16.04.2014
Our congratulations to Ernest Latypov on his victory at the Yekaterina Maximova Arabesque – 2014 Ballet Competition in Perm

Our congratulations to Ernest Latypov on his victory at the Yekaterina Maximova Arabesque-2014 Ballet Competition in Perm.

The Mariinsky Ballet dancer was named a laureate of the international competition and received second prize in the category “Ballet Dancer”. Moreover, the jury also selected Ernest in the contemporary choreography competition – he received second prize for his performance of the miniature Prometheus (choreography by Emil Faski).

Gennady Selyutsky, Ernest Latypov’s coach, received a special diploma as “Coach of a Competition Participant”.

14.04.2014
15–20 April 2014 at the Concert Hall and the Mariinsky II there will be thirteen concerts featuring seventeen pianists

15–20 April 2014 at the Concert Hall and the Mariinsky II there will be thirteen concerts featuring seventeen pianists.

The Mariinsky Theatre is presenting the latest International Piano Festival; there will be concerts with the Mariinsky Orchestra under the baton of Valery Gergiev and recitals by talented musicians from different generations and schools – each of them vivid personalities in piano music today. For the first time, festival concerts will also be held at the chamber venues of the Mariinsky II.

The current festival will focus on the piano music of Bach and Beethoven, though it will not be limited by any chronological framework, also featuring such Romantic composers as Chopin, Schumann and Liszt as well as Scarlatti, Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Musorgsky, Rachmaninoff, Scriabin, Britten, Foster and Hindemith.

As always, the current festival will see concerts by acclaimed Russian and international pianists.
Returning to the festival will be the pianist Yevgeny Korolyov who enjoys a reputation as one of the finest interpreters of Bach and Mozart. Korolyov does not enchant his audiences with visual effects, instead conveying to them his deep understanding of the works he performs. He trained under several outstanding performers and teachers – at the Central School of Music in Moscow he studied under Anna Artobolevskaya as well as under Genrikh Neigauz and Maria Yudina, while at the Moscow Conservatoire his teachers included Lev Oborin and Lev Naumov. In 1978 Korolyov moved to Hamburg where he currently teaches at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater.
The musician also appears together with the pianist Ljupka Hadzi-Georgieva. This is a duo that has stood the test of time – they have performed together in concerts since 1976. The duo of Yevgeny Korolyov and Ljupka Hadzi-Georgieva has won prizes at several international competitions, with each musician also enjoying independent recital and teaching careers. In St Petersburg they will be performing a programme of Bach concerti for one, two, three and four pianos with orchestra (15 April, Concert Hall).

Yulianna Avdeeva is already well known to St Petersburg audiences, including from appearances at the Concert Hall. Broader acclaim came to the pianist following her sensational win at the International Frédéric Chopin Competition in Warsaw in 2010. Her recital at the festival features a series of preludes by Frédéric Chopin, Franz Liszt’s sonata Après une Lecture du Dante and works by Franz Schubert (17 April, Concert Hall).

For the first time, the piano festival will see a performance by Italian pianist Andrea Lucchesini with a programme of four sonatas by Domenico Scarlatti, four impromptus by Franz Schubert and Ludwig van Beethoven’s Thirtieth and Thirty-First Sonatas (18 April, 20:00, Concert Hall).

The festival affords a repeat opportunity to hear the acclaimed Brazilian pianist Nelson Freire. Freire will be performing the solo in Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Fourth Piano Concerto with the Mariinsky Orchestra under Valery Gergiev (19 April, 20:00, Concert Hall). This concert forms part of the XIII Moscow Easter Festival programme.

St Petersburg audience favourite Miroslav Kultyshev will be performing Frédéric Chopin’s Twenty-Four Études and Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s Grand Piano Sonata at his recital (20 April, 15:00, Concert Hall).

Also appearing at the festival will be the Mariinsky Theatre’s frequent guests Denis Matsuev who will be performing the solo in Alexander Scriabin’s Prométhée (19 April, 15:00, Concert Hall) and Alexei Volodin who will present a unique piano marathon by performing – in one evening – all of Ludwig van Beethoven’s piano concerti (20 April, 19:00, Concert Hall).

