As the Artistic Director of the
Mariinsky Theatre and the Stars of the White Nights
Festival, I would like to invite you to come and visit
the "Venice of the
North", and experience this unique festival.
Why unique? In 1994 I asked my friends to help create this Festival, and without any
financial support from the city, government, or sponsors, we "got together" and made music.
The first year included renowned Russian artists, such as Yuri Bashmet, Alexander Toradze,
Olga Borodina, Galina Gorchakova, Gidon Kremer, Viktor Tretiakov and my conductor friends
and colleagues Yuri Temirkanov and Mariss Janssons. We were joined in the following years by
Carlo Maria Giullini, Placido Domingo, Deborah Voight, Violeta Urmana, Alfred Brendel, Esa
Pekka Salonen and James Conlon, to name just a few. Performances are primarily held in the
Mariinsky Theatre, but also in the
Large and Small St. Petersburg Philharmonic Halls as well
as in the Hermitage Theatre.
Combined with the splendor of the arts, you can experience the beauty of this city and its
famous White Nights when night becomes day and the sun never sets. Originally planned as a
two week festival, we extended the period last year to a full month and, with the support of
our festival's General Sponsor,
we will continue this new tradition,
i.e. the White Nights Festival was taken place from June 1 - July 1, 2001.
Over the past we presented a combination of the theatre's most famous historical
productions, such as
Ruslan and Liudmila,
Swan Lake and
along with the new season premieres. In the year 2001, in a tribute
to Giuseppe Verdi, we presented three Verdi premieres (Un Ballo in Maschera, Macbeth, and
Traviata). Other opera premieres included The Tales of Hoffman, La Boheme and Die Walkure.
I am very happy to announce that my friend Placido Domingo returned to St.
Petersburg. He sang the role of Siegmund in Die Walkure as well as conducted
Bashmet, world famous violist and conductor of the Moscow Soloist made his debut at the
Mariinsky Theatre as conductor of a concert performance of Rossini's Il viaggio a Reims.
Other artists closely connected with the festival such as Alexander Toradze, Viktor
Tretyakov and Vadim Repin also returned to St. Petersburg, but there were also see "new"
faces at the festival, such as the 14 year old violinist Sandy Cameron. When I heard her
last year in Salzburg I immediately invited him to come and perform at the festival.
Those who believe that the
can only be performed during the winter, was
surprised to see in June a new adaptation of the world famous ballet by the renowned
artist Mihail Chemiakin and the young choreographer Kirill Simonov. Other ballet premieres
included new works by John Neumeier, Mauro Begonzetti as well as a revival of Shostakovitch's
7th Symphony by Igor Belsky.
Another trademark of year 2001 festival was presenting the coming generation of young stars along
with the Mariinsky's most famous artists and stars from all over the world. We took great
honor in presenting the Academy of Young Singers and concerts by the Mariinsky Young
Philharmonic (both institutions founded in 1999 are generously supported by our friend
Alberto Vilar) as well as the annual Graduation Performances by the
Vaganova Ballet Academy.
And furthermore: that year's festival emphasized contemporary and "unknown music". It
presented the world premiere of the opera Tsar Demyan, one opera composed by five
Russian composers; commissioned by the Mariinsky Theatre and the World Theatre Olympic
(Moscow). In 2000 the Bach Academy in Stuttgart commissioned four composers to create four
new Passions, honoring J. S. Bach. Sofia Gubaidulina composed a St. John's Passion and at
her explicit wish this work was performed by the Mariinsky Theatre and the St. Petersburg
Chamber Chorus. We presented this work during the White Nights Festival along with the
St. Matthew's Passion by the New York composer Tan Dun.
Other "news" of the year 2001 festival: the introduction of a new cycle - the Mariinsky
Treasures. This year's "Treasures" include two operas by 18th century Italian composers who
then residing in St Petersburg - Francesco Araya's Tsefal i Prokris (1755), Domenico Cimarosa's Cleopatra (1789).
These works had been commissioned by the Imperial Court and
have never been performed outside Russia or even St. Petersburg.
I sincerely hope that you will join us in St. Petersburg this coming summer for a
spectacular festival of opera, ballet and symphonic concerts. As a promoter not only of my
Festival, but of my city as well, I invite you to discover the beauty and splendor of St.
Petersburg's famous museums,
palaces and parks.
Do svidanya in St.Petersburg!