"The Stars of the White Nights 2011" International Ballet and Opera Festival
23 May - 24 July 2011
Mariinsky Theatre and Concert Hall
Artistic Director: Maestro Valery Gergiev
On 26, 27 and 28 May the Mariinsky Ballet Company will be presenting the festival at Crocus City Hall in Moscow. On 26 and 27 May in the presence of composer Arif Melikov there will be performances of his renowned ballet "The Legend of Love" with choreography by Yuri Grigorovich featuring Ulyana Lopatkina, Alina Somova, Viktoria Teryoshkina, Yekaterina Osmolkina, Yevgeny Ivanchenko, Ilya Kuznetsov, Yuri Smekalov and Bolshoi Theatre principal dancer Nikolay Tsiskaridze. On 28 May the gala programme will feature Yekaterina Kondaurova in the lead role in the ballet Carmen-Suite by Bizet and Shchedrin with choreography by Alberto Alonso. Act II of the gala will be a Divertissement including a pas de deux from the ballet "Giselle", the choreographic miniatures Russkaya, Parting and Tarantella, a "Pas de deux" to music by Tchaikovsky and Pas de Deux Classique to music by Auber.
At a press conference on 10 May 2011 Valery Gergiev said “For us it is very important to stage "The Legend of Love" in Moscow in the presence of the composer Arif Melikov. We are dedicating these performances to the fiftieth anniversary of his renowned ballet to choreography by Maestro Yuri Grigorovich. During the Stars of the White Nights, in Moscow on several occasions we have presented outstanding musicians and exceptional companies. During the Stars we have brought the Wiener Philharmoniker, the Bamberger Symphoniker, the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra with conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen and the orchestra of La Scala andRiccardo Muti among others to Moscow... It seemed to me then that Moscow audiences gave us a very warm reception. Now we are coming to Moscow and – for us – the new venue of Crocus City Hall with a ballet programme. It is possible that after the festival we will be performing other productions there.”
On 13 June at the ancient Kremlin in Veliky Novgorod there will be a performance of Rimsky-Korsakov’s opera "Sadko" under Valery Gergiev. At the press conference the maestro said “I believe it is important that a city with such a history and such a culture as that of Sergei Vasilievich Rachmaninoff – the unveiling of the monument to whom we were involved in – finds it of great interest and significance to be in talks with the Mariinsky Theatre to stage the great Russian composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s opera about Sadko – a native of Veliky Novgorod – within the walls of the Kremlin. We have been working on the concept with true inspiration. We began talks several years ago when we started collaborating between St Petersburg and the surrounding regions. We also plan to return to and perform in Pskov, Petrozavodsk, Murmansk, Arkhangelsk and Kaliningrad.”
Once again renowned international performers will be converging on St Petersburg. Guest violinists at the festival include Vadim Repin and Leonidas Kavakos, who will be joined by other festival friends such as the star Gil Shaham, appearing for the first time at the Stars, and the dazzling young violinist Alina Ibragimova, who made her stunning debut at the Concert Hall of the Mariinsky Theatre in March 2011.
Highly acclaimed pianists will be performing at the festival. For the first time there will be a unique concert series – Rudolf Buchbinder, renowned for his interpretation of the music of the Viennese classics, will perform Beethoven’s thirty-two sonatas over seven evenings. The brilliant Austrian pianist is spending the 2010-2011 season under the auspices of Ludwig Van Beethoven. The musician has released a disc of his sonatas from live concerts at the Semperoper in Dresden. Buchbinder has performed his piano concerti at the most prestigious concert halls in Europe. St Petersburg is the only Russian city to feature on that list. At the Stars there will be performances of all thirty-two sonatas by Beethoven.
Denis Matsuev and Alexander Toradze will be appearing with the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra. Igor Tchetuev and Eugene Asti will be performing in Ferruccio Furlanetto and Willard White’s recitals.
The festival will also bring together outstanding conductors. Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos, a highly acclaimed young Spanish conductor, will take to the stand at the Mariinsky Theatre for the first time and conduct a concert performance of Manuel de Falla’s classical Spanish opera La vida breve. The opera will feature Spanish singers Ana Maria Sanchez, Vicente Ombuen, Pedro Sanz, dancer Nuria Pomares and guitarist Lucas Martino.
Another legendary maestro – Kurt Masur – will be appearing with the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra in a programme of works by Mendelssohn, Schumann and Brahms.
For the Italian Gianandrea Noseda, working with the Mariinsky Theatre is nothing new. Noseda will be returning to St Petersburg to take the conducting stand with a Russian and Italian programme of works by Sergei Rachmaninoff and Ottorino Respighi.
Outstanding Estonian conductor Neeme Jarvi, head of a dazzling musical family, will also be returning to perform with the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra. The programme for his concert includes the poem Dawn by Heino Eller, the founding father of the contemporary Estonian composition school, and works by Peter Tchaikovsky – his First Piano Concerto and Fifth Symphony.
Paavo Jarvi, recipient of a Grammy for a recording of Jean Sibelius’ cantatas, will be coming to St Petersburg with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, one of the finest orchestras in Europe.
Of the full symphony orchestras at the festival, two acclaimed Russian ensembles will be performing – the Symphony Orchestra of the St Petersburg Philharmonic, Honoured Ensemble of Russia, under Yuri Temirkanov and the National Philharmonic Orchestra of Russia under Vladimir Spivakov. Festival guests include the Moscow Soloists with Yuri Bashmet, The Philharmonics of the Wiener Philharmoniker who specialise in the crossover genre and the Orchestra of the Herbert von Karajan Academy of the Berliner Philharmoniker under Wilfried Strehle.
