From 11 to 13 March, the Mariinsky Theatre will embarkon a three-day tour at the Moscow Concert Hall "Zaryadye," where audiences can anticipate performances by opera and ballet stars: Diana Vishneva, Kimin Kim, Mikhail Petrenko, and Ekaterina Sergeeva, along with the Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Valery Gergiev
From 11 to 13 March, the Mariinsky Theatre will embarkon a three-day tour at the Moscow Concert Hall "Zaryadye," where audiences can anticipate performances by opera and ballet stars: Diana Vishneva, Kimin Kim, Mikhail Petrenko, and Ekaterina Sergeeva, along with the Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Valery Gergiev.
On 13 March at 19:00, the capital's audience will experience two performances, which premiered at the Mariinsky Theatre in the previous season. The "Zaryadye" stage will feature one-act compositions by Béla Bartók – the ballet A Csodálatos Mandarin and the opera A Kékszakállú Herceg Vára. Yuri Possokhov tookon the roles of director and choreographer for these productions.
Béla Bartók is renowned primarily for his symphonic and piano compositions – his single opera and two ballets, one of which is A Csodálatos Mandarin, seldom grace Russian stages. The upcoming program purposefully pairs these one-act compositions by the Hungarian composer, a pairing Bartók himself considered fortunate.
A Csodálatos Mandarin made its world premiere in 1926 at the Cologne Municipal Theatre. Melchior Lengyel's libretto, basedon the tale of an enchanted Chinese mandarin (an official) whose passion for a street girl renders him immortal, serves as its foundation. The radical musical innovation and dark narrative shocked the conservative public – the performance was removed from the repertoire immediately after its second showing due to its "immorality." Public recognition came posthumously for the composer: A Csodálatos Mandarin has been staged numerous timeson leading European and American platforms, yet it remains a rarityon the Russian scene. Yuri Possokhov choreographed the current production. On 13 March, Diana Vishneva and Kimin Kim will perform the leading roles.
The evening's second revelation will be A Kékszakállú Herceg Vára, Béla Bartók's only opera. This piece premiered in 1918 at the Hungarian Royal Opera House in Budapest. Hungarian writer Béla Balázs served as the librettist. In his rendition of the famous French fairy tale, the four wives of the Duke symbolize the life stages of Bluebeard: morning, day, evening, and night. The last, the main character Judith, demands her husband to open all doors, behind which lie horrifying secrets. Seven doors lead to seven expressive symphonic pictures, immersing the audience in a grim and tense atmosphere. The opera is performed in Hungarian. Mikhail Petrenko and Ekaterina Sergeeva will takeon the leading roles at the "Zaryadye" hall.
The events are supported by the Moscow City Department of Culture.
In the city of Aleksin, where the distinguished contemporary composer Rodion Shchedrin grew up, the Shchedrins' House-Museum will be established. This announcement was made at a joint press conference on 25 February by Valery Gergiev, General Director of the Bolshoi Theatre of Russia and Artistic Director of the Mariinsky Theatre, and Alexey Dyumin, Governor of the Tula Region
In the city of Aleksin, where the distinguished contemporary composer Rodion Shchedrin grew up, the Shchedrins' House-Museum will be established. This announcement was made at a joint press conference on 25 February by Valery Gergiev, General Director of the Bolshoi Theatre of Russia and Artistic Director of the Mariinsky Theatre, and Alexey Dyumin, Governor of the Tula Region.
"It's impossible to imagine the Mariinsky's repertoire today without the works of Rodion Shchedrin. We are approaching the anniversary of Maya Mikhailovna Plisetskaya, the legendary ballerina of the Bolshoi Theatre of the then USSR. We had known and been friends for many decades. It seems symbolic that we, her friends and the friends of the composer, are filled with the desire not only to preserve but to eternally engrain in the region and in Russia the name of the great Russian classic, Rodion Konstantinovich Shchedrin. At least five years ago, we thought about how this region would be enriched. Various circumstances did not allow it to fully unfold, but now, I am confident, this significant step binds us for a long time," said Valery Gergiev.