In line with tradition, the festival will present students from one school – this time it will be pupils of Yevgeny Korolyov’s class at Hamburg’s Hochschule für Musik und Theater who will be appearing in two concerts: on 15 April together with their teacher in a programme of keyboard concerti by Johann Sebastian Bach as well as in a concert on 19 April with the Mariinsky Orchestra under Valery Gergiev.
Varvara Nepomnyashchaya graduated from the Moscow Conservatoire (class of Mikhail Voskresensky). Subsequently studied under Yevgeny Korolyov in Hamburg. Has been a prize-winner at several international competitions and frequently tours. She will perform Frédéric Chopin’s First Piano Concerto (19 April, 15:00, Concert Hall).

Adam Laloum began to study under Yevgeny Korolyov after graduating from the Conservatoire National de Paris. Prize-winner at the International Clara Haskil Piano Competition. Trained under Dmitry Bashkirov and Paul Badura-Skoda. Also performs with chamber ensembles and frequently tours. He will be performing Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Piano Concerto No 24 (19 April, 15:00, Concert Hall).

After graduating from the Rostov State Rachmaninoff Conservatoire Anna Vinnitskaya trained under Yevgeny Korolyov at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Hamburg where she currently teaches. The pianist appeared at the Mariinsky Theatre during the last International Piano Festival. Anna Vinnitskaya’s awards include 1st prize at the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels (2007). The pianist has produced recordings on France’s Naïve label which have received prizes from Classica magazine and ECHO Klassik. She will be performing the solo in Bach’s Keyboard Concerto in F Minor (15 April, 19:00, Concert Hall).

After graduating from the Moscow Conservatoire Stepan Simonian began a postgraduate study at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Hamburg under Yevgeny Korolyov. Simonian has won prizes at numerous international competitions and frequently performs in recital. Teaches at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Hamburg. At the festival he will be performing the solo in Bach’s Keyboard Concerto in A Major (15 April, 19:00, Concert Hall).

In addition to recitals and concerts with orchestra, the current festival will present chamber duets: violin with piano and voice with piano. For the second time the festival will feature the duet of pianist Mira Yevtich and tenor Andrew Goodwin. This time the concert programme includes the incredibly famous yet unfortunately very rarely performed – in Russia – vocal cycle Dichterliebe by Schumann as well as Beethoven’s song Adelaide, Britten’s vocal cycle Who Are These Children? and romances by Foster (16 April, Concert Hall).
Mira Yevtich is one of the founders of the International Piano Festival. Born in Belgrade, as a talented youngster she was sent to study at the Central School of Music of the Moscow Conservatoire. Graduated from the Moscow Conservatoire (class of Stanislav Neuhaus). Has taught at the Sydney Conservatorium and the St Petersburg Conservatoire. Has frequently served as a jury member at international competitions. Since 2007 the Southern Highlands International Piano Competition (New South Wales, Australia) which she established has taken place every two years. Mira Yevtich has performed in recital since 1980. Frequently tours. Has an extensive discography. Currently lives in Italy and France.
The duet of pianist Alexander Kobrin and violinist Roman Mints will be performing four violin sonatas by Paul Hindemith. Alexander Kobrin has been compared by several music critics to Van Cliburn, which characterises the pianist as one of the most vivid representatives of the young generation of the Russian piano school. Prize-winner at several prestigious international competitions and winner of the Van Cliburn Competition in 2005. Graduated from the Moscow Conservatoire (class of Lev Naumov). Lives in the USA and teaches at the Steinhardt School of Music of the New York University (18 April, 16:00, Musorgsky Hall, Mariinsky II).

The festival programme will include a lecture for the first time. It will be delivered by Maya Pritsker, a music historian and critic and author of articles and educational cultural programmes. Since 1991 Maya Pritsker has lived in New York. She works for RTN television as well as delivering lectures about Russian and world culture in Russian and English. Pritsker’s lectures take place at the Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, international festivals and the universities of Harvard, Princeton, Columbia and Yale.
For fifteen years she has been the editor of the culture section of the newspaper The New Russian Word which was founded on her initiative. Regularly works with other publications and has produced myriad articles, reviews, interviews and programme annotations. The theme of her lecture in St Petersburg is Piano Music or Pianists: The Audience Chooses (17 April, 16:00, Shchedrin Hall, Mariinsky II).