Krzysztof Penderecki will be conducting the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra and will be attending the Russian premiere of his work A Sea of Dreams Did Breathe on Me... Songs of Reverie and Nostalgia, a cycle of twenty-one songs for soprano, mezzo-soprano, baritone, chorus and orchestra to verse by Polish poets. Valery Gergiev will be conducting the premiere.
The festival’s ballet playbill includes the finest productions in the repertoire such as this season’s premiere of Le Parc with choreography by Angelin Preljocaj and the ballets The Little Humpbacked Horse and Anna Karenina to music by Rodion Shchedrin with choreography by Alexei Ratmansky. Engaged for these performances are the ballet company’s finest soloists, among them Ulyana Lopatkina, Diana Vishneva, Viktoria Teryoshkina, Alina Somova, Yekaterina Kondaurova, Igor Zelensky, Danila Korsuntsev, Vladimir Shklyarov and Denis Matvienko.
In the course of the festival there will be galas with Diana Vishneva, Denis and Anastasia Matvienko and the Mariinsky Theatre Corps de Ballet. The corps de ballet’s gala will be held in honour of the company’s oldest teacher Nina Fyodorova Ukhova and will showcase the Mariinsky Theatre Corps de Ballet’s skills. There will be performances of Scene 2 from Swan Lake, George Balanchine’s Serenade and Harald Lander’s Etudes.
Diana Vishneva’s gala marks fifteen years of the ballerina’s life on the stage and will feature soloists from the world’s great ballet companies with whim she works. For her gala, the dancer is rehearsing the Russian premiere of a ballet by Martha Graham.
Anastasia and Denis Matvienko’s gala will feature the Russian premiere of Edward Clug’s ballet Radio and Juliet.
One guest stars of the festival will be Svetlana Zakharova, prima ballerina of the Bolshoi Theatre, who will be performing in the ballet Carmen-Suite.
The festival’s guest ballet company is the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, which is returning to St Petersburg seven years after its first visit.
The festival will see performances by such international opera stars as Barbara Frittoli in a Sarti Gala comprising highlights from operas by the 18th century Italian composer Giuseppe Sarti who was commissioned to write works by Catherine the Great, Ferruccio Furlanetto in Jules Massenet’s Don Quichotte and a recital featuring Franz Schubert’s vocal cycle Winterreise, Willard White in a recital ( the programme including songs by Robert Schumann and Johannes Brahms, arias from operas by Mozart, songs from George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess and spirituals) and in the premiere of Benjamin Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
The opera programme will see performances by the theatre’s leading soloists – Anna Netrebko, Yekaterina Semenchuk, Anna Markarova, Vladimir Galuzin, Ildar Abdrazakov, Yevgeny Nikitin,Mikhail Petrenko, Alexei Tanovitsky, Sergei Skorokhodov and Sergei Semishkur.
The festival’s opera playbill includes this season’s premieres – Leos Janacek’s Vec Makropulos, Gaetano Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore, Richard Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos and Rodion Shchedrin’s Dead Souls in addition to the theatre’s standard operatic repertoire of Peter Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, Mazepa and The Queen of Spades,Alexander Borodin’s Prince Igor, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Maid of Pskov, Sergei Prokofiev’s The Fiery Angel, Richard Wagner’s Der Fliegende Hollander and Rodion Shchedrin’s The Enchanted Wanderer.
The first of the most awaited and anticipated opera premieres of the festival will be Giuseppe Verdi’s Aida on 11 and 14 June in a production by Swiss stage director and choreographer Daniel Finzi Pasca at the Concert Hall. A magician and visionary, Finzi Pasca – who staged the acclaimed Corteo show for the Cirque du Soleil and who has staged Donca – a production of plastique after motifs by Chekhov – to great acclaim in Russia, will be working on one of Verdi’s most popular operas. Valery Gergiev will be conducting.
At the press conference Valery Gergiev said “We have been speaking with Finzi Pasca for about a year. We had the idea of doing Aida at the Concert Hall as a vivid and democratic production, a production that can be staged frequently. I don’t mean to compare it with the renowned production of Die Zauberflute – it has been performed about one hundred times, and from my point of view that is a sign of a production’s success or failure. I won’t hide my hopes that with Aida I hope we get a production for more than one season and that we can lease it out. He’s an interesting director but we mustn’t get ahead of ourselves.”
Yet another of the festival’s opera premieres at the Concert Hall comes on 21 and 27 July with Benjamin Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, staged by Claudia Solti under the musical direction of Valery Gergiev with Willard White in one of the lead roles. “Claudia Solti, daughter of the renowned conductor, works more in cinema, but here she is staging an opera that her father loved very much. I hope that both premieres will prove a great addition to the festival,” Valery Gergiev commented on the event at the press conference.
Renowned Hollywood actor John Malkovich will be returning to the festival with The Infernal Comedy which he performed last year and with The Giacomo Variations, a new work that will also feature film star Ingeborga Dapkunaite.
This year the festival will also be hosting the International Tchaikovsky Competition; the Concert Hall will host auditions for the Third Round for vocalists and a Gala Concert of the Competition’s prize-winners.
General Sponsor of the festival: VTB
Principal Sponsors of the festival: Yoko Ceschina, Sberbank, Gazprom, TOTAL, Evrofinance Mosnarbank, Japan Tobacco International, BP, MDM Bank, Vneshekonombank, BOMBARDIER BUSINESS AIRCRAFT, Montblanc