The creation of the house-museum is a joint project of the Valery Gergiev Foundation and the Government of the Tula Region. The Foundation purchased the house where Rodion Shchedrin spent his childhood and to which he often returned. His parents and grandfather lived there. Shchedrin often mentioned that it was in Aleksin that he absorbed the spirit of the Russian hinterland, the folk spirit. This is reflected in his works: the operas Not Love Alone, The Lefthander, the Russian liturgy The Sealed Angel, which first resounded in 2022 in Aleksin, in the Assumption Church where the composer's grandfather once served. The string orchestra cycle Russian Photographs also begins with the part Old City of Aleksin, in memory of the dear place to the composer.
"We hope that this will be more than just a museum, that the project will live and develop. We would like music to resound in the Shchedrins' estate, and creative events involving artists from the Bolshoi and Mariinsky Theatres to take place," said Governor Alexey Dyumin.
The house-museum will collect and display unique materials about the life and work of Rodion Shchedrin. In turn, the museum will become another attraction for residents and visitors of the region and will promote the work of the great contemporary from Tula, whose name stands alongside such globally renowned composers as Rimsky-Korsakov, Prokofiev, and Tchaikovsky.
The Bolshoi and Mariinsky Theatres are proud of their longstanding collaboration with Rodion Konstantinovich Shchedrin. The Bolshoi Theatre commissioned many of the composer's works, including the ballet The Little Humpbacked Horse and the opera Dead Souls. For his wife, the outstanding ballerina Maya Plisetskaya, Rodion Shchedrin created Carmen Suite and composed three more ballets based on famous literary plots – Anna Karenina, The Lady with the Dog, and The Seagull, with premieres held on the Bolshoi stage. Today, his operas and ballets, symphonic and choral works are regularly performed on the stages of the Mariinsky in St Petersburg, Vladivostok, and Vladikavkaz, and sound during the Mariinsky troupe's tours.
Shchedrin first appeared on the bill of the then Kirov Theatre in 1978. Director Boris Pokrovsky and conductor Yuri Temirkanov brought the staging of Dead Souls from the Bolshoi Theatre to St Petersburg. In 1983, choreographer Dmitry Bryantsev created his version of The Little Humpbacked Horse for the Kirov troupe. These performances ran until the mid-1980s, and the next wave of Shchedrin's stagings began under Valery Gergiev, with The Enchanted Wanderer (2007), and continues to this day. Over the years, Rodion Shchedrin has found remarkable interpreters of his music at the Mariinsky Theatre. First and foremost is Maestro Gergiev, to whom the composer entrusts all new scores, but also opera and ballet soloists, artists and directors, orchestra and choir artists, chorus masters, concertmasters, and coaches, who have become true "Shchedrin specialists". In 2013, the world premiere of the opera The Lefthander took place at the Mariinsky Theatre, in 2015 – the world premiere of A Christmas Tale, and in 2017 Not Only Love was staged for the first time. In December, the Mariinsky traditionally honors Rodion Shchedrin on his birthday. In 2022, to celebrate the composer's jubilee, a grand festival "Shchedrin – 90" was held – for nearly a whole month, the music of the distinguished composer resounded in the historic and new stages and in the Concert Hall.
In celebration of the 180th anniversary of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's birth, Moscow and St Petersburg will host grand exchange tours of the opera companies from the Bolshoi and Mariinsky Theatres. From 23 to 25 February the Mariinsky's opera company will grace the Historic Stage of the Bolshoi with the composer's masterpieces: The Maid of Pskov, The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh and the Maiden Fevroniya, and Christmas Eve. Valery Gergiev will conduct all the operas
In celebration of the 180th anniversary of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's birth, Moscow and St Petersburg will host grand exchange tours of the opera companies from the Bolshoi and Mariinsky Theatres. From 23 to 25 February the Mariinsky's opera company will grace the Historic Stage of the Bolshoi with the composer's masterpieces: The Maid of Pskov, The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh and the Maiden Fevroniya, and Christmas Eve. Valery Gergiev will conduct all the operas.
From 27 to 29 February the Bolshoi Theatre will treat St Petersburg's audiences to the opera The Tsar's Bride – a legendary performance from the golden repertoire, resplendent in Fyodor Fedorovsky's lavish designs, staged in the mid-20th century and revived in 2014 by director Yulia Pevzner. Aliona Pikalova served as the set designer, with Elena Zaitseva as the costume designer.
