“I have great hopes for the next generation of singers who will have the opportunity to perform at the fabled Mariinsky Theatre when still very young, and I wish them every success.”
Valery Gergiev

“Naturally I welcome the concept of the Academy. Its Director Larisa Gergieva is an incredibly experienced vocal accompanist, and experience is everything.”
Dmitri Hvorostovsky

“Being in St Petersburg and working with the Academy of Young Singers has been a great pleasure for me. At the Academy there are many fine voices, and I am sure that they will continue to be cared for in the future.”
Renata Scotto

“Recently Valery asked me to work on an opera at the Mariinsky Theatre. When I finally said “OK” we decided that it would be Il viaggio a Reims. Especially as that opera had never been performed in Russia before. Indeed, it had never been performed anywhere for one hundred and fifty years as it is so complex. But when I came to the first vocal warm-up in St Petersburg I was puzzled: not a single famous soloist, just young singers, students of Larisa. I couldn’t imagine that they could tackle such demanding roles.
The Academy opened a new trend in Russian singing – virtuoso vocals, and that was ground-breaking. It has brought wonderful young singers together. I don’t know how so many of them came to be there. I believe that’s Larisa’s work – she is not just the Academy’s Artistic Director, she’s also a very talented teacher and in many ways the equal of her brother.”
Yuri Bashmet

“The young people’s coaches include super professionals and Mariinsky Theatre soloists (Gergiev doesn’t believe in singing teachers who do not sing themselves). They have toured to the world’s greatest theatres and taken onboard the experience of the schools of the Metropolitan Opera and the Teatro alla Scala… But there is one fundamental difference between them and their foreign counterparts. It’s not even the special family-like atmosphere of care for the young performers (there is also a school for talented seventeen to twenty-year-old “youngsters”). Perhaps the Mariinsky Theatre is the only place where young singers can gain direct access to the stage – at any premiere they are given a chance… The Academy is a branch of the theatre – it is not a “sideline.” Involving young performers to such an extent doesn’t occur anywhere – not at the Budapest Opera, not in San Francisco, not in Geneva, not in Paris.”
Literaturnaya Gazeta

“The “diamond tiara” of the Russian Ball was adorned first and foremost by the skills of the young “stars” of the renowned Mariinsky Theatre – Gelena Gaskarova (soprano) and Andrei Serov (bass-baritone), who were brought to Vienna by Larisa Gergieva, Artistic Director of the Mariinsky Academy of Young Singers. Regardless of their youth, the names and skills of these performers are already known and respected throughout the world. In particular, Gelena Gaskarova, who as well as her stunning voice and wonderful vocal training, is incredibly beautiful, and today foreign impresarios and opera house directors are literally lining up in the hope of engaging her in some new production.
“The presence of the Mariinsky Theatre is incredibly important,” commented Larisa Gergieva in a talk with the ITAR-TASS correspondent, “However you look at it, if it’s a performance by our brilliant orchestra under maestro Valery Gergiev, our ballet company or our singers. It all gives the ball a special feel, a particular mood. There’s another important aspect too. Russia is richly talented and here, in Vienna, famed for its cultural and musical traditions, these young performers will have a new opportunity to make a name for themselves which will help them to develop their careers in the future.
Larisa Gergieva, who is also Artistic Director of the State Opera and Ballet Theatre of the Republic of North Ossetia-Alania, is helping this theatre overcome certain problems at present and her attention fell upon Leyla Kisieva (dramatic soprano), an amazingly gifted singer from Vladikavkaz. This singer was born and grew up in Tskhinvali. She has a unique voice and can tackle the most demanding operatic roles with ease, though she had never been abroad before. She had also never flown in an aircraft before travelling to Vienna and was so exhilarated and happy that she was reduced to tears.”

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