The festival will make use of the chamber venues at the Mariinsky II. Several festival programmes in the familiar format of “Music Hour” will be held at the Mariinsky II’s chamber venues. Ludwig van Beethoven’s last two sonatas will be performed by Irina Berkovich, a graduate of the Moscow Conservatoire (class of Yakov Flier), prize-winner at the International Bach Competition in Leipzig and a teacher at the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance (15 April, 16:00, Prokofiev Hall).

The programme for Aleksandar Serdar’s “Music Hour” includes all of Frédéric Chopin’s ballades and impromptus (16 April, 16:00, Prokofiev Hall). Serbian pianist Aleksandar Serdar has been a prize-winner at numerous international competitions including those in Palm Beach and Cincinnati (USA) and Monza, Vercelli and the Carlo Zecchi Competition (Italy). He also took 4th prize at the International Arthur Rubinstein Competition in Tel Aviv. Graduated from the Academy of Arts in Novi Sad and received his master’s degree from the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore (class of Leon Fleisher). The pianist then furthered his studies under Sergio Perticaroli at the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome. Serdar currently teaches piano in Serbia at the Belgrade Academy of Arts and at the faculty of arts of the University of Niš. The pianist’s debut CD was released in 1988 by EMI Classics.

Finnish pianist Uki Ovaskainen studied at the Sibelius Academy under Hui-Ying Liu-Tawaststjerna and at Copenhagen’s Royal Academy of Music under Jose Ribera. In 2006 he entered Hannover’s Hochschule für Musik und Theater (class of Matti Raekallio). Moreover, he has attended master-classes conducted by Pnina Salzman, András Schiff, Charles Rosen and Yahli Wagman.

Uki Ovaskainen appears as a soloist and with chamber ensembles and takes part in numerous music festivals. In 2007 at the Premio Jaén competition in Spain he took 1st prize, the Special Prize for the best performance of a contemporary work and the Audience Award for his performance of Beethoven’s Fifth Piano Concerto.
His St Petersburg concert features works by Robert Schumann – the Fantasie for Piano and Études symphoniques (17 April, 18:00, Prokofiev Hall).

The chamber series at the venues of the Mariinsky II will come to a close with Alexander Kobrin’s Music Hour featuring a programme of piano music by Johannes Brahms and Modest Musorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition (20 April, 17:00, Prokofiev Hall).

11.04.2014
On 13 April at the gala concert of the Mariinsky ballet festival there will be a performance of Balanchine’s Symphony in C. This annual event – being run by the theatre for the thirteenth time – and its closing gala concert both strive not just to introduce Russian audiences to touring performers but also to showcase all that is great in the Mariinsky Ballet today – the varied repertoire, its new productions, stars, soloists and the corps de ballet

On 13 April at the gala concert of the Mariinsky ballet festival there will be a performance of Balanchine’s Symphony in C. This annual event – being run by the theatre for the thirteenth time – and its closing gala concert both strive not just to introduce Russian audiences to touring performers but also to showcase all that is great in the Mariinsky Ballet today – the varied repertoire, its new productions, stars, soloists and the corps de ballet.

Symphony in C is an ideal vehicle for showing off the company’s skills: the four movements of the ballet are performed by four pairs of soloists, and this ballet offers an opportunity for the company to shine and deal with the incredibly complex fioritura pas assemblés battus in the allegros and proudly and majestically “soar” in the adagio. Festival galas invariably feature the company’s top dancers – both already acclaimed and rising stars. To be making a debut in such a gala is quite an honour. On 13 April the lead female role in the second movement of Symphony in C will be performed by Oxana Skorik for the first time, with Yaroslav Pushkov making his debut as one of the soloists in the same movement. Nadezhda Batoeva, Kimin Kim, Yulia Stepanova and Andrei Arseniev will be making their debuts in the third movement and Viktoria Brilyova in the fourth.

11.04.2014
On 13 April bass Ilya Bannik will perform the role of Banco in Giuseppe Verdi’s opera Macbeth for the first time (production by David MacVicar)

On 13 April bass Ilya Bannik will perform the role of Banco in Giuseppe Verdi’s opera Macbeth for the first time (production by David MacVicar).