The history of these exchange tours began in 1940 when the Bolshoi hosted the troupe from Leningrad's Kirov Opera and Ballet Theatre during the Decade of Leningrad Theatrical and Musical Arts in Moscow. At that time, audiences enjoyed Glinka's A Life for the Tsar, Tchaikovsky's The Queen of Spades, Rimsky-Korsakov's The Tale of Tsar Saltan, and ballets such as Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake, Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet, Krein's Laurencia, and Balanchivadze's The Heart of the Mountains.
Since 1962 the Leningrad troupe regularly visited Moscow. In 1976, during the celebration of the Bolshoi Theatre's 200th anniversary, it performed on its stage and at the Kremlin Palace of Congresses. The tour program included Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov, Khrennikov's Into the Storm, Shaporin's The Decembrists, Glinka's A Life for the Tsar, Rimsky-Korsakov's The Tsar's Bride, Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor, Petrov's Peter the Great, Dzerzhinsky's Quiet Flows the Don, Mussorgsky's Khovanshchina, Sviridov's Pathétique Oratorio for soloists, chorus, and orchestra; and ballets such as Chopiniana to Chopin's music, Tchaikovsky's The Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake, Petrov's The Creation of the World, Shostakovich's Leningrad Symphony, Alexandrov's The Lefthander, Slonimsky's Icarus, Stravinsky's The Firebird, Kajlaev's Daughter of the Mountains, and the Shadows scene from Minkus's ballet La Bayadère.
In the same year, 1976, as part of the "White Nights" arts festival and the celebration of the Bolshoi Theatre's 200th anniversary, the Bolshoi troupe made its first appearance on the stage of Leningrad's Kirov Opera and Ballet Theatre. The tour repertoire included Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov, Tchaikovsky's The Queen of Spades, Prokofiev's Semyon Kotko and The Gambler, Verdi's Il Trovatore; and ballets such as Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker, Khachaturian's Spartacus, Prokofiev's Ivan the Terrible, Esipova's Angara, Shchedrin's Anna Karenina, Bizet-Shchedrin's Carmen Suite, music by Mozart and Salieri for Mozart and Salieri, and Mahler's music for The Death of the Rose.
Artists from the Mariinsky (formerly Kirov) Theatre have visited Moscow on several occasions. In its bicentennial year of 1983, both the opera and ballet companies once again graced the stages of the Bolshoi Theatre and the Kremlin Palace of Congresses. The Leningrad ballet company showcased performances in Moscow in December 1988 at the Kremlin Palace and in September 1990 as part of the P.I. Tchaikovsky festival on the Bolshoi stage.
In 1998, with the support of the Moscow Government, the Bolshoi and Mariinsky Theatres engaged in full-scale exchange tours to commemorate the momentous occasion of the capital's 850th anniversary. The Mariinsky artists presented on the Bolshoi stage ballets such as Asafiev's The Fountain of Bakhchisarai, Minkus's La Bayadère and Don Quixote, Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake, a divertissement from Deldevez's ballet Paquita, Chopiniana set to the music of Chopin, and an evening of American choreography; operatic masterpieces included Shostakovich's Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, Wagner's Der Fliegende Holländer and Parsifal, Prokofiev's The Fiery Angel, and Mussorgsky's Khovanshchina.
The Bolshoi Theatre's tour program featured ballets such as Adam's Giselle, Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake, Stolze's The Taming of the Shrew (inspired by Domenico Scarlatti), The Delights of Mannerism set to the music of Richard Strauss, and Dreams of Japan with music by Eto, Yamaguchi, and Tosha arranged by Grishin; operas included Glinka's A Life for the Tsar, Prokofiev's The Love for Three Oranges, Verdi's Aida and La Traviata, Tchaikovsky's The Maid of Orleans, Rachmaninoff's Francesca da Rimini, as well as his cantata The Bells for soloists, choir, and orchestra.
