XIV International Festival of Arts The Stars of the White Nights
Over ten weeks, the festival,
which marks one hundred years since the birth of Dmitry Shostakovich,
will present around one hundred performances and concerts.
Major festival events:
- the cycle All of Shostakovich‘s Symphonies will see the performance of all fifteen of this outstanding 20th century composer for the first time as part of one symphonic series with the Mariinsky Symphony Orchestra and the London Symphony Orchestra under conductors Maxim Shostakovich, Christoph Eschenbach, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Paavo Jarvi, and - of course -Valery Gergiev.
- the cycle Shostakovich on Stage includes the composers operas The Nose and Katerina Izmailova, the operetta Moscow, Cheremushki, the ballets The Overcoat after Gogol, Leningrad Symphony to music by Shostakovich and the premiere of the ballet The Golden Age (28 and 29 June) with choreography by Noah D. Gelber.
- gala concert marking one hundred years since the birth of Dmitry Shostakovich with the Moscow Soloists chamber ensemble under Yuri Bashmet (3 July).
- popular operas and ballets by Tchaikovsky from the Mariinsky Theatre Repertoire as part of the Tchaikovsky. Selected Works programme (14-21 May).
- Richard Wagner‘s tetralogy Der Ring des Nibelungen in Russia (13-17 June).
- symphony concerts featuring pianists Yefim Bronfman (24 June) and Tzimon Barto (3 June) and violinist Leonidas Kavakos (24 June), who have taken part in previous festivals, and festival concert debuts by pianists Sergei Babayan (30 May), Anika Vavich (29 June) and Denis Matsuev (6 July).
- international opera stars in performances and concerts: Vladimir Galuzin as Canio in Leoncavallo‘s I pagliacci (23 June) and Herman in Tchaikovsky‘s The Queen of Spades (2 and 4 June) and a solo concert (12 June); German bass Rene Pape as Filippo II in Verdi‘s Don Carlos (30 June); Maria Gulegina as Abigaille in Verdi‘s Nabucco; Renee Fleming‘s solo concert (27 June); prima ballerina Ulyana Lopatkina as Odile-Odette in Swan Lake (1, 3 and 9 June) and her debut in Leningrad Symphony (3 July).
- the playbill for the ballet company is in honour of 120 years of the Mariinsky Ballet Company.
- the programmes Masterpieces of Italian Operas and Masterpieces of Russian Opera include the theatre‘s repertoire productions and this season‘s premieres.
- other festival events include a performance of Mozart‘s Requiem to mark 250 years since his birth with the Philharmonia of the Nations under Justus Frantz (28 June) and the opera Cosi fan tutte under Austrian maestro Manfred Honeck (5 July).
The festival opens on 10 may with a revival of Andrei Tarkovsky‘s legendary production of Boris Godunov.
The production appeared in the theatre‘s repertoire in 1990, the first co-production of the Mariinsky Theatre and London‘s renowned Covent Garden. The production proved a great success and was performed until 1994, after which it was staged at other leading opera houses. Valery Gergiev will be conducting, with Vladimir Ognovenko as Boris and Vasily Gerello as Shchelkalov.
The leitmotif of the XIV International Stars of the White Nights Festival is the cycle All of Shostakovich‘s Symphonies: they will be performed over eleven concerts during the festival. The series is a continuation of the ambitious project initiated by Valery Gergiev together with renowned orchestras in Russia and abroad in connection with the centenary since the birth of this outstanding composer. The project has already seen performances in New York and London, where the cycle of all fifteen symphonies will also run in 2006. There is also an educational element to the project in presenting the composer‘s less popular symphonies. The project will see performances by the Mariinsky Theatre Symphony Orchestra under Christoph Eschenbach (3 June, Fifth Symphony), Esa-Pekka Salonen (21 June, Ninth Symphony), Paavo Jarvi (29 June, Tenth Symphony), Maris Yansons (6 July, Sixth Symphony) and - of course - Valery Gergiev (5 June, Third and Thirteenth Symphonies; 20 June, Seventh Symphony; 22 June, First and Fourth Symphonies; 24 June, Second Symphony; 10 July, Eighth and Eleventh Symphonies). The anniversary cycle opens on 13 May with the composer‘s son Maxim Shostakovich, who will conduct his father‘s last two symphonies. Maxim Shostakovich conducted the world premiere of the Fifteenth Symphony when his father was still alive. The programme also includes the participation of the London Symphony Orchestra, one of the best ensembles in the world, which is visiting St Petersburg for the first time under the baton of Valery Gergiev, its future Principal Conductor.
In addition to Shostakovich‘s symphonic legacy the theatre will also be running the Shostakovich on Stage cycle. Audiences will have the chance to see both of the composer‘s operas, rarely performed in repertory theatres - The Nose (25 June), which met with sensational success at the Opera Bastille during an autumn tour to France, and Katerina Izmailova (31 May);
the Mariinsky Theatre premiere of the operetta Moscow, Cheremushki (27 June), and ballets to music by the composer The Overcoat after Gogol choreographed by Noah D. Gelber, Igor Belsky‘s Leningrad Symphony (13 May) and Konstantin Boyarsky‘s The Young lady and the Hooligan (3 July). The festival includes the premiere of the ballet The Golden Age (28 and 29 June), staged by Noah D. Gelber. This ballet is being staged at the Mariinsky Theatre for the first time since the 1930 premiere. This programme will also be shown at the Shostakovich on Stage festival which runs from 20-29 July at the London Coliseum. British audiences will have the opportunity to see all of the composer‘s works for musical theatre for the first time.
