Messiaen. At these recitals one understands the precise rhythm of the instrument as well as its rich scale of musical colours... Finally there will be contemporary organ music at the festival, with works by classical contemporary composers including Mikael Tariverdiev and Rolande Falcinelli (who, apropos, was one of the greatest French tutors of the 20th century), and even jazz compositions which will demonstrate that the organ is more than a mere church instrument but rather an accompanist to various elements of our lives. The performance of such varied music is thanks to the incredibly rich sound abilities afforded by the organ of Alfred Kern&Fils, on which all of the festival’s participants will perform.
And yet another significant event of the year: I will be performing an improvised accompaniment to a silent film – as in the early days of cinema. This project will be a memoir of the great tradition of the use of organs in cinemas, when the accompaniment to films was provided by such great composers as Saint-Saëns and Olivier Messiaen.
Speaking with Svetlana Nikitina


On 14 and 15 October the Mariinsky Theatre will be hosting the first ever St Petersburg tour by the Beijing Opera with two productions – The Legend of the White Snake and Lady Mu Guiying Takes Command

On 14 and 15 October the Mariinsky Theatre will be hosting the first ever St Petersburg tour by the Beijing Opera with two productions – The Legend of the White Snake and Lady Mu Guiying Takes Command.

The performances mark one hundred and twenty years since the birth of Mei Lanfang – a performer who even during his own lifetime became a legend thanks to his performance of “dan” roles (female parts). His performing style led to the emergence of a theatre art school – the Mei School, an oriental system of theatre art which, alongside the Russian Stanislavsky system and the German Brecht system, forms the triad of great theatre schools. Following performances by the Beijing Opera Company under Mei Lanfang in the 1920s and 30s in Japan and the USA, Beijing opera began to be performed throughout the world, while in 2010 Beijing opera as a style of Chinese art was listed in UNESCO’s cultural legacy register.

The history of Beijing opera began in 1790, when four theatre companies from the province of Anhui came to Beijing and performed to commemorate the Emperor’s eightieth birthday. Beijing opera was for both the Imperial Court and the common man. Initially Beijing opera was only performed by men, though women were allowed to appear on the stage from 1870. From 1860 the Beijing Opera Company performed throughout China, and by the close of the 19th century it had become the country’s most popular art form.

Mariinsky Media will be broadcasting the Beijing Opera Company’s performances live. The broadcasts are available on the websites www.mariinsky.tv and www.mariinsky.fm

On 8 October Oleg Demchenko will make his debut as Nurali in the ballet The Fountain of Bakhchisarai

On 8 October Oleg Demchenko will make his debut as Nurali in the ballet The Fountain of Bakhchisarai.

The ballet The Fountain of Bakhchisarai was first staged eighty years ago, on 28 September 1934. In this production, which heralded the start of a new movement in Russian ballet – so-called drama-ballet – the production team achieved a harmonious combination of dance and pantomime that is rare. Revealing the depth of Alexander Pushkin’s poem, choreographer Rostislav Zakharov did not stint in the dance characteristics of the world of Polish Princess Maria and the Crimean Khan Ghirei, Nurali – Ghirei’s military commander – is one of the most danceable roles in ballet. It is Nurali who is the main performer of the temperamental Tatar dance, in which the warrior dedicated to the khan attempts to dispel his master’s gloomy thoughts. In this role, Oleg Demchenko will have to demonstrate not just technique – precision, speed and leaps – but also a fiery temperament and the passionate dance that makes Nurali stand alone among the Tatar warriors.

On 7 October The Fountain of Bakhchisarai will see debuts by graduates of the Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet who are now members of the Mariinsky Ballet – Shamala Guseinova will be appearing as a Polish Maiden and Nail Yenikeyev will be dancing the solo in the Cracovienne for the first time.