The next exchange tours took place in 2001 during the "Golden Mask" theatre festival. From 17 to 18 November, the Mariinsky Theatre presented Prokofiev's opera Semyon Kotko, a gala concert with excerpts from Tchaikovsky's operas The Queen of Spades and Mazeppa, and ballets staged by George Balanchine: Serenade and Pas de Deux to Tchaikovsky's music. The Mariinsky Theatre Chorus and Orchestra participated, conducted by Valery Gergiev. In return, the Bolshoi Theatre brought to St Petersburg Tchaikovsky's opera Eugene Onegin, staged by Boris Pokrovsky, and Tchaikovsky's ballet Swan Lake, staged by Yuri Grigorovich, with the participation of the Bolshoi Theatre Chorus and Orchestra. The conductors were Alexander Kopylov, Fuat Mansurov, and Mark Ermler.
In March 2003, the Mariinsky ballet company and orchestra toured the Historic Stage of the Bolshoi Theatre. The program included ballets Young Man and Death to Bach's music, Le Jeune Homme et la Mort, Middle Duet to Hanon's music, Manon to Massenet's music (arranged by Lucas and Gont), and Prokofiev's The Prodigal Son. The Mariinsky hosted performances by the opera and ballet companies featuring the Bolshoi Theatre Chorus and Orchestra. The program included Puccini's opera Turandot and an evening of choreography by Roland Petit, featuring the ballets Passacaglia and The Queen of Spades. The conductors were Vladimir Andropov and Alexander Vedernikov.
The Mariinsky Theatre last graced the Historic Stage of the Bolshoi nearly two decades ago, in 2005, just before the building closed for reconstruction. At that time, Moscow had the privilege of witnessing Richard Wagner's tetralogy Der Ring des Nibelungen in its entirety for the first time in many years. The operas Das Rheingold, Die Walküre, Siegfried, and Götterdämmerung were performed in succession.
In that same year, 2005, the Bolshoi Theatre's artists made their way to Saint Petersburg. On the Mariinsky stage, they presented the operas The Children of Rosenthal by Leonid Desyatnikov, a work specially commissioned by the Bolshoi and staged by the eminent director Eimuntas Nekrošius, and Richard Wagner's Der Fliegende Holländer.
For comments, please refer to the statement by Valery Gergiev, General Director of the Bolshoi Theatre of Russia and Artistic Director of the Mariinsky Theatre, at the provided link.
The theatre continues to acquaint the audience with operatic rarities, and for the first time in its modern history Meyerbeer’s Les Huguenots will receive a full-scale production at the Mariinsky Theatre. The premiere is set to take place at the New Stage on 29 February, coinciding with the 188th anniversary of the opera’s world premiere in Paris. The production is helmed by the director Konstantin Balakin, with Elena Vershinina as the set and costume designer, and under the musical direction of Valery Gergiev
The theatre continues to acquaint the audience with operatic rarities, and for the first time in its modern history Meyerbeer’s Les Huguenots will receive a full-scale production at the Mariinsky Theatre. The premiere is set to take place at the New Stage on 29 February, coinciding with the 188th anniversary of the opera’s world premiere in Paris. The production is helmed by the director Konstantin Balakin, with Elena Vershinina as the set and costume designer, and under the musical direction of Valery Gergiev.
Meyerbeer’s now seldom-performed masterpiece once enjoyed incredible popularity; its world premiere at the Opéra de Paris was followed by a wave of productions worldwide, with Les Huguenots sustaining over a thousand performances and remaining a fixture in opera houses until the early 20th century. This success cemented Meyerbeer’s status as one of the most influential European composers of his time.
Together with the librettist Eugène Scribe Meyerbeer crafted a quintessential example of grand French opera, adhering to all the genre’s conventions. This monumental five-act musical and theatrical work features an expansive historical-heroic backdrop, lavish choral and ballet scenes, and a tragic conclusion. The music is distinctly theatrical and expressive, filled with impactful moments and the brilliance of orchestral colour. The plot of Les Huguenots refers to one of the darkest chapters in French history – the second half of the 16th century – against the backdrop of the bloody Wars of Religion (St Bartholomew’s Day Massacre) and unfolds the tragic love story between the Protestant Raoul and the Catholic Valentine.
