The Mariinsky Theatre's 222nd season came to a close on 30 July with a performance of Rossini's opera Il viaggio a Reims. The theatre presented 119 opera and 129 ballet performances, as well as symphony concerts, concert performances of operas and opera and ballet gala concerts. Over the season there were seven opera premieres – Rimsky-Korsakov's The Tsar's Bride (directed by Yuri Alexandrov) and The Tale of Tsar Saltan (directed by Alexander Petrov), Puccini's Madama Butterfly (directed by Mariusz Trelinski), Bizet's Carmen (directed by Alexei Stepanyuk), Verdi's Rigoletto (directed by Walter Le Moli), Rossini's Il viaggio a Reims (directed by Alain Maratrat) and Wagner's Tristan und Isolde (directed by Dmitry Chernyakov). Ballet premieres included William Forsythe's Approximate Sonata, David Dawson's one-act ballet Reverence, created especially for the Mariinsky Ballet Company, and the two-act ballet The Magic Nut to music by Petersburg composer Sergei Slonimsky (libretto, sets, costumes and staging by Mihail Chemiakin and choreography by Donvena Pandurski). Another highlight of the season was Mahler's Eighth Symphony, a work very rarely performed.
Over the month and a half long Stars of the White Nights festival the Mariinsky Theatre staged over eighty performances and concerts, both in the theatre itself and at other concert venues in St Petersburg and beyond, travelling to Moscow, Kaliningrad, Vyborg and Ivangorod. The performances and concerts were attended by over one hundred thousand spectators. There were special festival programmes including the Viva la Baltica series of performances and concerts, the symphonic Beethoven Cycle and the New York in St Petersburg and Moscow in St Petersburg mini-festivals with the participation of guest companies and artists, among them the Finnish National Opera, Norway National Opera, the Sinfonietta Cracovia, the Santa Cecilia Symphony Orchestra, Warsaw's Teatr Wielki Opera Narodowa Ballet, the Bolshoi Theatre Ballet, the Alvin Ailey Dance Company and the Swedish Radio Orchestra, violinists Nikolaj Znaider and Vadim Repin, singers Matti Salminen, Rene Pape and Olga Guryakova and conductors Gianandrea Noseda, Mikko Frank, John Axelrod, Manfred Honeck, Carlo Rizzi, Joel Revzen, Rolf Gupta, Neeme Jarvi and his sons Paavo and Kristjan. Mariinsky Opera Company soloists performed their finest roles, and there were appearances by world renowned stars Anna Netrebko, Vladimir Galuzin and the theatre's prima ballerina Ulyana Lopatkina, who demonstrated all the facets of her talent at a solo concert. One of the most grandiose events of the festival was the Mariinsky Theatre's tour to the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow with several ballets and Wagner's tetralogy Der Ring des Nibelungen. The production, referred to as "epoch-making" by The New York Times, was shown in Moscow for the first time. The festival saw traditional open-to-all concerts with soloists from the Mariinsky Academy of Young Singers, dedicated to the vocal legacy of composers from the Baltic Sea region.
The past season witnessed the V International Ballet Festival Mariinsky. The artistic motif of the festival was three gala performances – portraits of Mariinsky Theatre ballerinas Ulyana Lopatkina, Daria Pavlenko and Diana Vishneva – and a gala performance of the Mariinsky Theatre corps de ballet. With these gala performances, the Mariinsky Theatre revived the old and glorious tradition of the St Petersburg Imperial Ballet in holding annual galas of the leading ballerinas and the corps de ballet to mark their contribution to the creation of the artistic image of the Mariinsky Theatre. The gala programmes were structured to show the dancers' artistic range to greatest effect (from classics to the latest choreographic trends) as well as the major changes in the repertoire of the Mariinsky Ballet Company in recent years which have radically altered its image.
Last season the theatre's traditional annual festivals – the International Ballet Festival Mariinsky and the International Stars of the White Nights festival of arts – were enriched with thematic festivals – a Tchaikovsky Festival and a Maslenitsa Week at the Mariinsky Theatre festival which will doubtless be repeated in coming seasons.
November 2004 saw the VI International Rimsky-Korsakov Young Opera Singers' Competition, which was established by the Mariinsky Theatre. The General Director of the competition is Larisa Gergieva, Artistic Director of the Mariinsky Academy of Young Singers.
The Mariinsky Theatre's tours began in October 2004 with the Rotterdam Festival honouring Pyotr Tchaikovsky (for details see www.gergievfestival.nl).). Last season Valery Gergiev conducted the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra in a series of concerts throughout Europe – in autumn 2004 in Brussels, Munich and Frankfurt and in summer 2005 in Lugano, Zurich, Bern, Basel, Geneva, Brescia, Bergamo and Turin. On 3 December 2004 a concert by the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra opened a programme of Days of Russian Culture in Italy in Rome. The orchestra and Opera Company performed a series of concerts in February 2005 at London's Barbican Centre. In April 2005 the orchestra gave three concerts at the Carnegie Hall, one of the world's most prestigious concert venues, as part of its tour of the USA and Canada.
Under the direction of Valery Gergiev the company performed a series of charity concerts in aid of the victims of the tragic events in Beslan. The concerts took place in Paris, Rome, New York, Tokyo, Moscow and London.
In autumn 2004 the Mariinsky Ballet Company toured to South Korea as well as to the Deutsche Oper in Berlin. The Opera and Ballet Companies took part in the Diaghilev Festival in Groningen, the Netherlands (for details see www.diaghilevfestival.com ).
The theatre continued its tradition of Mariinsky Theatre Seasons at the Alexander Theatre in Helsinki, Finland. The theatre additionally took part in the traditional summer festival in Mikkeli. There were also the traditional performances by the Opera and Ballet Companies at Baden-Baden's Festspielhaus, one of Europe's largest concert venues, and at Washington's Kennedy Center.
Moscow and several other Russian towns have been added to the theatre's touring map: on 22 November Valery Gergiev conducted a performance of Mahler's Second Symphony by the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra at the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall, followed by a performance of Tchaikovsky's The Queen of Spades there on 23 November. The theatre presented a rich symphony programme at the Easter Festival in Moscow from 1 to 11 May 2005 (for details see www.easterfestival.ru).
In April 2005 the Ballet Company performed in Cardiff, Wales, at the opening of the Wales Millennium Centre theatre and concert hall.
In July and August the Mariinsky Opera and Ballet Companies will be performing at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, one of the world's leading music venues. Once again the theatre will be taking part in the Salzburg Festival (28 and 30 July 2005). The company will close its season of tours with performances at the III International Baltic Sea Festival (10 – 17 August 2005). Travelling by motor ship, festival participants are to perform concerts in the Baltic region in Kaliningrad, Riga, Helsinki and Stockholm.
The Mariinsky Ballet Company is performing for the first time at the Wales Millennium Centre which opened its first season this year. The Mariinsky Ballet Company's tour will run from 19–30 April. The Ballet Company will be performing the best productions in its repertoire at the Wales Millennium Centre, among them Don Quixote, Romeo and Juliet and an evening of one-act ballets by Fokine comprising Chopiniana, Scheherazade and The Firebird. The theatre's finest dancers will be performing, among them Ulyana Lopatkina, Irma Nioradze, Yevgenia Obraztsova, Irina Golub, Leonid Sarafanov, Andrian Fadeyev and Igor Kolb.
The Wales Millennium Centre has long been looking forward to hosting the Mariinsky Ballet Company. This will be the first time it has performed there, the venue promising to become one of the world's leading arts centres.
The Wales Millennium Centre, located on Cardiff Bay waterfront, is arguably the most striking and fascinating cultural phenomenon in Europe today. Since it was opened in November 2004 it has become one of the world's foremost arts venues.
The Wales Millennium Centre and the Mariinsky Theatre have long and friendly connections. Ulyana Lopatkina was one of those honoured to receive the key to the Wales Millennium Centre. The key, like the Olympic torch, travelled all around the globe, to Russia, New York, Salzburg, Italy, South Africa, Japan and New South Wales in Australia, passing through the hands of leading artists, politicians, school-pupils, students and others.
Judith Isherwood, Executive Director of the Centre, says "The Mariinsky Ballet Company is famous all over the world for its magnificent dancers and wonderful productions and I hope that the time the Mariinsky Ballet Company spends with us will lay the foundations for long-lasting and fruitful co-operation which we aim to develop in the years to come."
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Performs at "Stars of The White Nights" Festival in St. Petersburg, RUSSIA
New York, New York, June XX, 2005 – Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater [AAADT], one of the most acclaimed dance companies in the world, will perform for the first time at The Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia as part of "Stars of the White Nights" festival from July 8 through July 10. This visit is the Company's first return to Russia in 15 years when the company last performed in Moscow and Tbilisi. The Ailey is the only American company performing in this year's festival. This engagement marks the first time a modern dance company has been presented by the White Nights Festival.
Under the artistic direction of Judith Jamison, AAADT will present a diverse program including the 2004 premiere Love Stories, Judith Jamison's collaboration with modern dance maverick Robert Battle and hip-hop pioneer Rennie Harris, set to the digitally remixed sound of Stevie Wonder. Performances will also include David Parsons's Shining Star, performed by 10 dancers to the music of Earth, Wind & Fire; popular works by choreographers Ulysses Dove and Elisa Monte and the favorite Ailey classic, Night Creature. All performances will conclude with Alvin Ailey's beloved masterpiece, Revelations.