Ilya Bannik’s stage career began with the Mariinsky Academy of Young Opera Singers, following which – having won prizes at various international competitions – he became a soloist with the Mariinsky Opera, performing several lead bass roles with the company to great acclaim. In the 2013-2014 season the singer made his debut as Ferrando (Il trovatore), again successfully demonstrating his brilliant command of the Verdian performing style.
In the opera Macbeth the soloist will be appearing as Banco, a general in Duncan’s army to whom the three Witches reveal his destiny: “Non re, ma di monarchi genitore!” (Thou shalt get kings, though thou be none.). Macbeth, who the Witches prophesy will ascend the throne of Scotland, resolves to secure his future heirs’ right to the throne from those of Banco and employs hired assassins to get rid of him.

10.04.2014
On 14 April at 16:00 we are delighted to invite you to the Shchedrin Hall at the Mariinsky II for a premiere press-screening of Anna Matison’s film During the Journey. The lead roles are enacted by Valery Gergiev and Konstantin Khabensky

Dear Colleagues,

On 14 April at 16:00 we are delighted to invite you to the Shchedrin Hall at the Mariinsky II for a premiere press-screening of Anna Matison’s film During the Journey. The lead roles are enacted by Valery Gergiev and Konstantin Khabensky.
The ninety-minute feature – based on Sergei Prokofiev’s diaries – was filmed during the XI Moscow Easter Festival which saw performances of all of the composer’s symphonies and piano concerti. The film not only offers the opportunity to discover the music of the prodigious Prokofiev but also to understand and get a sensation of the musician’s complex journey through life. This metaphysical journey is interwoven with the movement of a train and the eternal journeys undertaken by Mariinsky Theatre musicians.
The film’s director draws a parallel, comparing Sergei Prokofiev with Valery Gergiev. It is not by chance that Prokofiev is the maestro’s favourite composer. A life on the road is a life chosen by people who dedicate themselves to music. The genre of the film goes beyond the confines of a typical documentary; it includes acting scenes featuring Konstantin Khabensky. The involvement of this popular actor will make the story of Sergei Prokofiev’s life accessible to a much wider audience.
Director Anna Matison will provide an introduction to her film.

Date/time of the press-screening: 14 April, 16:00
Venue: Mariinsky II, Shchedrin Hall, admission via the main entrance
Accreditation via the Press Service of the Mariinsky Theatre; press@mariinsky.ru, tel. +7-812-7144164

09.04.2014
On 19 April the ballet Spartacus with choreography by Leonid Yakobson will be dedicated to the memory of the famed ballerina Inna Zubkovskaya

On 19 April the ballet Spartacus with choreography by Leonid Yakobson will be dedicated to the memory of the famed ballerina Inna Zubkovskaya.

There were legends about Inna Borisovna Zubvovskaya’s beauty. Nature was generous with her gifts – a beautiful face with huge and expressive eyes, beautiful and feminine lines of the body, dutiful “ballet” legs and enviable dance skills. Zubkovskaya did not rely on her beauty on the stage, instead working on her roles so that her own physical harmony formed part of the beauty of the dance. And when at the very outset of her artistic career the management of the theatre, placing great hopes on the young dancer’s stunning looks, suggested she immediately begin to rehearse the role of Zarema in The Fountain of Bakhchisarai she turned it down, uncertain of her acting skills. Inna Zubkovskaya came to this role later when her skill allowed her to appear alongside other brilliantly-talented Kirov Theatre performers.

Zubkovskaya joined the Leningrad company in 1941 after graduating from the Moscow School of Dance – evacuated together with the Kirov Theatre to Perm, she came to class to keep in professional shape and remained with the Leningrad company for many years to come. At the Kirov Theatre she danced numerous roles – the lyrical Odette and the magnetically alluring Odile, the temperamental Kitri, the tragic Nikia and one of the comical Ugly Sisters in  Cinderella. Her talent was most fully revealed in roles where the character was created by purely dance means, where the dramatic tension was not focussed in just the pantomimic scenes but was danced and conveyed through the expressiveness of her lines, movements and poses. That was why Zubkovskaya became the darling of audiences at ballets by Leonid Yakobson and Yuri Grigorovich. Torn apart by gloomy thoughts as the loving and suffering Mekhmeneh Bahnu in Grigorovich’s The Legend of Love, the poetic bird-maiden Syuimbike who danced with a sense of flight in Yakobson’s Shurale and Phrygia in his Spartacus, with her emotionally sculptural poses relating the tragedy of love... As Phrygia Inna Zubkovskaya was a symbol of this acclaimed production.