The Tchaikovsky. Selected Works programme (14-21 May), which includes the composer‘s classic works from the Mariinsky Theatre repertoire, will see performances of all of his ballets - Chemiakin and Simonov‘s The Nutcracker, Swan Lake and the 1890 version of The Sleeping Beauty and the operas Eugene Onegin, The Queen of Spades (staged by Temirkanov with Yuri Marusin as Herman), The Enchantress (with Valery Alekseyev as Prince Kurlyatev) and Mazepa (Mazepa - Valery Alekseyev).
Much of the opera programme consists of Masterpieces of Russian Opera, including works by Glinka, Musorgsky, Rimsky-Korsakov and Borodin. Each performance has outstanding casts: Larisa Diadkova (Marfa) and Vladimir Ognovenko (Ivan Khovansky) in Musorgsky‘s Khovanshchina (11 May), Nikolai Putilin as Tomsky in Tchaikovsky‘s The Queen of Spades (2 June) and Prince Igor in Borodin‘s Prince Igor (8 June) and Gennady Bezzubenkov as Susanin in Glinka‘s A Life for the Tsar (22 May) and Prince Yuri Vsevolodovich in The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh and the Maiden Fevronia (6 June).
Another festival highlight is the Great Italian Operas programme. Works by Italian composers make up a significant part of the theatre‘s opera repertoire. During the festival there will be performances of Verdi‘s Don Carlos, La forza del destino - specially written for the Russian Opera Company in 1862 - and three premieres from the current season Verdi‘s Nabucco and Falstaff and Leoncavallo‘s I pagliacci with the premiere cast: Vladimir Galuzin (Canio), Valery Alekseyev (Tonio) and Tatiana Borodina (Nedda). The Italian opera programme also includes Rossini‘s Il viaggio a Reims, performed by the Mariinsky Academy of Young Singers. This co-production with Paris‘ Theatre du Chatelet won great public acclaim both in Russia and on tour to France in December, and was awarded a Golden Mask, Russia‘s greatest theatre prize. The festival will see performances by renowned German bass Rene Pape, who makes his festival debut this year as Gurnemanz inWagner‘s Parsifal, in addition to performing his greatest role - Filippo II in Verdi‘s Don Carlos (30 June) alongside Vasily Gerello as Rodrigo; Vladimir Galuzin, the famed Mariinsky Theatre tenor, will perform as Canio in Leoncavallo‘s I pagliacci, one of the greatest tenor roles (23 June);
Maria Gulegina, one of the world‘s leading dramatic sopranos, will perform at the Mariinsky Theatre for the first time as Abigaille in Verdi‘s Nabucco (1 July) alongside Nikolai Putilin as Nabucco.
The festival includes a repeat performance of Wagner‘s tetralogy Der Ring des Nibelungen (13-17 June). Eduard Napravnik staged the first production of The Ring in Russia at the Mariinsky Theatre over one hundred years ago, although in Russian according to performing practice of the times. In 2003 Valery Gergievtackled Wagner‘s immense work in the original German. The production has since been staged not just in St Petersburg and Moscow but on tour to Germany (Baden-Baden), South Korea and Japan. Next season will see performances in the USA - in October 2006 at the Orange County Festival and in July 2007 at the Metropolitan Opera, New York. The Mariinsky‘s Ring has received international critical acclaim as "a truly historic and epoch-making event" (New York Times), proven by the fact that tickets to the performance at the Wales Millennium Centre in December 2006 sold out in four hours. The festival performance will see the participation of renowned Wagnerian singers such as Larisa Gogolevskaya, Olga Savova, Olga Sergeyeva, Mlada Khudolei, Gennady Bezzubenkov, Leonid Zakhozhaev, Nikolai Gassiev, Vasily Gorshkov, Mikhail Kit and Mikhail Petrenko.
The varied ballet repertoire will honour 120 years of the Mariinsky Ballet Company: in 1886 the ballet company moved from the St Petersburg Bolshoi Theatre to the Mariinsky Theatre. Tracing the history of this great ballet company, the festival has three sections: Imperial Ballet (ballets staged before 1917), the Kirov Ballet (ballets staged in the Soviet era) and the Mariinsky Ballet (the latest additions to the repertoire starting in 1992 when the company‘s historic name was revived). The best productions in the ballet repertoire will be performed, among them works ranging from Petipa to Balanchine, Lacotte and Forsythe.
Other major festival events include a performance of the most recent opera premiere - Britten‘s The Turn of the Screw (24 May, 18 July). No less significant are the solo concerts. Solo concerts by Vladimir Galuzin‘s solo concerts are now a tradition and this year he will be performing on (12 June). American diva Renee Fleming, who performed at the Mariinsky Theatre and in Russia for the first time at the St Petersburg Tercentenary gala concert, will be appearing once again with a solo concert (27 June). Outstanding pianist Yefim Bronfman, one of the greatest interpreters of 20th century music, will be giving a solo concert (25 June).
This year marks 250 years since the birth of Mozart, and the festival programme includes a performance of his Requiem by the Philharmonia of the Nations under Justus Frantz (28 June) and the opera Cosi fan tutte under Austrian maestro Manfred Honeck (5 July).
This festival will be the last before the historic theatre building closes for reconstruction and during the festival the theatre will also be using one of the venues allocated for the reconstruction period - the Russian Ballet and Musical Comedy Theatre, where there will be ballet galas (16, 17 and 22 June) and the operetta Moscow, Cheremushki (26 June).
In line with the tradition begun in 2002, the festival will extend its horizons beyond St Petersburg: on 29 June at the Ivangorod fortress and on 7 July in Vyborg there will be performances of Tchaikovsky‘s opera Mazepa.