Les Huguenots first resonated in Russia in 1843, seven years after its Parisian debut. Initially performed by the German Opera Company, it was later, in 1850, taken up by the Italian Opera Company, which altered the setting to Italy and transformed the Huguenots and Catholics into Guelphs (supporters of the Papal interests) and Ghibellines (supporters of the Holy Roman Emperor). In February 1862 Meyerbeer’s opera was performed in Russian for the first time at the Mariinsky Theatre. The theatre revisited this work in 1871, 1899, 1928, 1935 and 1951.
Preparation for the new production spanned several years, gradually introducing contemporary audiences to the opera. Initially, artists presented a chamber version accompanied by piano, followed by performances of the first two acts with the Mariinsky Orchestra under Valery Gergiev. Last season, for the first time in nearly seventy years, Les Huguenots was performed in its entirety at the Concert Hall. Now audiences will have the opportunity to experience a full-scale production of this exemplar of grand French opera and Meyerbeer’s finest work.
On 4 February, at the Dalian Grand Theatre in Liaoning Province, China, a gala ballet concert will take place as part of the “Made in Russia” festival. Representing the Russian art of dance will be soloists from the Mariinsky Theatre – Ekaterina Kondaurova, Oksana Skorik, Renata Shakirova, Roman Belyakov, Philip Stepin, and Ruslan Stenyushkin, alongside artists from the Leonid Yakobson Ballet Theatre and students of the Vaganova Ballet Academy
On 4 February, at the Dalian Grand Theatre in Liaoning Province, China, a gala ballet concert will take place as part of the “Made in Russia” festival. Representing the Russian art of dance will be soloists from the Mariinsky Theatre – Ekaterina Kondaurova, Oksana Skorik, Renata Shakirova, Roman Belyakov, Philip Stepin, and Ruslan Stenyushkin, alongside artists from the Leonid Yakobson Ballet Theatre and students of the Vaganova Ballet Academy.
The evening's program will feature excerpts from performances that constitute the golden fund of the world ballet repertoire: Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker and Swan Lake, Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade, and Minkus's Don Quixote. The artists' performances will be accompanied by the Chinese National Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of Valery Ovsyanikov.
The ballet gala concert in Dalian will become an important symbol of Russian-Chinese friendship, cooperation, openness, and mutual interests between the two countries. It will also serve as one of the starting points for cross-cultural exchanges between Russia and China in 2024.
This repertoire gem which last year resonated twice in concert performance will grace the stage in a production directed by Vladislav Furmanov, featuring set and costume designs by Galina Filatova. Additional premiere performances are scheduled for 10 and 23 February
This repertoire gem which last year resonated twice in concert performance will grace the stage in a production directed by Vladislav Furmanov, featuring set and costume designs by Galina Filatova. Additional premiere performances are scheduled for 10 and 23 February.
I puritani represents the final masterpiece of the distinguished bel canto composer Vincenzo Bellini. He composed it specifically for four virtuosic vocalists: soprano Giulia Grisi, tenor Giovanni Rubini, baritone Antonio Tamburini and bass Luigi Lablache.
The libretto, penned by Carlo Pepoli, draws inspiration from the play Roundheads and Cavaliers by François Ancelot and Joseph Xavier Boniface, known as Saintine. It narrates the tumultuous dilemma between love and the duty of honour, weaving a tale of mortal peril, madness, and mercy. Bellini selected the most compelling episodes and crafted them into a narrative, with Pepoli tasked to translate these into verse. Throughout the process the librettist frequently revised his work to satisfy the demanding composer.
The world premiere of I puritani took place in January 1835 at the Théâtre-Italien in Paris, where it swiftly captured the hearts of the audience. Regrettably, Bellini did not live to fully savour the monumental success of his creation; his untimely demise in September 1835 was a profound loss to opera aficionados. However, the triumph of the soloists, upon whom Bellini had placed his trust, was so immense that they became celebrated as the “Puritani Quartet” continuing to tour the leading opera capitals for several years.
In St Petersburg I puritani was staged merely five years following its global debut – in 1840, the opera was presented at the Grand (Stone) Theatre, from which the Mariinsky Theatre traces its heritage.
For an extended period this opera was a staple in theatres worldwide. However, today I puritani is a rarity on the global stage. Concert performances are infrequent, and fully staged productions are even rarer, despite I puritani being every bit as esteemed as Bellini’s well-known Norma.
