The new season at the Mariinsky Theatre and the Concert Hall

In the 2011–2012 season at the Mariinsky Theatre and the Concert Hall audiences will be presented with a huge variety of interesting concert programmes, opera and ballet premieres, performances by acclaimed ballet and opera stars and symphony and chamber music.


Concert Hall

In October the Concert Hall will present the recital series Performances by Prize-Winners of the XIV Tchaikovsky Competition. Valery Gergiev has already presented the prize-winners to audiences in London. In St Petersburg the series of performances by winners of the Tchaikovsky Competition opens on 10 October with one of the youngest competitors – the pianist Seong Jin Cho. He will be performing works by Frédéric Chopin and Musorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition.

On 16 October the baton passes on to cellist Edgar Moreau, recipient of the 2nd prize. Edgar Moreau’s recital programme will feature sonatas by Ludwig van Beethoven, Frédéric Chopin and Dmitry Shostakovich, Gabriel Fauré’s Élégie and Niccolò Paganini’s Variations on One String. That evening the piano part will be performed by Pierre-Yves Hodique.

The next concert in the series Performances by Prize-Winners of the XIV Tchaikovsky Competition will take place on 21 October and will feature the recipient of the 1st prize, cellist Narek Hakhnazaryan, who has given dazzling performances with the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra in Yerevan and with the London Symphony Orchestra in the British capital. His programme includes sonatas by Dmitry Shostakovich and Ludwig van Beethoven, Three Pieces by Robert Schumann, Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Vocalise and Niccolò Paganini’s virtuoso Variations.

26 October will see a recital by Daniil Trifonov, recipient of the 1st prize (piano), the Grand Prix, the Prize for the Best Performance with a Chamber Orchestra and the Audience Prize, featuring works by Frédéric Chopin and Franz Liszt. The sheer number of awards Daniil Trifonov took at the Tchaikovsky Competition alone bears witness to the fact that the audience can look forward to an outstanding performance.

For the new season the Concert Hall has begun two new theme series. One of them – Best Premieres of the White Nights – includes the most exciting productions of the  Stars of the White Nights festival staged at the Concert Hall over the years: Daniele Finzi Pasca’s production of Giuseppe Verdi’s Aida, Claudia Solti’s production of Benjamin Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Alexei Stepanyuk’s production of Rodion Shchedrin’s The Enchanted Wanderer as well as concert performances of the operas L’Heure espagnole by Maurice Ravel and La vida breve by Manuel de Falla under the baton of a rising star conductor – Pablo Heras-Casado. The Spanish conductor’s potential was spotted early in his career by Péter Eötvös and Pierre Boulez, who proclaimed Heras-Casado the winner of the Lucerne Conducting Competition in 2007. Heras-Casado’s interests include contemporary and early music. Last season he conducted John Adams’ Nixon in China at the Canadian Opera Company and Kurt Weill’s Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny at the Teatro Real. The performance at the Concert Hall will mark Heras-Casado’s debut in Russia.

The second series is Words and Music: a Wonderful Dialogue. This will feature works for chorus and orchestra ranging from George Frideric Handel’s The Messiah, which will be conducted by Valery Gergiev, to Gabriel Fauré’s Requiem and César Franck’s Symphony under the baton of renowned French conductor Marc Minkowski.

In another concert in this series – a performance of Felix Mendelssohn’s Elijah – young conductor Michael Francis will be making his debut with the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra, having already earned a reputation through concerts with the London Symphony and New York Philharmonic Orchestras. Young Chinese bass Shenyang, winner of the BBC Wales – Cardiff Singer of the World competition who will be appearing as a soloist in  Elijah, is currently frequently engaged for performances at the Metropolitan Opera.

In the first months of the season, the Concert Hall will be presenting the best repertoire productions and renowned performers on tour. In October the Russian National Orchestra will be performing at the hall for the first time under Mikhail Pletnev. There will be solo recitals by the subtle, intellectual and pensive pianist Alexei Volodin and the charismatic young violinist Sergey Khachatryan, who will be performing a programme of Bach including the composer’s Second and Third Partitas and Second Sonata.

The majestic Olga Borodina, the theatre’s magnificent mezzo-soprano, will be performing a highly anticipated solo recital at the hall.

In November the Concert Hall will welcome the Artemis Quartet chamber orchestra (Berlin) for the first time. According to the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, “of all the good quartets of an international standard, the Artemis Quartet is the best.” In St Petersburg the musicians will be performing string quartets by Joseph Haydn, Béla Bartók and Maurice Ravel.

For the new season, the Concert Hall has launched an organ subscription series, inviting the world’s great organists to participate. Among those coming to St Petersburg are Colin Andrews, Benjamin Alard, Pieter van Dijk, Kevin Bowyer and Sietze de Vries.

To mark its seventy-fifth anniversary, at the Concert Hall the Urals Academic Philharmonic Orchestra will be presenting a subscription series under the baton of Dmitry Liss, while Vladimir Minin will be conducting the Moscow State Academic Chorus, which this season celebrates forty years since it was founded.