"Russian audiences have received us warmly in the past, and we are looking forward to returning after so many years," said Ms. Jamison. "We're excited to be part of a festival that hails artistic excellence from around world and look forward to sharing Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's unparalleled artistry, indomitable spirit and cultural heritage with the audiences at this prestigious and historic venue. "
Now in its 13th year, the "Stars of the White Nights" festival began in 1993 under the artistic direction of Valery Gergiev. The festival is held every spring at St. Petersburg's famous Mariinsky Theater and draws ambassadors of artistic culture in dance, opera and symphony music from Russia and around the world. This year's festival begins May 27 and runs through July 17, 2005.
AAADT was founded by legendary choreographer/dancer Alvin Ailey in 1958 and has gone on to perform for an estimated 21 million people in 48 states and in 68 countries on six continents, including two historic residencies in South Africa. In 1970, AAADT embarked on a six-week tour of the USSR – the first for an American modern dance company since the days of Isadora Duncan. AAADT includes 30 of the most talented and versatile dancers in the world, many of whom are graduates of The Ailey School and Ailey II, the Company's junior performing ensemble. Today, the Company is one of the most acclaimed international ambassadors of American culture, promoting the uniqueness of African-American cultural experience and the preservation and enrichment of the American modern dance heritage.
On 14 and 15 May the Mariinsky Theatre will be staging the world premiere of the two-act ballet The Magic Nut to music by Sergei Slonimsky. The libretto, sets, costumes and staging are by Mihail Chemiakin (2005) and the choreography by Donvena Pandoursky (2005).
The ballet forms an unusual "prehistory" to The Nutcracker, together comprising "Chemiakin's Hoffman". The libretto for The Magic Nut is based on the story of the transformation of Drosselmeyer's nephew, who enchanted Princess Pirlipat, into the Nutcracker.
This is the story of the magical Crackatook nut, Princess Pirlipat and a young man, Herr Drosselmeyer's enchanted nephew. In Hoffman's Nutcracker tale, Herr Drosselmeyer tells the heroine Marie (Masha) this story while she is recuperating from the attack of the Rat King and his subjects. The idea of staging the whole Hoffman tale, including the story of Pirlipat and the magic nut, first arose about thirty years after the first production of The Nutcracker, when choreographer Fyodor Lopukhov commissioned Shostakovich to write the music. Unfortunately it was right after the composer was savaged by the press for his music for the ballets Bolt and The Limpid Stream, and Shostakovich backed away from ballet scores.
Many choreographers have attempted to tell the story of the Nutcracker's origins, because without this the ballet's plot is not quite clear. Some have had Drosselmeyer put on a puppet show, which is utterly incomprehensible to the audience; Lopukhov had the Nutcracker approach the audience and tell his story in words. Others have inserted the story of the hard nut and Princess Pirlipat in the beginning of Act II. But I decided to return to Lopukhov's original idea – the creation of new music and finally a whole new ballet for the story of the hard nut, as this plot is complex and demands separate treatment.
In The Magic Nut the audience will observe the transformation of young Drosselmeyer into a Nutcracker. His relationship to the rats will be clearer – the audience will see that once upon a time everyone – rats, birds, people – lived together peacefully, until they fell out because the rats ate all the lard in the King's sausages (in my version they steal the sausages whole). This quarrel leads to a series of events that reveal young Drosselmeyer's (the future Nutcracker's) kind heart, and how he nearly became a member of the royal family by breaking the spell on Princess Pirlipat, but then was himself turned into a Nutcracker by the rats.
The relationship between the Nutcracker and Herr Drosselmeyer is also clarified. After all, on the one hand the uncle got his nephew into a most unpleasant predicament, but on the other hand only Herr Drosselmeyer knows how to break the rats' evil spells.
I hope that the audience will feel sympathy for the kind and unhappy youth and will follow his story in Tchaikovsky's ballet with increased interest and understanding.
E. T. A. Hoffmann's Tales amaze the reader with the expression of the mighty conflict between nobility and venality, idealism and cynicism, the spiritual potency of good and the villainous malice of the rat underworld. These themes are present in his tale, Nutcracker and the Mouse King. Hoffmann's Serapion Brothers were the model for a literary circle in 1920s Petrograd. Among the members of the circle were Zoschenko, Lev Lunets, and my father, Mikhail Slonimsky. Thus it was with great interest and pleasure that I worked on the musical score for Chemiakin's new Hoffmann ballet. Worthiness Punished is the theme of A Tale of a Hard Nut, in which Herr Drosselmeyer in Nutcracker and the Mouse King tells the story of the Nutcracker. Here Drosselmeyer's magnanimous nephew, who has saved Pirlipat from eternal ugliness, is rejected and given up to the rats' curse. In his libretto Chemiakin emphasized the noble, chivalrous motives of the young man, who loves Pirlipat when she is a pathetic, ugly monster. Not under threat of execution by the capricious King, but out of feelings of empathy and self-sacrifice, the future Prince saves the young Princess. But Pirlipat is no Masha! She turns out to be ungrateful, with a weakness for appearances and power, utterly incapable of rising to self-sacrifice and fidelity in love. And the noble youth remains in the hands of the rats, who have turned the hero into a silly and helpless Nutcracker and celebrate their victory in an orgy of malice. All the guests, the King and the princess herself laugh at him, drive him out and leave him in bitter isolation. How often this sort of thing happens in real life, to us, to our friends and families! The Hoffmann tale remains utterly contemporary, however essentially sad that might be… Chemiakin's choreographic libretto seized me with the same depth of thought and unlimited breadth of imagination that are characteristic of his version of The Nutcracker. And I happily agreed to compose music for the one-act ballet, worked with enthusiasm, with unflailing inspiration. I did not use any of Tchaikovsky's peerless melodies, for that would have been pretentious. Rather, I composed the musical themes myself, keeping in mind several groups of sound images. The melodic leitmotifs of the orchestra represent the world of people, of their kind feelings, of sadness and joy, loneliness and love. Various characters of the story are presented in episodes of the orchestration. The organ represents the magic of the kind sorcerer Drosselmeyer. And the purely contemporary insertion of unusual electronic music portrays the evil magic of Krysilda and her rat army. The residents of the Rat kingdom also dance to the sounds and rhythms of "mini-music" and "retro" music, so popular today, parodied as Cervantes parodied the popular chivalrous novels of his time in Don Quixote. Now I am eager to see the new choreography for our ballet by the talented Donvena Pandoursky and the marvelous artists of the Mariinsky Ballet, and the sets and costumes for the the ballet's new scenes. Has the composer managed to create in the beginning of the Twenty-First century a serious symphonic score worthy of librettist-designer-artist Mihail Chemiakin's Hoffmaniana' That, of course, is up to the audience to determine.
Magic is a secret and although we can never explain how it happens, we can at least find out why it happens. For me, all the work related to the creation of The Magic Nut ballet was magic. E. T. A. Hoffman, Mihail Chemiakin, Sergei Slonimsky, Valery Gergiev, the Mariinsky Theatre – all these names taken together already made the magical mixture of which the new fairy-tale ballet was to be born.
Invited as choreographer, my task was to tell this fairy tale on the stage, in a modern, comprehensible, but also magical language – a tale that would touch the hearts and minds of present-day children and adults. Before my eyes I had, on the one hand, Chemiakin's interesting libretto and his fantastic designs for the sets, costumes and masks, which compelled me to search for the kind of plasticity that would allow them to come to life naturally on the stage, preserving their Chemiakin spirit. On the other hand – the serious modern symphonic music of Slonimsky and the highly professional ballet troupe of the Mariinsky Theatre.
From the onset, I did not think so much of how to stage the ballet but rather, what was it essentially about. Then, drinking big gulps from the magical mixture which fate so graciously offered me, I gradually began to uncover the answer. It was hidden between the different layers of the ballet, the funny and the sad, the grotesque and the romantic. It was Hoffman-Chemiakin, or perhaps even Drosselmeyer, who had to take the viewer by the hand, like little Masha from the fairy tale, and start the journey in the strange world of the eternal struggle between good and evil. The answer also lay in Drosselmeyer's nephew, ready to pass through trial and sacrifice in order to save the ungrateful Princess Pirlipat. Ridiculed and severely punished for his noble character, suffering, he turns to us with his arms open wide and passes to us, in a magical way, his faith in goodness against all odds. To me, this is what lies hidden in the magic nut: the inextinguishable desire to do good, even when life turns its back on us. I would be happy if our ballet succeeds in enchanting the audiences and planting in their hearts a grain of Hoffman's and Chemiakin's magic world.