The upcoming Mariinsky Theatre premiere is in the capable hands of director Vladislav Furmanov and designer Galina Filatova. The production will adopt a minimalist aesthetic, eschewing ornamental excess for meaningful symbolism and references. The nuances of Puritan life will be accentuated by historically accurate details that will astonish contemporary audiences.
The principal roles will be performed by a distinguished cast, including Elvira by Albina Shagimuratova, Yekaterina Savinkova, Olga Pudova, Oxana Shilova, Anastasia Kalagina, Antonina Vesenina and Kristina Gontsa; Sir George Walton by Maharram Huseynov, Mikhail Petrenko, Yakov Strizhak, Miroslav Molchanov, Yuri Vorobiev, Gevorg Grigoryan and Askar Abdrazakov; Lord Arthur Talbot by Jihoon Son, Alexander Mikhailov, Klim Tikhonov, Boris Stepanov, Denis Zakirov and Kirill Belov; Sir Richard Forth by Vladislav Sulimsky, Roman Burdenko, Vyacheslav Vasilyev, Vladimir Moroz, Yaroslav Petryanik and Vladislav Kupriyanov.
On 27, 28 and 29 February the Bolshoi Theatre of Russia will present Rimsky-Korsakov’s opera The Tsar’s Bride on the Historical Stage of the Mariinsky Theatre. These performances are part of a large-scale joint festival of the two theatres marking the 180th anniversary of the composer’s birth
On 27, 28 and 29 February the Bolshoi Theatre of Russia will present Rimsky-Korsakov’s opera The Tsar’s Bride on the Historical Stage of the Mariinsky Theatre. These performances are part of a large-scale joint festival of the two theatres marking the 180th anniversary of the composer’s birth.
The Tsar’s Bride was Rimsky-Korsakov’s ninth opera and his third work based on the historical dramas of Lev Mey. The first was The Maid of Pskov and The Noblewoman Vera Sheloga appeared a year before The Tsar’s Bride. Rimsky-Korsakov’s brilliant musical rendition immortalised Mey’s plays.
The plot of The Tsar’s Bride is based on the true fate of Ivan the Terrible’s third wife, Marfa Sobakina, who died two weeks after their marriage. However, the opera does not claim historical accuracy. Both the playwright and the composer painted vivid characters, providing their own motivations for the actions of the protagonists.
At the Bolshoi Theatre The Tsar’s Bride was first staged in 1916. Since its premiere it has featured the best talents of the Bolshoi as well as many promising debutants. In 1955 a production became the last work of the outstanding theatre artist Fyodor Fedorovsky. His monumental historical sets, which became classics of the “grand style”, were recreated in 2014 under the supervision of scenographer Aliona Pikalova and adorn the current production of the Bolshoi Theatre. The director of the revival is Yulia Pevzner with costumes by Elena Zaitseva.
The grand festival celebrating Rimsky-Korsakov’s anniversary will last throughout the entire theatrical season and will take place not only in Moscow and St Petersburg but also in Vladivostok at the Primorsky Stage of the Mariinsky Theatre, and in Vladikavkaz at the branch of the Mariinsky Theatre in the Republic of North Ossetia–Alania. A significant event will be a musical tribute in the composer’s hometown, Tikhvin, featuring a joint performance by the troupes of the Mariinsky and Bolshoi theatres.
As part of the exchange tours commemorating the 180th anniversary of Rimsky-Korsakov, the Mariinsky Theatre will present on the stage of the Bolshoi Theatre of Russia The Maid of Pskov with the prologue The Noblewoman Vera Sheloga (23 February), Christmas Eve (24 February) and The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh and the Maiden Fevroniya (25 February). Valery Gergiev will conduct all the operas. The composer’s anniversary is also celebrated by the Mariinsky Theatre’s performances of The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh and the Maiden Fevroniya (16, 23 January) and Sadko (14 February) in St Petersburg.
The year 2024 marks significant anniversaries in the arts – 225 years since the birth of Pushkin and 220 years since the birth of Glinka. Throughout the season the Bolshoi and Mariinsky theatres will host special events celebrating these dates
The year 2024 marks significant anniversaries in the arts – 225 years since the birth of Pushkin and 220 years since the birth of Glinka. Throughout the season the Bolshoi and Mariinsky theatres will host special events celebrating these dates.
