"The Stars of the White Nights 2003" International Ballet and Opera Festival
5 May - 5 August 2003
Artistic Director: Maestro Valery Gergiev
As the Artistic Director of both the Mariinsky Theatre and the "Stars of the White Nights festival", I am delighted to welcome all the music lovers who have come to take part in this unique celebration.Since 1993, our festival has been a focal point where performers´ artistic aspirations and audiences´ artistic interests have come together. Lauded by Pushkin, the beauty of the white nights also contributes to the festival´s special atmosphere, with performances by leading artists from both Russia and abroad. 2003 is the year of St Petersburg´s tercentenary. I am certain that both those attending and those performing in the festival will feel the energy of these celebrations.This year´s festival programme is wider and more varied than ever before. Alongside masterpieces of Russian opera and symphony music, there will be performances of western European classics, including music by Beethoven, Berlioz and Mahler. One century after "'Der Ring des Nibelungen" was first produced at the Mariinsky Theatre, we have once again turned our attentions to Wagner´s unique work and, for the first time ever in the history of Russian opera, staged a production in the original German. As always, the festival programme also includes contemporary music. Some works are being performed in Russia for the first time. I welcome all those who have come to the festival with all my heart, and hope that the "Stars of the White Nights" will be a source of joy and inspiration for performers and audiences alike, and that this festival under the pale blue sky of the Venice of the North will echo Friedrich Schiller´s words - Be embrac´d, ye millions yonder!
The Festival Celebrates the 300th Anniversary of St Petersburg.
The Stars of the White Nights festival of arts has long been an important symbol of summer in St Petersburg, a city of astounding poetry and music. The city itself provides a poetic set for the festival, which this year is especially extended. The eleventh festival seemed just too cramped in just one month - so this year it will last until August. Besides the Mariinsky Theatre, the doors of the St Petersburg Philharmonic, the Conservatoire and Smolny Cathedral will open their doors wide, the festival spreading outside theatres and concert venues and onto St Petersburg´s squares. It is already traditional for the Mariinsky Theatre to perform a concert on Palace Square, with thousands of St Petersburg´s residents and guests to the northern capital as the audience. This year, the festival´s borders are expanding to take in Vyborg, Narva, Ivangorod, Kaliningrad, Pskov and Moscow. These cities will all see Mariinsky Theatre productions and there will be concert programmes with international casts. This year, the Stars of the White Nights festival is being held under the banner of the celebrations of St Petersburg´s tercentenary. "Flags of all the nations will come to us" - the plan of Peter I, founder of St Petersburg, poetically expressed by Alexander Pushkin, another great Petersburger, has become a reality in this musical forum in the city. The festival will see world-famous orchestras perform in the city on the Neva, among them the Mariinsky Theatre Symphony Orchestra and the Wiener Philharmonischer with Valery Gergiev, the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra with James Levine, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra with Zubin Mehta, the Moscow Soloists chamber ensemble with Yuri Bashmet, the Orchestre des Champs Elysees with Philippe Herreweghe, the Rotterdam Philharmonic, the Wiener Streichsolisten, the symphony orchestras of Melbourne, Bamberg, Bilbao, Zagreb and Lahti, the Sinfonietta Cracovia and the Swedish Radio Orchestra and Chorus.Of special significance is the performance by the World Orchestra for Peace, which unites musicians from the world´s leading orchestras in a single musical entity.
The opera and ballet programmes include performances by Olga Borodina, Anna Netrebko, Vladimir Galuzin, Nikolai Putilin, Vasily Gerello, Vladimir Vaneyev, Larisa Diadkova, Ulyana Lopatkina, Svetlana Zakharova, Diana Vishneva and Igor Zelensky, stars of the Mariinsky Theatre who would be an asset to any musical forum. Artists from abroad include soprano Renee Fleming, tenor Placido Domingo, pianist and conductor Christoph Eschenbach, conductor and composer Esa Pekka Salonen, pianist Alexander Toradze, conductors Gianandrea Noseda, John Axelrod, Dmitry Liss, Manfred Honeck, Markus Stentz, Juanjo Mena and Jonathan Nott.
Performances by the Mariinsky Ballet will be succeeded by an explosive finale of festival tours by London´s Royal Ballet, John Neumeier´s Hamburg Ballett and the New York City Ballet. The Stars of the White Nightswill bring the Mariinsky Theatre´s anniversary season to a close. The annual music festival is the essence of the theatre´s artistic achievements and, for eleven years now, has been the culmination of each season. It is useless even to attempt to name the festival´s main events, its inestimable heights. Each performance, each concert, is important and unique in itself. The Stars of the White Nights festival is always awaited with eager anticipation and excitement. New names, new premieres, new acquaintances: And each year, in a sense breaking all the laws of nature, the sky over St Petersburg glows bright with stars - the musicalStars of the White Nights.