Always famed for the beauty of her dance, Inna Borisovna Zubvovskaya taught at the Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet. She inspired her students’ love of dance and trained them to perfection. The names of Zubkovskaya’s students say a great deal – Altynai Asylmuratova, Larisa Lezhnina, Elvira Tarasova, Veronika Part and Yekaterina Osmolkina all graduated from her class. Zubkovskaya passed on her example of impeccable elegance and taste to subsequent dancers, and in these dancers’ and audience’s memories she remains forever the embodiment of a beauty without which the art of ballet is unimaginable.

09.04.2014
On 10 April baritone Alexander Gerasimov will be appearing as Fra Melitone in Giuseppe Verdi’s opera La forza del destino for the first time (production by Elijah Moshinsky)

On 10 April baritone Alexander Gerasimov will be appearing as Fra Melitone in Giuseppe Verdi’s opera La forza del destino for the first time (production by Elijah Moshinsky).

Alexander Gerasimov’s repertoire at the Mariinsky Theatre includes over forty roles. The soloist’s charismatic appearance and brilliant vocal technique allow him to perform any role of any complexity, both heroic and comic, invariably delighting audiences with his performing skills. In the performance on 10 April he will be appearing as the grumbling old monk Fra Melitone.

07.04.2014

In honour of the outstanding ballerina and teacher, on 18 April at the historic Mariinsky Theatre there will be a performance of the ballet Giselle

In honour of the outstanding ballerina and teacher, on 18 April at the historic Mariinsky Theatre there will be a performance of the ballet Giselle

Ninel Petrova was the first performer of the miniature Eternal Spring in Leonid Yakobson’s Rodin-inspired series. The choreographer – as always with an intuitive sense of his dancers’ individual personalities – selected an unusually precise image for the ballerina. With her beautiful and soft lines, in all her roles at the Kirov Theatre she embodied tenderness and delicate femininity and her dance was imbued with watercolour and vernal tones.

Having been brilliantly trained (she graduated from the class of Agrippina Vaganova at the Leningrad School of Dance), Ninel Petrova was not a dancer who strove to demonstrate her virtuoso qualities. At the core of her art lay dance that revealed the inner world of sensitive, loving and suffering characters. Ninel Petrova received her first lessons in acting expressiveness while still at school – at her graduation performance in 1944 she performed the role of Juliet in Leonid Yakobson’s dance version of Romeo and Juliet to music by Pyotr Tchaikovsky, staged especially for her. The choreographer did not retell the tragedy, instead focussing on the emotions of the protagonists. This first experience, demanding emotional intensity and heartfelt passion from the young dancer, was followed by creations of numerous images in Kirov Theatre productions. Giselle, Phrygia in Yakobson’s Spartacus, Nina in Fenster’s Masquerade, Juliet in Lavrovsky’s Romeo and Juliet, Desdemona in Chabukiani’s Otello, Maria in Zakharov’s The Fountain of Bakhchisarai, Katerina in Grigorovich’s The Stone Flower – all images brought to life with impeccable taste on the musical stage, inspired by the dancer and remembered by audiences, leaving no doubt as to the truth of the stories being told. “I was always delighted by her intelligence, sincerity, mind and modesty,” said Tatiana Vecheslova of her pupil, having rehearsed various roles with Petrova.

Once she reached the end of her own performing career, Ninel Petrova demanded sincerity from her students – for many years she was the principal ballet-mistress and coach of the Choreographic Miniatures theatre. Moreover, since 1971 Ninel Petrova has taught at the faculty of ballet directing at the Leningrad (St Petersburg) Conservatoire, and the example of her love and respect for her profession as well as her rich stage experience form a guarantee of the continuity of the traditions of the St Petersburg school of dance.

 
Photo:
• Ninel Petrova as Juliet (Romeo and Juliet, 1950)
• Ninel Petrova as Nina (Masquerade, 1961)
• Ninel Petrova as Phrygia (Spartacus)

Ninel Petrova as Juliet (Romeo and Juliet, 1950)      Ninel Petrova as Nina (Masquerade, 1961)     Ninel Petrova as Phrygia (Spartacus)

04.04.2014
The latest Mariinsky label releases featuring recordings of piano concerti by Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev (soloist – Denis Matsuev) as well as Prokofiev’s Fifth Symphony performed by the Mariinsky Orchestra under Valery Gergiev have received lofty praise from the international press and a series of prestigious awards

The latest Mariinsky label releases featuring recordings of piano concerti by Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev (soloist – Denis Matsuev) as well as Prokofiev’s Fifth Symphony performed by the Mariinsky Orchestra under Valery Gergiev have received lofty praise from the international press and a series of prestigious awards.