Mariinsky Theatre soloist Yekaterina Semenchuk will be performing at the wedding of HRH Charles Prince of Wales and Mrs Camilla Parker Bowles. During the church blessing of the newlyweds at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, the young Russian singer will perform the Orthodox Symbol of Faith to music by Alexander Grechaninov with the chapel choir. It is one of the Prince's favourite pieces of music, and was performed in 2003 at St George's Chapel by the Mariinsky Theatre Chorus at his request at an evening in memory of the late Queen Mother. Yekaterina Semenchuk is travelling to the UK especially to take part in the marriage ceremony and her performance will be a wedding present from the Mariinsky Theatre, of which Prince Charles is both Patron and Trustee. Her performance has been organised with assistance from the Mariinsky Theatre Trust, UK, which celebrates its tenth birthday this year.
Yekaterina Semenchuk enjoys great popularity in the United Kingdom, particularly after she became a finalist at the 2001 World Competition of Young Singers in Cardiff, Wales. Prince Charles was able to judge Yekaterina Semenchuk's skills at the London premiere of Valery Gergiev, Andrei Konchalovsky and George Tsypin's famous production of War and Peace at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, in 2000, when Yekaterina sang as Sonya and Anna Netrebko as Natasha Rostova with Valery Gergiev conducting. Yekaterina Semenchuk is both flattered by and anxious at the proposal: "It is a great honour for me. Of course I am nervous, it is a great responsibility, I am representing not just the Mariinsky Theatre but all of Russia - I will be the only Russian performer at the celebrations. I never thought I would be taking part in an event on such a scale. I hope I will justify people's trust in me."
Katia Senenchuk's concert dress for the performance has been provided by Ede and Ravenscroft who are official tailors for Her Majesty The Queen, Elizabeth II. They have an extensive programme for supporting outstanding young students and give scholarships to several young singers of the Mariinsky Academy. They supported Ekaterina Semenchuk in her first years at the Mariinsky Young Singers' Academy.
Accomodation for Ekaterina Semenchuk in London is being provided by City Inn Westminster, a new award-winning hotel in London. City Inn generously supported the Mariinsky's Beslan Concert for the Future last November by providing accomodation for the whole company.
Immediately after her return from London Yekaterina Semenchuk will continue rehearsals for a new production of the opera Carmen, in which she is to perform the title role. The premiere will take place at the Mariinsky Theatre in late April.
Instead of Madama Butterfly, the Mariinsky Theatre will be presenting a semi-stage version of Puccini's opera Turandot with a magnificent cast under the direction of Valery Gergiev. The role of Turandot will be performed by Irina Gordei, who has sung the role to great acclaim both in Russia and abroad. The role of Calaf is to be sung by outstanding tenor Vladimir Galuzin, one of the finest performers of the role in the world. Currently, Galuzin performs at the world's leading opera houses, among them the Metropolitan Opera, La Scala, the Wiener Staatsoper, the Teatro Real, Covent Garden and the Theatre du Chatelet. His most recent new work was Otello at the Opera Bastille in Paris with Valery Gergiev conducting, which received glowing reviews.
The Mariinsky Theatre apologises to the public for the change in performances.
Madama Butterfly will now be premiered at the theatre on 22 March and 21 April.
The new season will see the Mariinsky Theatre's programme of festivals enriched with a Tchaikovsky Festival. Almost all of the composer's operas and ballets from various periods are to be performed between 12 and 20 February at the Mariinsky Theatre. Not by chance alone does Tchaikovsky occupy a special place in this year's season – this most Petersburg of composers created works that can truly be considered "calling cards" of Russian musical culture. The Festival programme will include the Theatre's finest productions, remarkable for the unusual directing and set designs as well as the ever new interpretation of Tchaikovsky's music when performed by leading Mariinsky Theatre soloists.
Over the course of the week, performances of The Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker, Mazepa, Iolanta, Eugene Onegin and The Queen of Spades will follow one after the other in an endless kaleidoscope of themes and melodies.
A brilliant psychologist, Tchaikovsky portrays an entire host of folk and fairy-tale characters and images of Russian nature in his works. All sides of human nature are displayed before the audience through the prism of Tchaikovsky's music. In a life where animal passion and ungovernable jealousy border bashful innocence and romantic feelings, bright, all-conquering love stands guard against lies and self-interest.
The Festival will open to a performance of The Enchantress, staged by renowned director David Pountney with striking sets by Robert Innes-Hopkins. Pountney transplanted the opera's plot from the 15th to the late 19th century, changing the rules of the game: instead of the patriarchal society, the coaching-inn on the banks of the River Oka, the heroine's hut, the princely governor-general and his servants, we see a demi-monde salon, the cancan, the women's bright, erotic outfits and the heroine – the beautiful Enchantress, both mistress and captive of this world. Only the dramatic denouement of the story, reminiscent of Shakespeare's bloody dramas, remains unchanged.
Aside from stage productions, there will be concert performances of two more of Tchaikovsky's operas – Iolanta and The Maid of Orleans. Even the most severe and demanding music lovers will not be left unmoved by the great skills of the soloists, chorus and orchestra under the baton of Valery Gergiev.
Written in 1877, the opera Eugene Onegin brought Tchaikovsky international glory, success and admiration. The premieres of Eugene Onegin and subsequently of Mazepa took place in Moscow, only later being staged in Petersburg. Following productions of these operas at the Mariinsky Theatre proved no less important in their stage history. The most recent staging of the "lyrical scenes" of Eugene Onegin at the Mariinsky Theatre came in 2002 with a French production team. It was directed by Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier, with stage designs by Christian Fenouillat and costumes by Agostino Cavalka.
The theatre has two versions of The Nutcracker, Tchaikovsky's last ballet, in its repertoire. Unlike the academic Vainonen and Virsaladze staging, which several generations of dancers and audiences grew up with and which is today danced by students and pupils of the Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet, the Gergiev and Chemiakin production is truly unique. Valery Gergiev's fresh reading of Tchaikovsky's score, which opened up the intensely rich, philosophical narrative content in this "ballet symphony", is akin to Mihail Chemiakin's new interpretation of E. T. A. Hoffmann's miraculous fairy-tale world.
Tchaikovsky's ballet Swan Lake has been in the theatre's repertoire ever since its St Petersburg premiere in 1895. Since then, Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov's masterpiece has taken its rightful place as the jewel in the crown of Russian ballet. Over the years the role of the Swan Queen has been danced by Pierrina Legnani, Anna Pavlova, Matilda Kshesinskaya, Olga Spesivtseva, Marina Semenova, Galina Ulanova and Natalia Makarova at the Mariinsky Theatre. Today, the role of Odette-Odile is performed by a new generation of Mariinsky Theatre ballerinas – Yulia Makhalina, Daria Pavlenko and Ulyana Lopatkina.
Honorary Chairperson: Madame Bernadette Chirac
His Excellence the Ambassador to the Russian Federation in France
Marina de Brantes
Helene de Ludinghausen
Princess Macha Magaloff
Sophie Schyller Thierry
Xenia Youssoupoff-Sheremeteff Sfyris
Paris, May 25, 2004
Dear : ,
Recently launched, the French Association of the Friends of the Mariinsky Theater (ATHEMA), an association governed by the law of July 1, 1901, is pleased to announce the organization of its first gala fundraising concert with the support of the City of Paris and a number of corporate donors (Airbus, Credit Agricole, Louis Dreyfus SAS).
By attending, you would help raise funds to restore the opera and ballet sets and costumes destroyed by the fire that ravaged one of the Mariinsky's storage warehouses in St. Petersburg on September 5, 2003. Despite the quick response of almost 30 firetrucks and more than 130 firefighters, the blaze remained out of control for much of the night. By dawn, the roof had collapsed, as had most of the 200-year-old building's inner walls; several firefighters had been injured. Many sets prepared for an impending tour of Japan were irrecoverable.
Efforts such as the one ATHEMA is organizing this autumn will help Mariinsky rebuild their resources to continue offering their exceptional artistry both in St. Petersburg and around the world.
• Date: Wednesday, October 27, 2004
• Time: 8:00 pm (concert), 10:30 pm (dinner)
• Place: Theatre du Chatelet, Place du Chatelet, 75001 Paris
• Concert Program:
P.I. Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)
Romeo and Juliet
(Fautasy overture after Shakespeare)
M. Mussorgsky (1839-1881)
Songs and Dances of Death,
Four melody cycles from
P.I. Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 5 in e minor op. 64
Presentation of an award to Jean-Pierre Brossmann, director of the Theatre du Chatelet, by his Excellence, the Ambassador of the Russian Federation in France.
The concert shall be followed by a dinner in the Grand Foyer in the company of the artists and of numerous personalities from the worlds of culture and politics in France and Russia. The meal shall be catered by one of Paris's most renowned houses.
Tables of 10 seats each are available for purchase.
–Concert only and cocktail :
+ ticket category 1 : 250 €
+ ticket category 2 : 150 €
+ ticket category 3 : 100 €
–Concert, cocktail and dinner :
+ Patron : 1000 €
+ Benefactor : 850 €
+ Donator : 750 €
+ Friend : 500 €
In order to participate in the gala, it is not necessary to belong to the Friends of the Mariinsky Theater but we encourage to subscribe to the Association which offers a number of benefits (please see the presentation of the association).
Enclosed please find a ticket order form. Please make your reservations as soon as possible as seating is limited for the dinner. Because of the new August 2003 law on donations, both individuals and companies can benefit from tax relief for their donation. Further details can be found on the order form.