In the new season the Concert Hall will host performances by violinists Vadim Repin, Renaud Capuçon and Rainer Honeck as well as pianists Nicholas Angelich, Nelson Freire and Boris Berezovsky. There will also be a concert conducted by Kurt Masur to replace the one due to take place during the  Stars of the White Nights festival in 2011 which was cancelled due to the maestro’s being ill.

Mariinsky Theatre

On 3 and 4 October the Mariinsky Theatre will be presenting the dance project Push, the result of a collaboration between Sylvie Guillem – one of the present day’s greatest ballerinas – and Russell Maliphant. The project has been hailed throughout the world and has won numerous prestigious theatre awards.

As part of the  Year of Italy in Russia, in late October the Mariinsky Theatre will be welcoming the oldest opera company in Europe – Naples’ Teatro di San Carlo. There will be two performances of Ruggero Leoncavallo’s opera I pagliacci (production by Daniele Finzi Pasca and his team) and the tour will close with a Verdi gala.

In November, as part of the  Year of Spain and Russia, Spain’s Ballet Nacional will be performing at the Mariinsky Theatre. During this tour St Petersburg audiences will have the opportunity to see renowned Spanish dancer Mariemma’s ballet Danza y tronío and Fernando Romero’s Caprichos.

On 31 October and 26 November the Mariinsky Theatre will be hosting the final performances of Laurent Pelly’s production of Gaetano Donizetti’s opera L’elisir d’amore (co-production of the Opéra de Paris and the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden). On 31 October lyric tenor Daniil Shtoda will be making his debut as Nemorino. On 26 November, Anna Netrebko will be performing the role of Adina in the final performance of the opera.

In late October and in November the theatre will be presenting Diana Vishneva’s new programme – Dialogues – which will feature one-act ballets by Martha Graham and John Neumeier and a duet by Nederlands Dans Theater’s resident choreographers Paul Lightfoot and Sol León. St Petersburg audiences are already familiar with Martha Graham’s classic American modern dance ballet Errand into the Maze, but they will be seeing John Neumeier’s Dialogue and Lightfoot and León’s Subject to Change for the first time. Paul Lightfoot will be coming to St Petersburg in person to supervise rehearsals.

The first opera premiere of the new season will be Jacques Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann, to be staged by Vasily Barkhatov and designed by Zinovy Margolin, on 27 December, while on 21 January 2012 there will be a premiere of Charles Gounod’s Faust.

One of the most eagerly anticipated premieres of the season is the classic musical My Fair Lady by Frederick Loewe, to be staged by Robert Carsen (together with the Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris). It is planned for 17, 18 and 19nbsp;February. The premiere of this production in Paris last season was a tremendous success – the public gave it standing ovations and critics lavished praise on the richness of the designs and the wittiness and lack of frivolity of the stage director, comparing the production with the finest Broadway musicals.

The theatre will be staging Claude Debussy’s opera Pelléas et Mélisande for the first time; it will be directed by Daniel Kramer, who made a successful debut at the Mariinsky Theatre with his production of Béla Bartók’s opera Duke Bluebeard’s Castle. The premiere performances of Debussy’s opera are due to take place on 12 and 13 April 2012.

On 25 May 2012 Graham Vick will present his new version of Modest Musorgsky’s Boris Godunov (co-production with the Festspielhaus in Baden-Baden).

Valery Gergiev will be the conductor and musical director of the premieres.

The International Ballet Festival MARIINSKY (22 March – 1 April 2012) will see the premiere of George Balanchine’s ballet A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The festival will open with a gala concert of ballet stars who were trained by the legendary teacher Gennady Naumovich Selyutsky. Among those taking part will be Igor Zelensky, Farukh Ruzimatov, Leonid Sarafanov, Yevgeny Ivanchenko and Danila Korsuntsev.

The anniversary XX Stars of the White Nights Music Festival will run from 25 May to 15 July 2012. To mark its twentieth anniversary, the festival will bring together musicians that have been connected with its history and its most acclaimed events to date, among them violinists Vadim Repin, Nikolaj Znaider and Leonidas Kavakos, pianists Denis Matsuev, Rudolf Buchbinder and Yefim Bronfman (the latter to appear at the Stars after a lengthy interval) and opera stars Willard White and Ferruccio Furlanetto. Making their debuts at the festival will be violinist Janine Jansen, pianist Hélène Grimaud and Scots composer and percussionist Evelyn Glennie. The festival’s guest orchestra will be the Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala, which will be conducted by both maestro Gergiev and Fabio Luisi, the Metropolitan Opera’s second Principal Guest Conductor (after Valery Gergiev). Detailed plans of the festival will be announced at a later date.

Mariinsky label

Following the stunning success of the disc Wagner: Parsifal, the Mariinsky label will continue work on recording Richard Wagner’s tetralogy Der Ring des Nibelungen: Die Walküre has already been recorded and next in line is Das Rheingold.

The label also plans to record another grandiose music score – Hector Berlioz’ opera Les Troyens, performances of which on tour in Rotterdam, New York, Tokyo, Yekaterinburg and Moscow met with tremendous enthusiasm from the public and critics alike.

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