From 27 January to 1 February the Mariinsky Ballet will be appearing at the Kennedy Center in Washington.
For thirteen years the Mariinsky Theatre has staged annual performances at the renowned arts venue in Washington that bears the name of US President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, a famed admirer and patron of the arts who initiated the Center’s construction. The programme for the current visit to the Kennedy Center by the St Petersburg performers comprises one-act ballets. The St Petersburg ballet company together with the orchestra of the Kennedy Center Opera House conducted by Gavriel Heine will be presenting the ballet Le Sacre du printemps staged by Millicent Hodson after motifs of the production by Vaslav Nijinsky, Michel Fokine’s Le Spectre de la rose and The Dying Swan and “Paquita” Grand Pas with choreography by Marius Petipa. In Le Sacre du printemps the role of the Chosen One will be danced by Daria Pavlenko (27, 29 and 31 January (matinee) and 1 February) and Anastasia Petushkova (28, 30 and 31 January (evening)). The Girl in Fokine’s Le Spectre de la rose will be danced by Kristina Shapran (27, 29 and 30 January and 1 February) and Yana Selina (28 and 31 January), while the legendary role of the Ghost of the Rose – created by Vaslav Nijinsky – will be performed by Vladimir Shklyarov (27 January), Kimin Kim (28, 30 and 31 January (evening)), Filipp Stepin (29 January and 1 February) and Ernest Latypov (31 January (matinee)). Fokine’s renowned ballet The Dying Swan will feature Ulyana Lopatkina (27 January), Kristina Shapran (28 and 31 January (matinee)), Oxana Skorik (29 and 31 January (evening)) and Yekaterina Kondaurova (30 January and 1 February). In “Paquita” Grand Pas, American audiences will see the lead roles performed by Ulyana Lopatkina and Yevgeny Ivanchenko (27 January), Yekaterina Kondaurova and Andrei Yermakov (28 and 31 January (matinee)), Anastasia Matvienko and Timur Askerov (29 and 31 January (evening)) and Oxana Skorik and Yevgeny Ivanchenko (30 January and 1 February).
The Mariinsky Orchestra under Valery Gergiev will be presenting a series of concerts of Russian music at major venues in the USA
The Mariinsky Orchestra under Valery Gergiev will be presenting a series of concerts of Russian music at major venues in the USA.
The major USA tour by the Mariinsky Theatre, which has already seen performances of ballets and the opera The Enchanted Wanderer at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York and the Kennedy Center in Washington, continues with performances by the Mariinsky Orchestra under maestro Gergiev. From 24 January to 6 February Valery Gergiev and musicians of the Mariinsky Orchestra will be visiting nine American cities with programmes entirely consisting of masterpieces of Russian classical music of the 19th and 20th centuries – symphony works by Modest Musorgsky, Pyotr Tchaikovsky, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Sergei Prokofiev, Dmitry Shostakovich and Rodion Shchedrin.
“Like my great predecessor Sergei Diaghilev I consider it an incredibly important mission to promote Russian music throughout the world – not just abroad but in Russia’s regions as well. These will be true Russian Seasons. Over the past years and in the coming three or four years we have planned a major series of Russian programmes – operas and symphony music – at top music venues in America. But I don’t want to speak of that in terms of the success of the Mariinsky Theatre, as our success – I consider it the success of the great Russian tradition and such great Russian composers as Rachmaninoff and Stravinsky – acclaimed in America as their own – and Tchaikovsky and Shostakovich,” maestro Gergiev said of the tour’s aim. In New York alone, Mariinsky Theatre performers and Valery Gergiev opened last season at the Metropolitan Opera with Russian operas and at Carnegie Hall with concerts of Russian music; moreover, the Mariinsky Orchestra under maestro Gergiev undertakes a traditional annual tour of American cities with programmes of Russian symphony music.
The Mariinsky Orchestra’s performances open with concerts in Ann Arbor, one of America’s most important university towns. On 24 and 25 January the Hill Auditorium there will be hosting performances of Shostakovich’s Fourth Symphony, Prokofiev’s Third Piano Concerto (soloist – Behzod Abduraimov), Musorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition orchestrated by Ravel, Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto with piano soloist Denis Matsuev and Shchedrin’s First Orchestral Concerto (Mischievous Folk Ditties).