Considering the historical links between France and Russia in respect to the Mariinsky, it is amazing that it has taken so long before an association has seen the light of day. The cultural legacy binding us together is worth preserving, but so is the encouragement of the artistic future of the company and their precious development of young talent.
I sincerely hope that you will be able to join us for this wonderful event and support such a wonderful cause.
With my best regards.
Very truly yours,
Catherine Barre President
The Perm Academic Tchaikovsky Theatre of Opera and Ballet will be on tour at the Mariinsky Theatre from 20 - 23 January. The Perm Theatre of Opera and Ballet is almost one hundred years younger than the Mariinsky Theatre; it was established 133 years ago, and for 63 years the two theatres have enjoyed fruitful artistic ties. It was to Perm that the Kirov Theatre and the Vaganova Academy were evacuated during the war, and it was performances by the Kirov Theatre that helped develop the Perm ballet school which went on to produce many illustrious performers of the Kirov Ballet. As a result, this current tour is devoted to the 60th anniversary of the end of the Great Patriotic War.
Residents of St Petersburg have already had the opportunity to see the Perm Ballet at the Stars of the White Nights festival, and this time the theatre will be performing both operas and ballets.
The ballet programme of the current tour includes Ballet Imperial and Serenade by Balanchine, both in the Mariinsky Theatre repertoire, La sonnambula to music by Bellini (which opens the tour on 20 January) and the classic Don Quixote (23 January).
The opera programme includes two works not performed anywhere else in Russia – Handel's Alcina (21 January) and Massenet's Cleopatre (23 January), staged by the theatre's Artistic Director Georgy Isaakian.
The Perm Academic Tchaikovsky Theatre of Opera and Ballet is one of the oldest theatres in Russia, founded last century on the initiative of the democratic public society of cities located on the River Kama together with the city amateur musical society, attended by the famous Diaghilev family which gave the world one of its most talented cultural figures. For over more than one hundred years since its establishment, the Perm Theatre of Opera and Ballet has been a major musical theatre in Russia and has witnessed significant artistic events.
The Perm Theatre, often referred to as the House of Tchaikovsky, has staged all of Tchaikovsky's works, and this serves as the artistic basis for large-scale festival programmes in honour of the composer. The theatre's repertoire currently includes Tchaikovsky's operas The Queen of Spades, Eugene Onegin, Iolanta and The Maid of Orleans and the ballets Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker. The theatre saw the first ever Russian festival of operas and ballets by Prokofiev in the mid 1980s.
The "gold reserves" of the theatre's repertoire are founded on the classics. Productions are constantly updated, making them remarkable for their contemporary feel rather than being "museum pieces". The Perm Theatre also restores undeservedly forgotten works. Music by many contemporary composers is often premiered there too.
The Perm Theatre of Opera and Ballet has a reputation for its inventiveness. It was here that Sergei Prokofiev's Fiery Angel was first staged, and it was here that a two-evening version of his other great work War and Peace was produced. The theatre saw the first Russian performances of Denisov's opera Froth of the Daydream, Massenet's Cleopatre, Shchedrin's Lolita, based on the novel by Nabokov, and Handel's Alcina. To mark two centuries since the birth of Alexander Pushkin the theatre ran the project Pushkin in Opera – a series of five operas based on his works. The project was awarded the State Prize of Russia.
The Perm Theatre received Russia's Golden Mask for its production of the opera Don Pasquale in 1996. Ballet Imperial was voted best ballet at the Golden Mask festival in 2004.
The theatre's current Artistic Director is Georgy Isaakian, recipient of the State Prize of Russia, its Principal Conductor is People's Artist of the Republic of Bashkortostan Valery Platonov, Natalia Akhmarova, prize-winner at international competitions, is Artistic Director of the ballet company, the Principal Chorus Master is Vladimir Vasiliev, People's Artist of Russia and recipient of the State Prize of Russia, and the Principal Designer is Elena Soloveva.
The theatre often works with leading Russian stage directors such as Okunev, Chernyakov, Kozhenkova, Gerasimenko, Kharikov, Benediktov, Grinevich and Geidebrecht.
One tradition that has emerged in recent years is that of co-productions, such as Grieg's Peer Gynt together with American choreographer Ben Stevenson and a Russian-Spanish production of Richard Strauss' opera Salome which proved a highlight of the 1995 Madrid International Festival.
In 2004 the opera company performed at the SARKO ART contemporary arts festival in Lokkum, staging the world premiere of Shchetinsky's opera Bestiary.
In conjunction with the Balanchine Trust, the theatre has been running the project George Balanchine's Choreography in Perm for many years, seeing productions of the ballets Concerto Barocco, Donizetti Variations, La sonnambula, Ballet Imperial and Serenade.
Perm is often referred to as the third Mecca of ballet after Moscow and St Petersburg, with a famed choreography school in addition to the ballet company. During the Great Patriotic War, the Leningrad Kirov Theatre of Opera and Ballet (now the Mariinsky Theatre) was evacuated to the Urals. The arrival of the illustrious company left a deep impression on theatre life in Perm. It helped establish the choreography school which opened a new page in the history of ballet in Perm, serving as an impulse for its artistic growth. The company's unique nature lies in the unity of style of the soloists and corps de ballet. The Perm Ballet is arguably the only Russian company whose soloists all come from the same school.
For many decades, the theatre has acted as a unique "springboard" for many artists famous across the globe. The Perm Theatre has witnessed the start of the careers of many major international stars who have gone on to work in the country's greatest theatres. Internationally acclaimed dancers such as Galina Ragozina-Panova, Lyubov Kunakova, Nadezhda Pavlova, Olga Chenchikova, Marat Daukaev, Yuri Petukhov, Galina Shlyapina, Svetlana Smirnova and Elena Kulagina have all brought fame to the Perm company.
Perm plays traditional host to the Arabesque Russian ballet competition, headed by Vladimir Vasiliev and Yekaterina Maximova.
Foreign tours and appearances at international festivals have brought the Perm Theatre of Opera and Ballet great renown. Since 1973, the entire Perm Theatre has travelled to Austria, Italy, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Germany, Poland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, the UK, Ireland, China and the USA.
One of Russia's cultural highlights in 2003 came with the festival Diaghilev Seasons: Perm-Petersburg-Paris, run at the Perm Theatre of Opera and Ballet. As Russian and foreign cultural figures confirmed, "the new mega-project of the Diaghilev forum is like a historic symbol of a Great Russia entering the home of European culture."
From 19 - 23 January, Valery Gergiev will be conducting the Mariinsky Opera Company, Orchestra and chorus on tour at the Kennedy Center in Washington. The tour programme includes a performance of Musorgsky's opera Boris Godunov. One highlight of the tour proves to be the Kirov Spectacular concert programme featuring extracts from the Russian opera and ballet classics. The ballet company will be performing works by Balanchine and the Pas de deux from Le Corsaire, and Ulyana Lopatkina will be appearing in The Dying Swan. The opera programme features extracts from The Queen of Spades, Ruslan and Lyudmila, The Tsar's Bride and Sadko. Both the opera and ballet companies' leading soloists will be engaged, among them Vasily Gerello, Yevgeny Nikitin, Alexei Steblyanko, Sergei Alexashkin, Viktor Chernomortsev, Oleg Balashov, Olga Trifonova, Olga Savova, Darya Pavlenko, Diana Vishneva, Leonid Sarafanov and Andrei Merkuriev.
The Washington tour succeeds performances by the Mariinsky Theatre at the Diaghilev Festival in Groningen. As at the opening of the festival in December, there will be a performance of the opera The Tsar's Bride.
Born in Russia, Gary Bertini grew up and studied in Israel; in Milan and Paris he studied conducting, musicology and composition under Arthur Honegger and Olivier Messiaen. Today he is a frequent guest at the Berlin Philharmonic and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra as well as in New York, Philadelphia, London, Vienna, Rome, La Scala in Milan, Tokyo and the Opera Bastille in Paris.
International glory first came to Gary Bertini after an appearance with the Chamber Orchestra of Israel which he founded in 1965 and directed until 1975, making it famous all over the globe.
He has been Principal Conductor of the Israeli Symphony Orchestra (1978-1986), music consultant to the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (1981-1983) and Principal Conductor of the Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra (1983-1991). Over the years, Gary Bertini has directed the Frankfurt Opera and for almost ten years was Artistic and Musical Director of the New Israeli Opera. From 1998 to 2005 he was Musical Director of the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra.
Gary Bertini has made recordings with companies including CBS and RCA. With EMI he recorded Berlioz' Requiem and a full cycle of works by Mahler.
At La Scala in February 2002, Saint-Saens' opera Samson et Dalila with Placido Domingo in the lead role and Gary Bertini conducting received huge critical acclaim. In September 2002 the St Cecilia Academy in Rome made Bertini an "Accademico Onorario".
Starting this season, Gary Bertini has been Musical Director of the Teatro San Carlo in Naples.
Maestro Bertini has been awarded the prestigious National Prize of Israel; he has twice received the Abbiati Prize from Italian music critics – in 1995 as "Best Conductor" and in 1998 as "Best Conductor of Opera". Bertini has also been awarded the Grand Prix of French music critics for Britten's opera Billy Budd and Prokofiev's War and Peace. In November 2003 he received the French music critics' prize in the category "Best DVD Opera Production" for Prokofiev's War and Peace.