The disc with Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s First and Second Piano Concerti, released on 10 February this year, was named “Disc of the Month” by Great Britain’s respected Gramophone magazine. Acclaimed music critic Jeremy Nicholas, who has carefully analysed this album and compared it with dozens of other outstanding interpretations of the past, referred to the disc as “a new landmark in the history of recording” and “a groundbreaking performance”: “Tchaikovsky’s B Flat Minor Concerto has been recorded so many times that you may justifiably ask if we really need another. For an answer, listen to this newcomer. There have been many very great accounts of it (...) but I doubt if you will ever hear it more viscerally thrilling and sumptuously engineered than here. Not to mention the fact that there are essentially no benchmark interpretations on disc of Tchaikovsky’s First and Second Piano Concerti together at all – and that is what we get here, as Matsuev and Gergiev’s interpretation of the Second Piano Concerto is just as impressive. This is a must-have release. Two five-star recordings, so to speak, on one disc.”

The Prokofiev disc (Piano Concerto No 3 and the Fifth Symphony), released on 10 March, was also hailed as “Disc of the Month” by Great Britain’s Classical CD Choice. “It’s hardly surprising that the performance of the concerto on this Mariinsky SACD has such flair and panache – this is, after all, core repertoire for Gergiev and his orchestra. (...) The full-bloodedness of Matsuev/Gergiev seems to me to capture more of the authentic Prokofiev spirit” (Barry Forshaw, http://www.cdchoice.co.uk/).

Another classical music internet portal also praised the recording: “Gergiev and his players show absolute empathy with ‘a symphony glorifying the grandeur of the human spirit’ – to quote the composer – and the combination of the conductor’s focused interpretation and impassioned playing of the Mariinsky Orchestra is most potent” (Graham Williams, SA-CD.net).

     

31.03.2014
The XIV International Ballet Festival Mariinsky will run from 3 to 13 April 2014 at the Mariinsky Theatre and the Mariinsky II and will open with the premiere of the three-act ballet Sylvia to music by Léo Delibes with choreography by Frederick Ashton

Highlights:
• The premiere of Léo Delibes’ ballet Sylvia with choreography by Frederick Ashton
• The St Petersburg premiere of Mariinsky Theatre prima ballerina Diana Vishneva’s new project On the Edge
• Ballets choreographed by Marius Petipa, Lev Ivanov, August Bournonville, Frederick Ashton, George Balanchine, Wayne McGregor, Alexei Ratmansky and Sasha Waltz performed by Mariinsky Ballet soloists and guest stars from the Bolshoi Theatre, the Mikhailovsky Theatre and American Ballet Theatre
• A tour by the Royal Danish Ballet
• Works by young choreographers as part of the Creative Workshop project

