Over fifty-two days, the festival presented some one hundred performances and concerts which were attended by over one hundred and fifty thousand people.
Festival premieres included Graham Vick’s production of Modest Musorgsky’s Boris Godunov which had wide public resonance, George Balanchine’s ballet A Midsummer Night’s Dream to music by Felix Mendelssohn with the brilliant soloists Viktoria Tereshkina, Yekaterina Kondaurova, Oxana Skorik, Maria Shirinkina, Timur Askerov and Konstantin Zverev and Daniele Finzi Pasca’s stage version of Giuseppe Verdi’s Requiem. The theatre’s repertoire also saw the return of Igor Stravinsky’s legendary Le sacre du printemps with choreography by Vaslav Nijinsky.
The Stars of the White Nights festival included the New Horizons festival of contemporary classical music at the Concert Hall and the Jaani Kirik Hall. The festival’s playbill listed works by currently living composers from different generations, among them Kancheli, Raskatov, Dutilleux, Tüür, Knaifel, Silvestrov, Frankstein, Shmurak and Ellin as well as such 20th century classics as Scriabin, Stravinsky and Shostakovich. Alexander Raskatov’s music in particular was highly prominent in the festival’s programmes; there were Russian and world premieres of his works, including Three Angels Sang, a work written specially for the festival. The Americana concert at the Jaani Kirik Hall was an event in itself: five American musicians performed miniatures by Cage, Feldman, Davidovsky and Sessions. On the last day of the festival there was a performance of Boris Tishchenko’s Concerto for Solo Cello, Forty-Eight Celli, Twelve Double-Basses and Percussion which caused a veritable furore.
Ballet events at the festival included George Balanchine’s Jewels, Olesya Novikova and Timur Askerov in Balanchine’s Ballet Imperial, Viktoria Tereshkina and Vladimir Shklyarov in “Paquita” Grand Pas, an evening with Ulyana Lopatkina featuring her debut in The Firebird, Maria Shirinkina and Konstantin Zverev’s debuts in Giselle, Olesya Nivikova and Alexander Sergeyev’s debuts in Anna Karenina, Timur Askerov’s debut in La Bayadère, Diana Vishneva in Romeo and Juliet and Viktoria Tereshkina’s debut in The Firebird.
Memorable opera performances and festival concerts included two performances of Khovanshchina featuring Olga Borodina, Vladimir Galouzine, Larisa Diadkova and Sergei Aleksashkin in the lead roles, The Queen of Spades, Turandot and Tosca with Vladimir Galouzine – the title role in Tosca being performed by the dazzling Maria Guleghina, two performances of Attila with Ildar Abdrazakov, Anna Markarova and Maria Guleghina, a concert performance of Berlioz’ Les Troyens with Ekaterina Semenchuk, Mlada Khudoley and Sergei Semishkur and a concert performance of Otello featuring Aleksanders Antonenko, Viktoria Yastrebova, Alexei Markov and Khachatur Badalyan.
The symphony music programme of the festival was constructed around the music of Johannes Brahms. The series All of Brahms’ Symphonies and Instrumental Concerti under the baton of Valery Gergiev saw appearances by such acclaimed musicians as pianists Rudolf Buchbinder and Yefim Bronfman, violinists Alyona Bayeva and Pinchas Zukerman and cellist Amanda Forsyth.
British intellectual pianist Christian Blackshaw presented St Petersburg audiences with the unique chamber series All Mozart Sonatas.
Symphony and chamber music programmes at the Concert Hall saw appearances by actors Chulpan Khamatova and Yevgeny Mironov, pianists Rafał Blechacz, Yuja Wang, Hélène Grimaud, Andrei Korobeinikov, Nikolai Lugansky, Denis Matsuev, Eldar Nebolsin, Alice Sara Ott, Daniil Trifonov, Nobuyuki Tsujii, Igor Tchetuev and Markus Schirmer, violinists Boris Brovtsyn, Leonidas Kavakos, Sergei Krylov and Rainer Honeck, violist Julia Deyneka, cellists Alexander Buzlov, Pavel Gomziakov, Alexander Ivashkin, Ivan Karizna, Gavriel Lipkind and Ivan Monighetti, bayan player Geir Draugsvoll, renowned Scottish percussionist Evelyn Glennie and organists Thierry Escaich and Thomas Trotter.
The Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala gave two concerts at the hall under the baton of Valery Gergiev and Fabio Luisi as part of a tour marking its thirtieth anniversary.
The festival was supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation
The Savings Bank of Russia, Yoko Ceschina, Gazprom and JT International
TOTAL, BP, TeliaSonera, Zarubezhneftestroimontazh Ltd and Vnesheconombank
PricewaterhouseCoopers, MDM Bank, BOMBARDIER and AFK Sistema
Sponsor of the Grand Gala Concert: EVROFINANCE MOSNARBANK
Sponsor of the festival and concert on 22 June 2012: MONTBLANC
Partners of the festival: The Hennessy Social and Cultural Foundation and PepsiCo