Maestro Bertini's titles include Italy's Officer of the Order "For Services" and France's Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.
At the Mariinsky Theatre he will be conducting Verdi's opera Macbeth and Mozart's Requiem and the opera Le nozze di Figaro.
Mahler's Eighth Symphony to Be Performed Again at the Mariinsky Theatre on 3 January at 20.00
Mahler's Eighth Symphony is to be performed again at the Mariinsky Theatre. The work, often referred to as "the symphony of a thousand", will be performed by the Mariinsky Theatre Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, the N. Kornev Chamber Choir, the Glinka Capella Boys' Choir and Mariinsky Theatre soloists. Valery Gergiev will be conducting.
The first performance of the symphony in late November proved a highlight of cultural life in St Petersburg, with tickets sold out and the public delighted. The theatre decided to perform Mahler's Eighth Symphony once more in early January immediately after the premiere of a new production of the opera The Tsar's Bride.
Almost all of Mahler's symphonies have been performed at the Mariinsky Theatre, both by the theatre's Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Valery Gergiev and together with guest companies. In the autumn of 1907 the composer himself visited St Petersburg and conducted the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra twice, which included a performance of his Fifth Symphony.
In a dramaturgical sense, the composer combines two literary sources - the hymn to the Holy Spirit Veni, creator spiritus and the final scene of the second part of Goethe's Faust. The symphony is, however, very rarely performed at concerts because of the huge number of musicians required – a five (sometimes six) section orchestra, clarinets, and in addition to four trumpets and trombones there is an extra brass band, powerful string and percussion sections and keyboard instruments (only one of which is normally used in an orchestra) – organ, harmonium, celesta and piano.
The orchestral and vocal power are set by the cosmic meaning of the symphony. As Mahler said, "Imagine the Universe beginning to sound and ring. Not human voices singing but orbiting suns and planets."
24/2 Tverskaya Street, building 1, entrance 3, floor 5, Moscow, RF 125009
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Emergency Fund for Medical, Social and Psychological
Rehabilitation of the people of Beslan
BESLAN - LIFE LINE
People and organisations from all over the world responded with all their heart to the Beslan tragedy. Millions of dollars and substantial non-cash resources were raised and channelled through different charitable organisations to provide immediate aid to the victims and their families. Meanwhile it is obvious that when the physical injuries are healed and the immediate urgency passes, the flow of donations will gradually decrease.
The Emergency Fund is set up to provide a long-term systematic support to those who suffered from the Beslan tragedy. Not only will the Fund support the immediate need of families affected by the tragedy, but it will also support the needs of the community in the long term.
The Emergency Fund accumulated the donations of Russian and foreign individuals and organisations, including those collected through payroll giving programmes.
Period of the Fund's operation: September 2004 - May 2005.
1. Medical Rehabilitation (in partnership with LifeLine Programme)
Medical doctors estimate that children and adults injured in Beslan will be in need of expensive and sometimes prolonged treatment. Some may need a repeated surgery; others will require an expensive artificial limb or plastic surgery. The most difficult cases may require involvement of foreign medical professionals.
The Emergency Fund in partnership with the LifeLine programme will provide individual financial assistance to Beslan children aimed at addressing their need in expensive medications and medical materials as a result of the injury.
The funding will be provided on the basis of applications submitted by parents or legal representatives of the children (in case of parents' death), or by doctors-in-charge. The applications should comply with the criteria announced by the LifeLine Programme web-site http://www.life-line.ru
2. Social and psychological rehabilitation.
For obvious reasons, psychological rehabilitation is absolutely necessary for the terrible terror victims and witnesses. It should be provided on a long term and systematic basis. The terror act consequences are sorrowful and harmful for people. Still most of the children and adults are in shock after the tragedy. Children cannot talk, feel afraid, refuse to go out, and are scared of other people. Adults experience posttraumatic shock as well. These problems could be very harmful, have long lasting effects, hamper adaptation to social life and even bring people to suicide.
The population in Beslan is 35 thousands and this tragedy has come into each house, each family. Therefore, almost each family needs some kind of posttraumatic assistance.
One of the objectives of the Emergency Fund is to provide support to long-term rehabilitation projects. These projects aim to assist with the recovery of psychological health of victims and restore normal social life of the Beslan community.
Funding areas could be as follows:
1. Psychological help for victims in hospitals and health centers.
2. Social programmes and psychological rehabilitation for Beslan's population on site.
3. Setting up telephone hot-lines and other mechanisms of established psychological support.
4. Setting up children, youth and family rehabilitation programmes.
A call for appropriate proposals will be issues to invite best suiting initiatives and projects.
Specialists and organisations requesting funding need to submit an application containing the following information:
1. Full description of their experience in the field of psychological and rehabilitation services provided for people suffering from a loss of relatives, terror acts, armed conflicts, other catastrophes and having experience of work in the Northern Caucasus. 2. Description of the main idea and target audience of the project. 3. Description of the organization's recourses. 4. Project budget.
Temporary groups of specialists need to apply in partnership with a legal entity which will be accountable for financial reporting.
The group of independent experts will consider all applications and make the decisions on allocating grants.
For details of the application procedure, evaluation criteria and funding conditions applicants are advised to refer to the Beslan-LifeLine Guidelines.
Of all the performances at the Mariinsky Theatre in late December and early January – Chemiakin 's and Vainonen 's productions of The Nutcracker, Le Corsaire, Swan Lake, Rimsky-Korsakov 's fairy-tale opera Sadko, the adults ' New Years ' Gala, the children 's Christmas performance and the premiere of Rimsky-Korsakov 's The Tsar 's Bride – one event stands out in terms of its significance and scale. On 3 January there will be a repeat performance of Mahler 's Eighth Symphony under the baton of Valery Gergiev.
The first performance of the symphony in early November proved a true event, with the house full and the audience delighted. The theatre decided to perform Mahler 's Eighth Symphony once more in early January immediately after the premiere of a new production of The Tsar's Bride. The Eighth Symphony is, however, rarely performed at concerts because of the huge number of musicians required – a five (sometimes six) section orchestra, clarinets, and in addition to four trumpets and trombones there is an extra brass band, powerful string and percussion sections and keyboard instruments (only one of which is normally used in an orchestra) – organ, harmonium, celesta and piano – as well as three choruses and eight soloists.
As a result, the symphony is often – and justifiably – referred to as "the symphony of thousands ". The cosmic scale of the work makes it unique – after all it is not every day that we hear the suns and planets singing and resounding, and this is precisely what the composer succeeded in epitomising. On 3 January the public will once again have the opportunity to hear the symphony, under the baton of Valery Gergiev.
On 29 December and 2 January the Mariinsky Theatre is to stage the premiere of a new production of Rimsky-Korsakov's opera The Tsar's Bride. The Musical Director and Conductor is Valery Gergiev, the Stage Director is Yuri Alexandrov, the Set Designer is Zinovy Margolin, the Costume Designer is Irina Cherednikova and the Lighting Designer is Gleb Filshtinsky. The production is a co-production of the Mariinsky Theatre and the Diaghilev Festival Foundation (Groningen, the Netherlands).
A star cast has been engaged for the production, with singers including Anna Netrebko, Olga Trifonova, Zlata Bulycheva, Olga Savova, Yulia Smorodina, Larisa Shevchenko, Sergei Aleksashkin, Yevgeny Nikitin, Viktor Chernomortsev, Yevgeny Akimov, Oleg Balashov, Gennady Bezzubenkov, Mikhail Kit, Alexei Steblyanko and Nikolai Gassiev.
The opera was first performed at the Mariinsky Theatre on 30 October 1901 and was conducted by Eduard Napravnik. The Tsar's Bride was subsequently staged twice more, in 1924 and 1966.
The European premiere of the new production took place on 10 December 2004 at the Diaghilev Festival in Groningen, the Netherlands.
The Tsar's Bride is not the only opera by Rimsky-Korsakov to be staged this season at the Mariinsky Theatre. In March, the theatre will be staging a new production of the composer's The Tale of Tsar Saltan.
Stage Director Yuri Alexandrov speaking of the production: "The Tsar's Bride offers us the opportunity to get to the heart of the problem of the Russian people, with its ungovernable passion and sentimentality, its nobleness and cruelty. What sets our character apart can be found in Rimsky-Korsakov's opera: the harmonious coexistence of contradictory emotions. And that is what I wished to portray in The Tsar's Bride.
"The love theme is important too. People always welcome love, and it can appear in the most freakish shapes. The loving, beautiful and strong Lyubasha becomes a murderess who transgresses human morality while Gryaznoi, who has given his soul to the devil, becomes the sufferer. He ends his own life and it seems there could be nothing worse"; Everything in this opera has a human element."