The XIV International Ballet Festival Mariinsky will run from 3 to 13 April 2014 at the Mariinsky Theatre and the Mariinsky II. The festival opens with the premiere of the three-act ballet Sylvia to music by Léo Delibes with choreography by Frederick Ashton (3 and 4 April).
The most diverse choreographers have turned to Delibes’ ballet music, paying tribute to the composer’s beautiful score. Pyotr Tchaikovsky spoke of it as the first ballet music worthy of being listened to: “The music is not the main interest, it is the only interest. What beauty, what refinement, what melodic, rhythmic and harmonious wealth!”
The plot of Sylvia is borrowed from the great Italian Renaissance-era poet Torquato Tasso’s pastoral play Aminta, written as a refined stylisation in the spirit of Ancient mythology and glorifying the love of the nymph Sylvia and the shepherd Aminta. The first performance of the ballet took place at the Grand Opéra in Paris on 14 June 1876. Over the past one hundred years Sylvia has been staged on numerous occasions by such choreographers as Léo Staats, Serge Lifar and John Neumeier, while George Balanchine created his concert Sylvia Pas de Deux to Delibes’ music. Ashton staged his production in 1952 for the Royal Ballet in London.
Delibes’ ballet was first tackled at the Mariinsky Theatre in 1900. The idea behind the production belonged to Alexandre Benois. Benois developed a production plan that combined choreography with “high design”; the production was to “convey in movement the complete Hellenic beauty of Delibes’ music.” The sets were designed by Benois, Korovin and Lancere; the sketches for the costumes were undertaken by Serov, Benois and Bakst. Prince Sergei Volkonsky, Director of the Imperial Theatres, commissioned the young Sergei Diaghilev to bring the idea to life; at the time, Diaghilev was an official entrusted with special commissions of the Theatre Board. The proposed choreographers were the young and talented dancers Sergei and Nikolai Legat. However, the production that had been planned with such care failed to materialise. Diaghilev was fired for his arbitrary behaviour, and Sylvia was staged at the Mariinsky Theatre in 1901 in a version by Lev Ivanov and Pavel Gerdt. Nevertheless, the ballet – in which Olga Preobrazhenskaya dazzled and in which Anna Pavlova appeared in a minor role – was a huge success with the public and remained in the repertoire for several seasons. In 1916 Samuil Andrianov staged a new version of the ballet for Tamara Karsavina.
Rehearsing the premiere of Ashton’s production with the Mariinsky Ballet are Anna Trévien, a dance notation specialist from the Royal Ballet in London, and Susan Jones, a coach and ballet mistress with American Ballet Theatre. The lead roles are being rehearsed by Viktoria Tereshkina and Alina Somova (Sylvia), Vladimir Shklyarov and Xander Parish (Aminta) and Yuri Smekalov and Andrei Yermakov (Orion).

The festival’s guest company is the Royal Danish Ballet. The company is bringing Sorella Englund and Nikolaj Hübbe’s production of Napoli after motifs of the choreography by August Bournonville to St Petersburg (10 and 11 April). In this production, the plot has been moved to 1950s Italy.
August Bournonville’s choreography is the “calling card” of the Royal Danish Ballet, and it was Bournonville who established the distinctive tradition of male dance with typical national features in Denmark, raising the Royal Danish Ballet to international standards with its virtuoso qualities.

The programme Diana Vishneva: On the Edge (7 April) continues the Mariinsky Theatre prima-ballerina’s series of independent projects. Vishneva’s previous projects Beauty in Motion and Dialogues have received five Golden Mask awards in different categories. In the project On the Edge the ballerina will continue to assimilate contemporary dance language. The title of the work hints at the project’s core idea – revealing new “edges” or facets of the ballerina’s skill.
The programme for the evening includes two one-act ballets. There is Switch, staged by renowned French choreographer and Director of Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo Jean-Christophe Maillot to music by Oscar-winning American composer Danny Elfman; this production was designed by French artist Alain Lagarde.
Woman in a Room is a ballet by American choreographer Carolyn Carlson. Inspired by the films of Andrei Tarkovsky and the poetry of Arseny Tarkovsky, she created a ballet parable about a woman “turning” the pages of her life, alone in an empty room. For this piece, Carolyn Carlson selected music by the renowned Italian cellist and post-minimalist composer Giovanni Sollima and French composer René Aubry.
Producer: Sergei Danilian.

The festival programme includes one of the theatre’s recent premieres – Wayne McGregor’s Infra (5 April) in the same evening as Alexei Ratmansky’s Concerto DSCH and Sasha Waltz’ Sacre.

One special event of the festival will be the Creative Workshop of Young Choreographers (13 April, 12:00). This project is now in its second year and allows young choreographers to try themselves out and bring their bold ideas to life. The most successful choreographic miniatures may be included in the theatre’s repertoire, as happened last year with Anton Pimonov’s Choreographic Game 3x3. This year audiences will see works by Ilya Zhivoi, Yuri Smekalov, Irina Tolchilshchikova, Vladimir Varnava, Xenia Zvereva, Maxim Sevagin and Maxim Petrov.

The festival closes with a grand gala concert featuring ballet stars, George Balanchine’s Symphony in C and a ballet divertissement including Anton Pimonov’s new work Inside the Lines. In this way, the festival – which opens with a premiere – will conclude with another.

With the support of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation and the Hotel Astoria

For the full programme of the Mariinsky ballet festival, please go to: www.mariinsky.ru

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