The grand celebration of Glinka’s 220th birthday will begin on 6 January. At 13:00 the New Stage of the Mariinsky Theatre will showcase the Ruslan and Lyudmila opera. Key roles will be performed by Yekaterina Savinkova, Gleb Peryazev, Zlata Bulycheva, Mikhail Kolelishvili, Tatiana Pavlovskaya, Oleg Videman, Leonid Zakhozhaev, Gennady Bezzubenkov and Elena Vitman.
“This year Russia’s two main theatres will celebrate a major anniversary in the world of musical culture – the 220th anniversary of Mikhail Glinka’s birth, the founder of Russian classical music. We will definitely visit Smolensk, his birthplace, and hold a joint vibrant event there,” notes Valery Gergiev, General Director of the Bolshoi Theatre and Artistic and General Director of the Mariinsky Theatre.
It is worth mentioning that the Mariinsky previously commenced the Year of Pushkin opening on 3 January with the opera The Tale of Tsar Saltan by Rimsky-Korsakov – another anniversary figure this year. For his 180th birthday the Bolshoi and Mariinsky theatres have planned a large festival and exchange tours.
The names of Pushkin and Glinka are closely intertwined with the history of the Mariinsky. On the stage of the Bolshoi (Stone) Theatre at Carousel Square from which the Mariinsky traces its history, world premieres of Glinka’s operas A Life for the Tsar (1836) and Ruslan and Lyudmila (1842) took place. A Life for the Tsar was also performed at the opening of the first theatrical season in 1860 in the new building now known as the Historical Stage of the Mariinsky Theatre.
Both operas remain in the Mariinsky’s repertoire to this day enjoying unwavering success with audiences nearly two centuries later. Last April A Life for the Tsar was presented to the audience with revived dances from the Polish act based on the choreography of Sergey Koren and Andrei Lopukhov (1939 production). Choreographer for the revival was Elena Bazhenova, directors were Ilya Ustyantsev and Mikhail Smirnov. Symphonic and chamber compositions by Glinka are regularly performed on all Mariinsky stages today, and his romances and songs embellish vocal evenings of leading opera soloists.
The Bolshoi (Stone) Theatre was one of the most important cultural centres of the capital, frequented by Alexander Pushkin. The plots of his poems, novels, and fairy tales repeatedly attracted the attention of major composers, becoming the basis of the most famous opuses and forever imprinting the literary genius of the poet in musical art. Today at the Mariinsky one can enjoy the operas Eugene Onegin, The Queen of Spades and Mazepa by Tchaikovsky, Boris Godunov by Musorgsky, The Tale of Tsar Saltan, The Golden Cockerel and Mozart and Salieri by Rimsky-Korsakov, Ruslan and Lyudmila by Glinka, Mavra by Stravinsky, and the ballets The Fountain of Bakhchisarai by Asafyev and The Bronze Horseman by Glière: the literary basis for all these compositions are the works of Pushkin.
In concert and chamber programmes the Mariinsky Theatre has also performed the opera The Miserly Knight by Rachmaninoff (based on the eponymous play by Pushkin), musical illustrations to Belkin’s Tales, created in the 20th century by Georgy Sviridov and in the 21st century by Alexei Pozin, a soloist of the Mariinsky Orchestra, and many other compositions.
On 6 January, the birthday of Ilya Musin, the Concert Hall of the Mariinsky Theatre will host a concert dedicated to the 120th anniversary of the birth of this legendary educator and conductor. The concert will feature the brilliant soprano Albina Shagimuratova with Valery Gergiev conducting the Mariinsky Orchestra
On 6 January, the birthday of Ilya Musin, the Concert Hall of the Mariinsky Theatre will host a concert dedicated to the 120th anniversary of the birth of this legendary educator and conductor. The concert will feature the brilliant soprano Albina Shagimuratova with Valery Gergiev conducting the Mariinsky Orchestra.