Valery Gergiev, and Artists of the Mariinsky Theatre
Sunday 7th November 2004, 8.00pm
London Coliseum, St Martin's Lane, London WC2N 4ES
Presented by The Mariinsky Theatre Trust
On Sunday 7th November, Valery Gergiev, Artistic Director of the Mariinsky Theatre (Kirov Opera and Ballet) and the Orchestra of the Mariinsky will come to London to give a single concert in memory of the tragedy in Beslan, North Ossetia. Gergiev himself is a native of Vladikavkaz, the neighbouring town to Beslan. The concert, to take place at the London Coliseum (home of English National Opera) will conclude with Tchaikovsky's Symphony No.6, Pathetique. Leading soloists associated with the Mariinsky will join Gergiev and the Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre in the first half of the evening.
The funds raised from the concert will be used to help and support the people of Beslan and North Ossetia. Funds will be shared equally between the Beslan Lifeline Appeal (organised by the Charities Aid Foundation, registered UK charity 268369) and the Mariinsky Theatre's new cultural outreach programme in the Caucasus ( supported by the Mariinsky Theatre Trust, registered UK charity 1010450).
We are seeking sponsorship to support this event. Sponsorship opportunities exist at different levels:
1. General Sponsor $100,000
The General Sponsor will be credited on all publicity relating to the event (brochures, posters, advertising, press releases), with logo wherever possible, and on the title page of the performance programme for 7th November. Additionally, the General Sponsor will receive a written acknowledgement in the closing credits of the BBC2 TV transmission of the concert. If the concert TV broadcast is taken by other territories, we will endeavour to negotiate such credit on each transmission of the programme. The General Sponsor will receive a complimentary page of advertising in the performance programme, opposite the title page.
The General Sponsor will receive 20 best tickets for the performance with priority to purchase additional seats. The General Sponsor with his guests (20 people) will be invited to a private interval reception at the London Coliseum with other VIPs attending the performance.
2. Sponsor $50,000
All Sponsors of the concert will be thanked in a special page in the performance programme. Additionally Sponsors will receive a complimentary page of advertising in the performance programme. Each Sponsor will receive 8 complimentary best tickets to the performance, with the opportuntity to purchase additional best tickets. A Sponsor with his guests (8 people) will be invited to a private interval reception at the London Coliseum with other VIPs attending the performance.
3. Supporter $20,000
Supporters will receive a complimentary page of advertising in the performance programme. Each Sponsor will receive 2 complimentary best tickets to the performance and a private interval reception with the opportunity to purchase additional best tickets.
The funds raised from 7 November concert will be used to help and support the people of Beslan and North Ossetia. Funds will be shared equally between the Beslan Lifeline Appeal (organised by the Charities Aid Foundation, registered UK charity 268369) and the Mariinsky Theatre's new cultural outreach programme in the Caucasus (supported by the Mariinsky Theatre Trust, registered UK charity 1010450).
The Beslan Lifeline Appeal, administered by CAF Russia, is providing grants to hospitals, medical charities and educational organisations working in Beslan. Not only will the grants support the immediate need of families affected by the tragedy, buying medical equipment, and offering counselling for all those affected, but they will also support educational and other needs in the long term to help the people of Beslan to rebuild their community. 100% of the funds raised by the Beslan Lifeline Appeal will go directly to these projects.
The Mariinsky Theatre Trust is supporting the Mariinsky Theatre's long term programme to assist the cultural revival of the Caucasus. All of the proceeds received by the Mariinsky Theatre Trust from 7th November will be used to support these projects, which will include:
1. The creation of a series of concerts for peace in the Caucasus region including Krasnodar, Beslan and Vladikavkaz by the Mariinsky and international artists.
2. The creation of a special cultural educational programme for groups of children from Beslan who are invited to come to St Petersburg for rehabilitation.
3. To create a theatre of opera, ballet and symphonic music within a new cultural centre to be built in Vladikavkaz.
4. The Mariinsky Theatre would provide main artistic support for the new theatre, combining this with artistic cooperation and support from all the leading Caucasian theatres and artists.
5. The organisation of regular vocal and ballet masterclasses in Ossetia, given by leading coaches from the Mariinsky Theatre.
6. The creation of scholarships to enable the most talented children and students from Ossetia and the Caucasus to study at the Vaganova Ballet School, Mariinsky Young Singers' Academy, Rimsky-Korsakov Musical College and the Rimsky-Korsakov State Conservatoire in St Petersburg.
On 23 December the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatoire will host a charity concert entitled Beslan. Music for Life. The event is part of a series of concerts given all over the globe on the initiative of Valery Gergiev.
Concerts have been held in major cities, among them Paris, London, New York, Tokyo and Rome. The concert in Moscow will be the last international charity event this year with the participation of Maestro Gergiev and the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra and soloists. Moved by feelings of sympathy, unity and a desire to help, they were joined by local musicians and other Russians living in different countries throughout the world. "I really must say thank you to everyone who joined us, those who altered their plans and flew in to perform," Valery Gergiev stated.
"We have to help for a year, two years, five years, ten years, especially those children who are now aged three to five," says Valery Gergiev, "They need support in life, they need opportunities that they might not be able to find in Beslan. Now I am very familiar with the situation, I met with a large group of children and I have many young friends there. I think that showing humanity to everyone living in Beslan today is what is most important."
Outstanding soloists such as Yuri Bashmet, Dmitry Hvorostovsky and Anna Netrebko as well as the New Russia State Symphony Orchestra, the Chamber Chorus of the Moscow Conservatoire (Artistic Director: Boris Tevlin) and Mariinsky Theatre soloists will be taking part in the concert, organised by the Moscow Philharmonic. The programme includes arias and scenes from operas by Russian and Western composers as well as Giya Kancheli's Styx for solo viola, chorus and orchestra.
Late November will see a series of performances at the Mariinsky Theatre with renowned opera soloists including Olga Borodina, Irina Gordei, Olga Guryakova, Marianna Tarasova, Vladimir Galuzin, Sergei Alexashkin, Alexei Steblyanko and Daniil Shtoda. Valery Gergiev will be conducting.
On 24 November the theatre will mark one hundred years since the birth of Mariinsky Theatre soloist Konstantin Laptev, who devoted his entire career to the Mariinsky Theatre, with a performance of Khovanshchina. Olga Borodina will be performing as Marfa, one of her finest roles. She will be partnered by Alexei Steblyanko and Sergei Alexashkin among others.
On 25 November Valery Gergiev will be conducting Verdi's Requiem, one of the greatest works in the genre. It will be performed by Olga Guryakova, Marianna Tarasova, Ilya Bannik and Daniil Shtoda.
On 26 November the Mariinsky Theatre will be staging one of its most vivid and successful productions of recent years – Puccini's Turandot, directed by Charles Roubaud. The opera was premiered at the Mariinsky Theatre in July 2002. Previously, the theatre's repertoire had included Puccini's most famous operas – Madama Butterfly and La Boheme – but Turandot had been performed only in concert. As at the premiere, the role of Calaf will be performed by acclaimed tenor Vladimir Galuzin, arguably the finest interpreter of the role today. He will be partnered by Irina Gordei.
One of the highlights of late November will be the first performance of Mahler's Eighth Symphony at the Mariinsky Theatre on 27 November at 1.00 p.m. This work, often referred to as "a symphony of thousands", will be performed by the Mariinsky Theatre Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, the N. Kornev Chamber Choir, the Glinka Capella Boys' Choir and Mariinsky Theatre soloists. Valery Gergiev will be conducting.
The symphony is very rarely performed at concerts because of the huge number of performers required. At the premiere of the Eighth Symphony in 1910 there were 1030 performers, including eight soloists, three choruses and five instrumental ensembles.
Almost all of Mahler's symphonies have been performed at the Mariinsky Theatre, both by the theatre's Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Valery Gergiev, and together with guest companies. In the autumn of 1907 the composer himself visited St Petersburg and conducted the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra twice, which included a performance of his Fifth Symphony.
On 22 and 23 November, Valery Gergiev will be conducting the Mariinsky Theatre Opera Company, Chorus and Symphony Orchestra at the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall in Moscow. The theatre will present two programmes – Mahler's Second Symphony and Tchaikovsky's The Queen of Spades in a production specially created for the Hall.
Symphony No2 in C minor. Gustav Mahler. The idea for the symphony dates back to 1887 when Mahler was working on his First Symphony: a new symphonic cycle directly linked to the previous one. «I called the first movement "Funeral Feast",» wrote the composer, «This is where I bury the hero of my Symphony in D major (the First)… At the same time, this movement poses a mighty question: Why did you live' Why did you suffer'… Whosoever has been faced with this thought should have some kind of answer; and I give the answer in the final movement… The second movement is a recollection! A ray of sunlight, bright and serene, from the life of my hero.» Following the grandiose symphonic palate of the first movement and the splendid Landler in the second comes an unusual perpetuum mobile – an orchestral arrangement of a song from Mahler's vocal cycle Des Knaben Wunderhorn. This song, Des Antonius von Padua Fischpredigt, is deeply symbolic: the voice of a preacher of love and goodness, the voice of one crying in the wilderness. The fourth movement is a song from the Des Knaben Wunderhorn cycle. It is here that we hear the troubling question "Why did you live and suffer'" The answer comes in the grandiose finale, with the soloists and chorus singing a celebratory hymn "You will rise!" to words by Klopstock. The Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra's repertoire contains almost all of Mahler's symphonies. In late November the composer's magnificent Eighth Symphony will be performed at the theatre for the first time.