The next two programmes will be presented on 27 and 28 January at Carnegie Hall in New York. These appearances will be key events in the Mariinsky Orchestra’s tour of the USA. The concert on 28 January, which features Shchedrin’s First Orchestral Concerto (Mischievous Folk Ditties), Tchaikovsky’s Second Piano Concerto and Prokofiev’s Fifth Symphony will be broadcast on-line by Medici TV.
The broadcast begins at 20:00 EST (GMT-5:00) on 28 January and may be accessed via the link vk.cc/3obPs0.
Regardless of its twenty-year-long association with Carnegie Hall, this will be the Mariinsky Theatre’s first live broadcast of a concert on a major specialist channel.
On 29 January the Mariinsky Orchestra will be appearing at the historic concert hall in Troy which was built in 1875 and is famed for its magnificent acoustics. The programme includes Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet fantasy-overture, a suite from Prokofiev’s ballet Romeo and Juliet and Sergei Rachmaninoff’s rarely performed First Symphony.
Having regularly worked with the Mariinsky Orchestra, Ignat Solzhenitsyn will be taking to the conductor’s stand as that evening maestro Gergiev will be at the Metropolitan Opera to conduct one of the first performances of a new production of Iolanta with Anna Netrebko in the title role and leading Mariinsky Opera soloists Alexei Markov as Robert and Alexei Tanovitski (King René) and Bluebeard’s Castle with Mikhail Petrenko as Duke Bluebeard.
On 30 January there will be a key concert by the Mariinsky Orchestra conducted by Valery Gergiev at the Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown to mark the venue’s twentieth anniversary. Maestro Gergiev first visited this venue in early 1994 when it was still being built, even then envisaging the unique acoustic qualities that the new hall would have. During that visit he promised to return with his orchestra and he kept his word: just a few months later the Mariinsky Orchestra under the baton of Valery Gergiev performed at the opening of this music complex, built using donations. Today maestro Gergiev and the Mariinsky Orchestra are honoured guests and participants of the anniversary celebrations.
The concert programme includes Ravel’s orchestration of Musorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, Tchaikovsky’s Second Piano Concerto with soloist Denis Matsuev and Shchedrin’s First Orchestral Concerto (Mischievous Folk Ditties).
The Mariinsky Orchestra then departs for the southern states. On 31 January and 1 February the orchestra’s musicians under Valery Gergiev will be performing at the California Performing Arts in Chapel Hill. The programmes for these evenings include Shostakovich’s Eighth Symphony and Prokofiev’s Third Piano Concerto with Behzod Abduraimov, Prokofiev’s Fifth Symphony and Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto with Denis Matsuev.
The Mariinsky Orchestra’s tour will conclude with performances in four cities in Florida.
On 3 February at the Peabody Auditorium in Daytona Beach there will be a performance of Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet fantasy-overture, a suite from Prokofiev’s ballet Romeo and Juliet and Sergei Rachmaninoff’s First Symphony. Ignat Solzhenitsyn will be conducting.
On 4 February at West Palm Beach the Mariinsky Orchestra under maestro Gergiev will present a programme including Shostakovich’s Eighth Symphony and Prokofiev’s Third Piano Concerto with soloist Behzod Abduraimov.
On 5 February at Hayes Hall in Naples the Mariinsky Orchestra under Valery Gergiev will be performing Ravel’s orchestration of Musorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, Tchaikovsky’s Second Piano Concerto with soloist Denis Matsuev and Prokofiev’s Fifth Symphony.
The playbill for the closing concert on 6 February in Miami includes Ravel’s orchestration of Musorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, Tchaikovsky’s Second Piano Concerto with soloist Denis Matsuev and Shchedrin’s First Orchestral Concerto (Mischievous Folk Ditties).