The festive programme prominently showcases the legacy of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, including his opera arias, the Capriccio Espagnol, the overture to the opera The Tsar’s Bride and a suite from the opera The Tale of Tsar Saltan. Additionally, Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet and Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances will be performed.
Ilya Musin was a conductor, a theoretician and the founder of a Russian school of conducting, but above all he was a great educator who nurtured a whole constellation of the brightest maestros. He began teaching at the Leningrad Conservatory in the early 1930s and dedicated more than sixty years to teaching. His students at various times included Valery Gergiev, Yuri Temirkanov, Semyon Bychkov, Vasily Sinaisky, Anatoly Briskin and many other renowned conductors.
“First and foremost, he was someone who received the gift of being a musician from God, and shared it with a vast number of people. He knew how to unlock talents not to restrain them, and generously shared all his knowledge teaching complete devotion to the chosen path,” says Valery Gergiev, Artistic and General Director of the Mariinsky Theatre.
The concert is part of the grand festival celebrating the 180th anniversary of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s birth, jointly organised by the Bolshoi and Mariinsky theatres throughout the current season.
2024 will present us a major festival dedicated to the musical legacy of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov timed to the 180th anniversary of the composer's birth. This festival-tribute, spanning the entire theatre season, will highlight exchange tours between the Bolshoi and Mariinsky Theatres and their joint performance in the city of Tikhvin, Rimsky-Korsakov's birthplace
2024 will present us a major festival dedicated to the musical legacy of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov timed to the 180th anniversary of the composer's birth. This festival-tribute, spanning the entire theatre season, will highlight exchange tours between the Bolshoi and Mariinsky Theatres and their joint performance in the city of Tikhvin, Rimsky-Korsakov's birthplace.
Starting the new year in Moscow and St Petersburg both theatres will honour the great Russian composer. The Bolshoi Theatre's New Stage will host The Tale of Tsar Saltan on 4 January at 12:00 and 19:00, and again on 5 and 6 January, while The Tsar's Bride will grace the Historic Stage on 20 and 21 February. The Mariinsky's schedule includes The Tale of Tsar Saltan on 3 January at 13:00 and 19:00, Christmas Eve on 7 January at 12:00 and 19:00, May Night on 10 January, and The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh and the Maiden Fevroniya on 16 and 23 January.
From 23 to 25 February the Mariinsky Theatre will perform at the Bolshoi's Historic Stage. The first performance will be The Maid of Pskov with the prologue The Noblewoman Vera Sheloga, followed by Christmas Eve on 24 February, and The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh and the Maiden Fevroniya on 25 February, staged and decorated by Alexei Stepanyuk with costumes by Irina Cherednikova. Valery Gergiev will conduct all performances.
On 27, 28 and 29 February the Bolshoi Theatre troupe will present The Tsar's Bride at the Mariinsky's Historic Stage – a legendary mid 20th century production from its golden repertoire lavishly decorated by Fyodor Fedorovsky and revived in 2014 by director Yulia Pevzner. Scenography by Alona Pikalova with costumes by Elena Zaitseva.
Throughout the theatre season audiences in Moscow and St Petersburg can also enjoy other masterpieces by Rimsky-Korsakov: Sadko, The Golden Cockerel, The Snow Maiden, Kashchey the Immortal, Mozart and Salieri. Vocal and symphonic works by the composer will also be widely featured. For instance, on 17 and 19 July the Bolshoi Theatre Symphony Orchestra conducted by Dmitry Liss will perform a concert with opera soloists and choir at the Historic Stage.
Another key event in honouring Rimsky-Korsakov will be the performance of both theatres in Tikhvin, continuing the Mariinsky's tradition of musical tributes to great Russian composers in their hometowns. In previous seasons artists from the Mariinsky's opera company and orchestra, conducted by Valery Gergiev, already performed Rimsky-Korsakov's works in Tikhvin, Stravinsky's in Oranienbaum, Mussorgsky's in Pskov, Tchaikovsky's in Votkinsk, Glinka's in Smolensk, and Rachmaninoff's in Veliky Novgorod.
Events commemorating Rimsky-Korsakov's 180th anniversary will also be prominently featured at the Mariinsky's Primorsky Stage in Vladivostok and at the branch in the Republic of North Ossetia-Alania in Vladikavkaz.