Soloists: Zlata Bulycheva and Irma Gigolashvili.
The concert is on 22 November and starts at 21.00.
The Queen of Spades. Pyotr Tchaikovsky. The opera was premiered at the Mariinsky Theatre on 7 December 1890 and was conducted by Eduard Napravnik. The production, which recreated the 18th century, stunned audiences with its opulence and richness. After the St Petersburg premiere, it was staged in Kiev and Moscow and then abroad, in Prague, Vienna and New York. One of the greatest interpreters of The Queen of Spades was Gustav Mahler, who named the opera "Tchaikovsky's most mature and artistically integral work". Generations of outstanding performers have left their indelible mark on the stage history of The Queen of Spades at the Mariinsky Theatre. Over the years, the opera has been performed by Nikolai Figner, Maria Slavina, Pavel Andreyev, Sofia Preobrazhenskaya, Nikolai Pechkovsky, Georgy Nelepp, Irina Arkhipova, Irina Bogacheva, Elena Obraztsova, Sergei Leiferkus and Vladimir Galuzin to name but a few. It has been conducted by Eduard Napravnik, Emil Kuper, Albert Coates, Bruno Walter, Vladimir Dranishnikov, Konstantin Simeonov and Yuri Temirkanov. The most recent stage version came in 1999. The Musical Director and Conductor is Valery Gergiev. The production is remarkable for Vladimir Galuzin's outstanding interpretation of the role of Herman; not undeservedly is he referred to as the best performer of the role today.
Director Alexei Stepanyuk and designer Vladimir Arefev are staging the production for the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall. Vladimir Galuzin will be performing as Herman. Among the other performers are Olga Guryakova, Viktor Chernomortsev, Irina Bogacheva, Alexander Gergalov, Zlata Bulycheva, Oleg Balashov and Gennady Bezzubenkov.
On 10 December the Mariinsky Theatre staged the European premiere of a new production of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's opera The Tsar's Bride in Groningen, the Netherlands. The new stage version is a co-production with the Diaghilev Festival in Groningen. The Stage Director is Yuri Alexandrov, the Set Designer is Zinovy Margolin and the Musical Director and Conductor is Valery Gergiev.
The St Petersburg premiere will take place on 29 December and 2 January. A magnificent cast is engaged in the opera, with stars including Anna Netrebko, Olga Trifonova, Zlata Bulycheva, Olga Savova, Yulia Smorodina, Larisa Shevchenko, Sergei Alexashkin, Gennady Bezzubenkov, Mikhail Kit, Yevgeny Nikitin, Viktor Chernomortsev, Alexei Steblyanko, Yevgeny Akimov, Oleg Balashov and Nikolai Gassiev.
The opera was first performed at the Mariinsky Theatre on 30 October 1901, when it was conducted by Eduard Napravnik. The Tsar's Bride was subsequently staged twice again, in 1924 and 1966.
Stage Director Yuri Alexandrov says of the opera: "The Tsar's Bride allows us the opportunity to get to the heart of problems faced by the Russian people, with their passion and sentimentality, nobleness and brutality. Rimsky-Korsakov's opera has that which sets us apart: the harmonious coexistence of contradictory emotions. And this is what I wanted to show in The Tsar's Bride.
And naturally the love theme is important. Love is always to be found in human beings, and it can take on the most freakish forms. The loving, beautiful and strong Lyubasha becomes a murderer, violating human morality and surrendering her soul to the Devil, with Gryaznoi turning into a victim. He punishes himself and we cannot imagine anything more terrible than this punishment– So everything in this opera is exhausted in human terms."
The Tsar's Bride is not the only opera by Rimsky-Korsakov to be premiered this season at the Mariinsky Theatre. In March, the Theatre will be staging the premiere of another of the composer's operas – The Tale of Tsar Saltan.
The concert Music for the Future is the latest event in a long-term programme to support the Northern Caucasus. Charity concerts have already taken place in New York and Paris. This season, the Theatre also plans to run a series of commemorative events and cultural projects with leading musicians and artists under the direction of Valery Gergiev to promote good will and refute terrorism. The concert was organised by the Mariinsky Theatre Trust (UK). It was attended by HRH Charles, Prince of Wales, which was seen as a tribute by all involved in the event, as well as raising the status of the concert, proceeds from which will be donated to worthy causes. The charity event, one of the Theatre's cultural initiatives, was picked up on by the Russian and foreign press as well as by London society.
"Raising funds is not the main thing," said Valery Gergiev in an interview with the BBC, "It is the Russian State first and foremost that must restore normality in Beslan. But it seems to me, for me personally, this is a chance to meet many of those people living in Beslan… To do something all the time and be in contact with the people who lived through those terrifying days… I merely wanted for the people of Beslan, particularly children and young people, to have the best chance possible to get their lives back after this tragedy. And, I think, we are duty-bound to help them.– (BBC Russian.com)
On a Sunday, Londoners rarely go to the theatre as the next day they have to go to work. Going to this concert, however, was an absolute must for many.
The whole world reacted to the terrorist attack in North Ossetia. The people of Britain started fundraising immediately after the tragic events. The Theatre's Artistic Director and conductor Valery Gergiev flew to London after a tour to Vienna. Helping the victims of Beslan is a long-term project for the Mariinsky Theatre. The Theatre has already donated five million roubles to the support fund.
Valerie Solti, Chair of the Mariinsky Theatre Trust, said ":The Mariinsky Theatre Trust agreed immediately to organise this concert in London. Very quickly, within a month, we had to find a suitable venue for the evening. And we managed, we are very grateful to the English National Opera for giving us the opportunity to perform at the Coliseum." (NTV. 8 11 2004)
The concert included works by Russia's greatest composers – Tchaikovsky's Pathetique Symphony and highlights from The Nutcracker, Prokofiev's Violin Concerto No. 2 and Musorgsky's Songs and Dances of Death. Dmitry Hvorostovsky performed the solo.
Dmitry Hvorostovsky, People's Artist of Russia, said "When Valery Abisalovich asked me about this, well not asked, told. He didn't even ask twice, he just started to speak, and I told him that I really wanted to be involved. Not just because he is from Ossetia, but because I felt I had to take part in such an event if it happened. I want to be involved somehow, in some way helping to deal with this tragedy." (NTV. 8.11.2004)
Half of the funds raised at the concert at the Coliseum will go to direct support for victims of the terrorist acts, and the other half will be used for long-term projects in Beslan, such as the opening of a cultural centre where children will be able to learn to play musical instruments.
On 3 December there will be a similar charity concert in Rome.
Under the baton of Valery Gergiev, the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra has given a series of charity concerts in New York, Paris, London, Tokyo and Rome as part of a long-term programme to support the Northern Caucasus. Funds raised have been allocated to support programmes in Beslan and North Ossetia to help restore people's lives; these are long-term educational, medical and cultural programmes in regions affected by terrorism. This season, the Theatre also plans to run a series of commemorative events and cultural projects with leading musicians and artists under the direction of Valery Gergiev to promote good will and refute terrorism.
On 27 October at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris, Valery Gergiev conducted a charity concert with the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra. The gala concert was arranged by the recently established Society of Friends of the Mariinsky Theatre in France ( ATHEMA) with the support of the Paris City Government and corporate sponsors (Airbus, Credit Agricole, Louis Dreyfus SAS). The programme included Tchaikovsky's Romeo and Juliet fantasy-overture and Symphony No. 5 and Musorgsky's Songs and Dances of Death, orchestrated by Shostakovich.
On 7 November at the London Coliseum, the Mariinsky Theatre gave a charity concert entitled Music for the Future in support of victims of the terrorist attack in Beslan.
Funds raised from the concert on 7 November will be used for various programmes in Beslan and North Ossetia. The funds have been allocated to the Beslan - Lifeline emergency fund ( event organised by the Charities Aid Foundation, UK) and a new Mariinsky Theatre support programme for the Caucasus ( run together with the Mariinsky Theatre Trust, UK).
The concert was organised in conjunction with the Mariinsky Theatre Trust (UK). It was attended by HRH Charles, Prince of Wales, which was seen as a tribute by all involved in the event, as well as raising the status of the concert, proceeds from which will be donated to worthy causes. The charity event, one of the Theatre's cultural initiatives, was picked up on by the Russian and foreign press as well as by London society.
"Raising funds is not the main thing," said Valery Gergiev in an interview with the BBC, "It is the Russian State first and foremost that must restore normality in Beslan. But it seems to me, for me personally, this is a chance to meet many of those people living in Beslan… To do something all the time and be in contact with the people who lived through those terrifying days… I merely wanted for the people of Beslan, particularly children and young people, to have the best chance possible to get their lives back after this tragedy. And, I think, we are duty-bound to help them." (BBC Russian.com)
In an interview with NTV, Valerie Solti, Chair of the Mariinsky Theatre Trust, said "The Mariinsky Theatre Trust agreed immediately to organise this concert in London. Very quickly, within less than a month, we had to find a suitable venue for the evening. And we managed, we are very grateful to the English National Opera for giving us the opportunity to perform at the Coliseum.".