From 24 January to 6 February Valery Gergiev will be conducting the Mariinsky Orchestra in a series of concerts of Russian music at major venues in the USA. One key event of the tour comes with the Mariinsky Orchestra’s performances on 27 and 28 January at the fabled Carnegie Hall – one of the world’s most prestigious concert venues.
The concert on 28 January – featuring Shchedrin’s First Orchestral Concerto (Mischievous Folk Ditties), Tchaikovsky’s Second Piano Concerto with Denis Matsuev as a soloist and Prokofiev’s Fifth Symphony– will be broadcast live by Medici TV.
The broadcast begins at 20:00 EST (GMT-5:00).
Despite the twenty-year-long period of collaboration between the Mariinsky Theatre and Carnegie Hall, this will be the first live broadcast of a concert on a major arts channel.
On 25 January the performance of Carmen will be dedicated to the memory of Elena Obraztsova
On 25 January the performance of Carmen will be dedicated to the memory of Elena Obraztsova
The great singer Elena Obraztsova was feted as “the finest Carmen of the 20th century”. She was thus hailed as far back as 1975 in Spain. Obraztsova performed this role at theatres in Prague, Budapest, Belgrade, Marseilles, Vienna, Madrid and New York as well as – of course – Moscow and St Petersburg. Speaking of the role, the singer herself said that “My Carmen was born in March 1972 in the Canary Islands in Spain, at the Teatro Pérez Galdós. I never thought I’d sing Carmen, I didn’t see it as a role for me. When I first appeared in the role I really felt it to be a debut. I stopped thinking of myself as a performer, it was as if Carmen’s own soul had entered me. And when, in the final scene, I dropped down after being stabbed by José, I suddenly felt insanely sorry for myself: why should I, such a young woman, have to die? Then, as if half in a dream, I began to hear the shouts and applause of the audience. And that brought me back to reality.”
One of Elena Obraztsova’s final appearances in the role at the Mariinsky Theatre took place in 1997. The performance was conducted by Valery Gergiev and she was partnered by Anna Netrebko as Micaëla and Viktor Lutsyuk as José.
“The Mariinsky’s presentation of The Enchanted Wanderer proved to be one of the more interesting operas in New York so far this season.” American press comments on a performance of Shchedrin’s opera during a tour by the Mariinsky Theatre under the baton of Valery Gergiev to New York
The return of The Enchanted Wanderer to New York did not occur by chance. It is known that Rodion Shchedrin composed the opera following a commission from the renowned American conductor, violinist and composer Lorin Maazel, to whom it is dedicated. Its premiere by the New York Philharmonic under the baton of maestro Maazel took place in 2002 at Avery Fisher Hall. Now, thirteen years later, The Enchanted Wanderer has returned to the USA to be performed by a Russian orchestra in the only extant production ever to be staged (by the Mariinsky Theatre with stage director Alexei Stepanyuk). It comes as no surprise that the performance drew the attention of a veritable army of music critics from various publications and internet portals.
“This was a splendid performance. Much credit goes to Oleg Sychov whose voice has the breadth and depth of a true Russian bass, and he sang and acted with deep feeling and commitment. Kristina Kapustinskaya was also impressive in the demanding role of Grusha, encapsulating piteous pleas and dramatic outbursts. The multi-cast Andrei Popov performed admirably. The chorus evoked and maintained an atmosphere of mysticism and religious conviction. Gergiev maintained a perfect balance between singers and players.” (Lewis M. Smoley, www.classicalsource.com)
Columnist Stephen Raskauskas (www.broadwayworld.com) referred to the Mariinsky Theatre’s production of The Enchanted Wanderer as “one of the more interesting operas in New York so far this season.” He focusses on “Shchedrin’s fascinating score” in which the “music for the solo voices was excellently composed, skillful orchestrations contribute significantly to the drama.” According to the critic, “Alexei Stepanyuk’s minimalist staging did well enough to match Shchedrin’s score. Alexander Orlov’s sets were simple and elegant. Irina Cherednikova’s costumes perfectly complemented Orlov’s sets.” He also noted Oleg Sychov’s “admirable performance” as Ivan Flyagin and Kristina Kapustinskaya’s “impressive” interpretation of the role of Grusha the gypsy, while stating that the “most captivating performer, however, was tenor Andrei Popov, the only performer who – with the combination of his excellent musicianship and stage presence – was able to transport me to the strange world of The Enchanted Wanderer.”
