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KIROV OPERA - The Opera - Boris Godunov Ever since the nineteenth century, the Mariinsky Theatre - a jewel in the crown of Russian Imperial theatres, which in the past enjoyed the direct patronage of the Romanov family - has been an important cultural symbol of Russian statehood. This concept of statehood, of the prevalence of the common over the personal good, permeated the Russian school of opera, whose composers addressed both human drama and folk life. In the operas of Tchaikovsky, Musorgsky, Rimsky-Korsakov and Borodin, the basic story in inevitably coloured by traditional Russian song, reflecting a lyrical folk outlook on life, man and nature. Such aspects of Russian opera as the static nature and slowly unfolding action were thus combined with crowd scenes, colourful and effective scenes of feasting, pulse-quickening marches and operatic apotheoses.

Diaghilev's celebrated "Saisons Russes" in Paris marked the start of Russian opera's triumphant march across the world stages. It was a march that began at the Mariinsky Theatre; a march that was soon to encompass every continent. In this instance, the Mariinsky Theatre has served the function of Europe's "window on Russia", offering an insight into the enigmatic Russian soul. This part of the Matiinsky history adds significance to the Theatre's nineteenth-century role as the "home of Russian opera". In addition to that important function, it also acted like a two-way tunnel, serving as the receptacle of musical information from the West. Ever since its founding in the early eighteenth century, leading Italian opera companies have worked and performed here, under such composers as Araia, Traetta and Sarti. The operas of Paisiello and Galuppi, and later Mozart and Rossini, have all been staged at the Theatre. At the turn of the century, the Mariinsky Opera undertook an unprecedented production of Wagner's entire cycle of "Der Ring des Nibelungen", the first staging of the complete tetralogy after the Bayreuth Wagner Festival. The Theatre has also staged masterpieces by Verdi, Strauss and Berg.

The history of the Mariinsky Theatre and its integration into the world opera community thus developed under the dual influence of the aesthetics of Russian national opera and the West European musical theatre, all under the watchful eye of demanding St.Petersburg public. Although artificially interrupted in the middle of the twentieth century, this process is today gathering an impressive momentum.

The appointment of Valery Gergiev as Principal Conductor and Artistic Director of the Mariinsky Theatre provided new impetus for fresh productions, ones which met the highest of world standards in modern operatic art. Leading Western opera conductors are now regularly invited to work here. Large-scale festivals dedicated to the "oeuvre" of a single composer (Musorgsky, Prokofiev, Rimsky-Korsakov) have recently taken place. One of the five premieres given during the Prokofiev Festival, David Freeman's staging of "The Fiery Angel", was voted "Opera of the Year" in Japan in 1993.

This year, the Theatre is turning to Wagners last mystical opera, "Parsifal". Work has begun on a new production of "Boris Godunov" in the composer's original version of 1869.

The Mariinsky Opera also plays an important role in the world of opera in general, through its foreign tours, participation in international festivals and co-production with the Royal Opera at Covent Garden, Milan's La Scala, Oper der Stadt Bonn, New York's Metropolitan Opera and the San Francisco Opera. Reflecting the splendour of its past glory and basking in its present-day success, the Mariinsky Theatre proudly advances into the twenty-first century.

Kirov Opera
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Complete playbill of all St. Petersburg,Russia theatres, shows, concerts, etcComplete playbill of all St. Petersburg,Russia theatres, shows, concerts, etc. !
World-known music festival "The Stars of the White Nights". Artistic director - Valery Gergiev (Mariinky (Kirov) Opera and Ballet)World-known music festival "The Stars of the White Nights".
Artistic director - Valery Gergiev (Mariinky (Kirov) Opera and Ballet)

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