The concert included works by Russia's greatest composers – Tchaikovsky's Pathetique Symphony and highlights from The Nutcracker, Prokofiev's Violin Concerto No. 2 and Musorgsky's Songs and Dances of Death. Dmitry Hvorostovsky performed the solo. In an interview with NTV, the singer shared his feelings about the event: "When Valery Abisalovich asked me about this, well not asked, told. He didn't even ask twice, he just started to speak, and I told him that I really wanted to be involved. I want to be involved somehow, in some way helping to deal with this tragedy."
Half of the funds raised at the concert at the Coliseum will go to direct support for victims of the terrorist acts, and the other half will be used for long-term projects in Beslan, such as the opening of a cultural centre where children will be able to learn to play musical instruments.
On 19 November Valery Gergiev conducted a charity concert with the Wiener Philharmoniker in Japan, where the programme included Tchaikovsky's Pathetique Sixth Symphony. The total raised by the event, organised by the Russian Embassy and Santori Hall, amounted to 21 million 660 thousand yen (just over 200 thousand dollars). It was decided to divide this sum in two; half has been allocated to victims of the terrorist attack in Northern Ossetia and the rest will be donated to the people of Niigata, where an earthquake on 23 October claimed 40 lives and caused great material damage. The funds for Beslan will be transferred in the near future. Valery Gergiev stated he planned to raise one million dollars for the victims of the tragedy in Beslan by running charity concerts all over the globe, including concerts in Russia, together with famous performers from countries throughout the world. "By joining forces we will soon raise one million dollars for a cultural healing programme for the children of Beslan," he said in an interview with ITAR TASS.
On 3 December a charity concert opened the Festival of Russian Culture in Rome. Under the baton of Valery Gergiev, the Mariinsky Theatre Symphony Orchestra performed a programme of works by Tchaikovsky and Rimsky-Korsakov.
Fans of Mariinsky Theatre soloist Anna Netrebko will be able to see the singer in the film The Princess Diaries by Garry Marshall (Pretty Woman), to be released for rental in Russia in the next few days.
Anna Netrebko appeared as herself in the film, performing an aria from La traviata at a reception in the presence of the queen (Julie Andrews).
At 12.00, 28 October, flowers were laid on the grave of V. A. Telyakovsky at the Seraphimovskoe Cemetery.
This tribute in memory of an outstanding man of theatre, Director of the Imperial Theatres for seventeen years, is part of the Theatre's programme to maintain the graves of leading cultural figures whose lives were connected with the Mariinsky Theatre.
18 October saw the awards ceremony of the Golden Sofit, St Petersburg's highest theatre prize. The Mariinsky Theatre picked up the largest number of awards.
Yuri Alexandrov was named Best Director for his production of The Nose. Zinovy Margolin won in the category Best Set Design for the same production. A Golden Sofit was awarded to Sergei Alexashkin for his interpretation of Ivan Susanin in the opera A Life for the Tsar. Best Ballet Production went to A Tribute to Balanchine, staged by the Mariinsky Ballet to mark one hundred years since the birth of the 20th century's greatest choreographer. Valery Gergiev won in the most prestigious category. He received the special prize "for an outstanding contribution to the development of musical theatre in Russia and for restoring Wagner's tetralogy Der Ring des Nibelungen to the Russian repertoire".
The opera season:
The first opera premiere of the season will be Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's The Tsar's Bride (29 December 2004, 2 January 2005). With this production, directed by Yuri Alexandrov and designed by Yevgeny Margolin, the Theatre will continue its quest to master Rimsky-Korsakov's legacy. The European premiere of the new production will take place at the Diaghilev Festival in Groningen in the Netherlands. At the Russian premiere, the lead female roles will be performed by Anna Netrebko (Marfa) and Olga Borodina (Lyubasha). Valery Gergiev will be conducting.
Other highlights of the opera season include:
• The VI International Rimsky-Korsakov Young Opera Singers' Competition (2-11 November 2004);
• Olga Borodina, Sergei Alexashkin and Mikhail Kit in Khovanshchina (24 November 2004), marking 100 years since the birth of Konstantin Laptev;
• Vladimir Galuzin as Calaf (Turandot, 26 November 2004);
• Olga Borodina as Dalila (Samson et Dalila, December 2004, March 2005);
• Anna Netrebko as Musette (La Boheme, December 2004), Lucia (Lucia di Lammermoor, December 2004) and Antonida (A Life for the Tsar, March 2005);
• Larisa Diadkova as Amneris (Aida, December 2004), Herodias (Salome, February 2005) and Lyubov (Mazepa, February 2005);
• A concert performance of Tristan und Isolde at the St Petersburg State University as part of the traditional open-to-all concerts for students (Act I: 27 December, Act II: 30 December 2004, Act III: 3 January 2005);
• The traditional New Year Gala Concert (31 December).
Highlights of the ballet season include:
• Ulyana Lopatkina as Nikia (La Bayadere, November 2004), the Lilac Fairy (The Sleeping Beauty, December 2004, February 2005) and Odette/Odile (Swan Lake, January 2005);
• Daria Pavlenko and Igor Zelensky in Swan Lake (October 2004);
• Daria Pavlenko's debut as Manon (Manon, November 2004);
• Diana Vishneva and Igor Zelensky in La Bayadere (November 2004);
• Diana Vishneva as Juliet (Romeo and Juliet, November 2004) and Manon (Manon, December 2004);
• Ulyana Lopatkina, Diana Vishneva and Igor Zelensky in the programme A Tribute to Balanchine (December 2004);
• Leonid Sarafanov as Prince Desire (The Sleeping Beauty, December 2004, January 2005) and Solor (La Bayadere, February 2005);
• An Artistic Evening with Diana Vishneva (January 2004).
This season's festivals:
In addition to the Theatre's traditional festivals – the Mariinsky International Ballet Festival (24 March-3 April 2005) and the Stars of the White Nights International Festival of Arts (28 May-16 July 2005) – this season will see the thematic Tchaikovsky Festival (12-19 February 2005) and Shrove-Tide Week at the Mariinsky Theatre (7-13 March 2005).
This season's tours:
This season, the Mariinsky Theatre's tours start with the Gergiev Festival, the Netherlands (19-23 October 2004), this year devoted to the music of Pyotr Tchaikovsky, with the participation of the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra and Ballet Company (for details please see http://www.gergievfestival.nl/).
Valery Gergiev will be conducting the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra in various European towns and cities this autumn: Brussels (24 October 2004), Munich (25 October 2004), Frankfurt (28 October); and next summer: Lugano (5 June 2005), Zurich (6 June), Bern (7 June), Basle (8 & 9 June), Geneva (10 June), Brescia (11 June), Bergamo (12 June), Turin (13 June) and Lucerne (22 & 23 August 2005, as part of the International Music Festival).
There will also be a concert by the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra in Rome to open a series of Days of Russian Culture in Italy (3 December).
In April, the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra will perform three concerts at Carnegie Hall, one of the world's most prestigious concert venues (4-6 April).
The Company will give a series of charity concerts under the baton of Valery Gergiev in memory of the victims of the tragic events in Beslan. The concerts will be performed in various European capital cities: Paris (27 October), Rome (3 December) and London (7 November).
The Orchestra and Opera Company will be performing a series of concerts at London's Barbican Hall (22-26 February 2005).
The Mariinsky Ballet Company will be travelling to South Korea (Seoul, 29-31 October 2004) and Taiwan (Taipei, 1-7 November 2004) in addition to performances at the Deutsche Oper in Berlin (22-30 November). The Opera and Ballet Companies will be taking part in the Diaghilev Festival in Groningen, the Netherlands (25-28 January 2005) (for details please see http://www.diaghilevfestival.com/english/index.html).
The Theatre will continue its tradition of Mariinsky Seasons at the Alexander Theatre in Helsinki, Finland. There will be performances by the Opera and Ballet Companies in November 2004 and February 2005. Moreover, the Theatre will take part in the traditional Mikkeli Festival (3-9 July 2005). There will also be a return by the Opera and Ballet Companies to the Baden-Baden Festspielhaus, one of the largest concert halls in Europe, in December 2004 and July 2005, as well as to Washington's Kennedy Center (7-24 January).
Tours will take the Theatre to Moscow and other cities throughout Russia. On 23 November at the Grand Philharmonic Hall there will be a concert performance of Tchaikovsky's The Queen of Spades, and the Theatre will be presenting an intense symphonic programme at the Easter Festival (1-11 May 2004, for details please see www.easterfestival.ru).
In April, the Ballet Company will be performing in Cardiff, Wales, at the newly opened Wales Millennium Centre (17-30 April). Both the Opera and Ballet Companies of the Mariinsky Theatre will be performing at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, one of the most prestigious musical venues in the world (the Mariinsky Ballet: 18 July-7 August 2005). Performances by the Mariinsky Ballet in 2000 marked the reopening of Covent Garden after extensive reconstruction work.
The Theatre will also be returning to the Salzburg Festival (28 & 30 July 2004). The Company will conclude its tours for the season with a performance at the III International Baltic Sea Festival (10-17 August 2005). Festival participants will travel by ship to give concerts in cities in the Baltic region, among them Kaliningrad, Riga, Helsinki and Stockholm