According to Paul Pelkonen (www.super-conductor.blogspot.ru), “The thrilling vocal discovery of the night was mezzo Kristina Kapustinskaya who delivered a magnetic performance. With her flashing eyes and rich, potent instrument, Ms. Kapustinskaya is a potential star of the future.” The critic also spoke about the work of the Mariinsky Chorus which “provided much of the vocal interest in this score.”
Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim (The New York Times) wrote that “Mr. Shchedrin is an orchestrator of considerable skill with an eye for color, and the performance Mr. Gergiev drew from the wonderful Mariinsky Orchestra and Chorus held plenty of individual moments of beauty. The fine cast was led by the rich-voiced bass Oleg Sychov and included the versatile high tenor Andrei Popov in five roles and the jewel-toned mezzo Kristina Kapustinskaya.”
Columnist Eric Simpson (New York Classical Review) also commented on the lofty performance levels of the Mariinsky Orchestra: “The Mariinsky Orchestra under Valery Gergiev has been an ensemble of massive power, achieving searing intensity in its New York appearances, particularly when playing Russian repertoire.”
In characterising the subtlety of the combination of the composer’s idea with the stage director’s embodiment of The Enchanted Wanderer, reviewer Jacob Slattery (www.bachtrack.com) commented that “The flow of the action on stage repeatedly outlined a compounded domino effect, and the architecture for this pattern is clearly built into Shchedrin’s score.” The critic went on to say that “Gergiev has a knack for both selecting originative programming and presenting talented singers in the international spotlight,” fully and convincingly demonstrated by this production and the cast in the Mariinsky’s Enchanted Wanderer.
The Mariinsky Theatre’s tour to New York continues. American critics have given their reviews of the first ballets performed by the St Petersburg dancers.
The ballet part of the tour opened with a series of performances of Swan Lake. “The unparalleled precision of the Mariinsky Ballet’s corps in Swan Lake was rightfully rewarded with the evening’s most thunderous applause. Every tilt of the head, every flick of the wrist, every pose, every hop in arabesque was performed in unison and with perfect musicality,” commented the internet portal broadwayworld.com.
The newspaper The New York Times praised “the exquisitely medieval look of this staging.” “The harmonious colors and vivid period detail of the costumes and sets are lessons from which every other Swan Lake in the world today should learn,” wrote the columnist who went on to say that “Many beauties were evident throughout.” The columnist also noted that “The panache of the ballroom scene’s national dances has real charm”, “The distinction of Mariinsky upper-body carriage and épaulement (...) is delectable” and that “the elegance of legs and feet” and “The sheer drill of the large ensembles is superlative.”
At the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Swan Lake was succeeded by Cinderella. One American critic, familiar with several productions by Alexei Ratmansky, commented that “The whole production shows us that he appreciates how Prokofiev’s ballet is poised between touching romance and biting sarcasm” (The New York Times). Of the performers, the reviewer for Dance Magazine was enchanted by Diana Vishneva in the role of Cinderella: “This ballerina can fill up the stage with a single gesture... Her special quality of tenderness, seen in the tilt of the head or a rolling of the hands, lasts the whole ballet... The illusion was that she was dancing steps she had made up herself. Vishneva fully realized Ratmansky’s vision of a gentle, neglected girl who finds herself through meeting her life partner.”
The writer for the portal broadwayworld.com noted “the delicate sensuality” of the duet of Anastasia Matvienko and Alexander Sergeyev who appeared in the lead roles in the second performance of Cinderella.
On 1 and 6 June the Mariinsky Theatre soloist will be performing the role of Solor in the ballet La Bayadère at the Metropolitan Opera in New York.
