Sergei Prokofiev’s War and Peace returns to the Mariinsky Theatre six years on...

On 19 and 20 October, the Mariinsky Theatre will be presenting Andrei Konchalovsky’s sensational production of the opera War and Peace three times following a lengthy absence from the repertoire. The first performance will be conducted by Valery Gergiev, with the subsequent two performances on 20 October being conducted by Pavel Smelkov.

The production has had unheard-of international resonance: in 2000, the first performance provided a meeting point for the then Prime Ministers of Russia and the United Kingdom, while later performances proved an unbelievable success not only in Milan and London but also at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, first in 2002 and again in 2007. In 2002 the role of Natasha Rostova marked Anna Netrebko’s Metropolitan Opera debut, and the American press lavished praise on the singer and caller her “Russia’s Audrey Hepburn”, and in 2007 the role of Andrei Bolkonsky marked young Mariinsky Theatre soloist Alexei Markov’s debut at the Met, the American press commenting on this promising and charismatic baritone.

War and Peace is an epic opera staged by the Mariinsky Theatre with Hollywood-style grandeur: over two hundred people on stage and a total of almost one thousand costumes being sewn for the production and extremely complex sets weighing over sixty tonnes.

On 19 October the lead roles in the opera will be sung by the soloists who sang in the 2007 performance at the Metropolitan Opera: Alexei Markov as Andrei Bolkonsky, Alexei Steblyanko as Pierre Bezukhov and Vasily Gerello as Napoleon. The Mariinsky Theatre’s “crystalline soprano” Anastasia Kalagina will be making her debut in the role of Natasha Rostova.

The performance on 19 October kicks off the Mariinsky Theatre’s special subscription series Sergei PROKOFIEV. Selected Works, which includes all of the composer’s most famous works – among them five of his eight operas. In addition to War and Peace, the series features The Gambler (with Vladimir Galuzin in the lead role), Semyon Kotko, Betrothal in a Monastery and, unperformed here for nine years, The Fiery Angel, in addition to the ballets Romeo and JulietCinderella. and

Valery Gergiev speaking of the project: “It would be wonderful if PROKOFIEV’s music, well loved across the globe, were to bring new discoveries and true aesthetic enjoyment to wider audiences, particularly to young people, and I hope that this music will bring joy to many with its powerful, figurative content. We are proud of the fact that the Mariinsky Theatre is the world’s only theatre to have all of PROKOFIEV’s operatic legacy in its repertoire. Working on PROKOFIEV’s operas has brought much to the Mariinsky Opera Company, too. Our productions of War and Peace, The Fiery Angel and The Gambler have received stormy applause at La Scala and the Metropolitan Opera. American audiences were enchanted with Betrothal in a Monastery, an opera MOZARTian in terms of its brilliance and every one of its notes a jewel. While our production of Semyon Kotko has received every one of Russia’s most prestigious theatre awards and prizes. The Mariinsky Theatre has been particularly loving with regard to the great composer’s ballets, carefully retaining in its repertoire Lavrovsky’s legendary production of Romeo and Juliet with sets by Williams and, at the same time, offering a new and breathtaking version of PROKOFIEV’s Cinderella.