The participation of Mariinsky Theatre stars in ABT’s spring season is becoming a tradition – last year there were debuts at the renowned Metropolitan Opera by guest artists Viktoria Tereshkina and Vladimir Shklyarov. This year Kimin Kim will be appearing with American Ballet Theatre in Natalia Makarova’s production of La Bayadère. He will be partnered by Polina Semionova as Nikia and Gillian Murphy as Gamzatti.
In 2014 the world of music widely celebrated one hundred and seventy-five years since the birth of Modest Musorgsky (1839–1881). On the initiative of Valery Gergiev, the whole of March – the month in which the composer was born – was dedicated to Musorgsky’s music. At each of the Mariinsky Theatre’s venues (the historic stage, Concert Hall and the main stage and chamber venues of the Mariinsky II) there was a festival unprecedented in terms of scale which saw performances of all of Musorgsky’s music including the composer’s five operas; moreover, several works were performed on numerous occasions in different versions and editions by various Mariinsky Theatre artists and ensembles.
One musical outcome of the anniversary celebrations was a new release on the Mariinsky label featuring masterpieces by Musorgsky performed by the Mariinsky Orchestra under the baton of maestro Gergiev that were recorded at the Concert Hall of the Mariinsky Theatre in June and October last year as well as in February 2010. The disc includes Musorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition in Maurice Ravel’s harmonious orchestration along with the symphonic fantasy Night on Bald Mountain in the composer’s own original version, which maestro Gergiev particularly admires and promotes across the globe. Moreover, the release includes the finest piece of Musorgsky’s vocal-chamber music – the cycle Songs and Dances of Death (orchestration by Dmitry Shostakovich) interpreted by Ferruccio Furlanetto, the outstanding Italian bass and longstanding partner of the Mariinsky Theatre. On numerous occasions Furlanetto has made known his fondness for Musorgsky’s music and is a rare example of a non-Russian singer who can enchant Russian audiences as Boris Godunov, a role he has performed to great acclaim at both the Mariinsky and Bolshoi Theatres.
The recording of works by Musorgsky is already available in iTunes format, while the Super Audio CD will be released on 9 February. The disc may be pre-ordered on the website of the Mariinsky label, to be mailed by post on 2 February – one week before the official release date.
“Elena was a stunning artist and an amazing partner on-stage. But it is much more important that she was a beautiful person and an outstanding personality, and I am deeply saddened at her death. We sang together a great deal, and she was always full of life with so much effervescent energy. I find it very hard to convey in words what I want to say about her. I truly mourn her and am very sad indeed.”
Carreras performed with Elena Obraztsova on numerous occasions at the most prestigious opera venues, among them the Metropolitan Opera, the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden and the Salzburg Festival where they appeared in various productions of world operatic masterpieces including Don Carlo, Aida and Carmen.
We congratulate ballet dancer Ernest Latypov on his winning The Spirit of Dance award in the category “Rising Star” and female dance teacher Tatiana Alexandrovna Udalenkova on her winning the prize in the category “Teacher”
We congratulate ballet dancer Ernest Latypov on his winning The Spirit of Dance award in the category “Rising Star” and female dance teacher Tatiana Alexandrovna Udalenkova on her winning the prize in the category “Teacher”.
The Spirit of Dance award was established in 1994 on the initiative of the editorial board of Ballet magazine. Since then, its recipients have included outstanding figures in the world of dance and talented young people – dancers, choreographers, teachers, company managers, ballet production designers, critics and festival organisers. The editorial board of the magazine named Ernest Latypov the “Rising Star” of 2014. In the course of the past year Ernest Latypov has learned several lead roles at the theatre, among them Basilio in Don Quixote and Ali and Lankedem in Le Corsaire. Moreover, the young dancer made a name for himself by becoming a prize-winner at the Arabesque 2014 XIII Open Russian Yekaterina Maximova Ballet Dancers’ Competition.
This year the “Teacher” prize went to Tatiana Alexandrovna Udalenkova, who dedicated twenty-five years of her life to the Kirov Theatre. Today, Tatiana Udalenkova is a Professor at the Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet, and she has trained several generations of stars; many of her former students are now members of the Mariinsky Ballet.