10 May - 19 July 2006
The Mariinsky Theatre will be hosting the XIV International Stars of the White Nights Festival.
This festival of performing arts is the essence of the Mariinsky theatre’s artistic achievements, home of the celebrated Kirov Opera and Ballet, and is a must for ballet, opera and classical music lovers. The annual White Nights Festival derives its name from the short summer season when the sun never sets, and the beauty of these white nights contributes to the festival’s special atmosphere and its world-class programme of concerts, as audiences exit the historic theatre at midnight into daylight to stroll home through the theatrical setting of St Petersburg. The festival presents the company’s most exceptional productions with performances by leading Russian and international artists, and combines famous historical productions along with new premieres and contemporary pieces.
On 10 May 2006 the Mariinsky Theatre opens the XIV International Stars of the White Nights Music Festival. The festival will run for two and a half months and will be the last before the main theatre building closes for reconstruction. As usual, the programme will be rich and varied, its main theme being 100th years since the birth of Dmitry Shostakovich, the greatest Russian composer of the 20th century and one of the leading composers of the modern age. The festival will see performances of all fifteen of his symphonies.
The theatre will perform the operas Katerina Izmailova and The Nose and the ballets The Golden Age (which has not been performed at the theatre since 1930) and The Overcoat after Gogol, choreographed by Noah D. Gelber and first performed at the VI International Ballet Festival Mariinsky. One of the highlights of the Shostakovich Century will be a gala concert with the Moscow Soloists chamber ensemble, directed by Yuri Bashmet.
In line with tradition, festival guests and performers will have the chance to enjoy masterpieces of Russian opera. There will be performances of works by Glinka, Musorgsky, Rimsky-Korsakov and Borodin. Significant attention will be focused on Tchaikovsky, whose music is loved all over the world. As part of the programme Tchaikovsky Classics the theatre will stage all of his ballets and the operas Eugene Onegin, The Queen of Spades, The Enchantress and Mazepa.
Another important component of the festival is the programme Italian Masterpieces. Works by Italian composers make up a significant proportion of the theatre‘s opera repertoire. During the festival there will be performances of three of this season‘s premieres – Verdi‘s Nabucco and Falstaff and Leoncavallo‘s I pagliacci. The Italian opera repertoire will also be adorned by Rossini, performed by the Mariinsky Academy of Young Singers ( Il viaggio a Reims, which this year was awarded a Golden Mask, Russia‘s most prestigious theatre prize) and two more works by the great Verdi – La forza del destino, specially written for the Russian Opera Company in 1862, and Don Carlos.
Also of great interest is Wagner‘s tetralogy Der Ring des Nibelungen – a groundbreaking Mariinsky Theatre production. The tetralogy adorned the theatre‘s playbill in the early 20th century and has now returned to the St Petersburg stage.
Other festival events include the season‘s most recent opera premiere – Britten‘s The Turn of the Screw, a masterpiece of British music, solo concerts by Vladimir Galuzin, Renee Fleming and Yefim Bronfman and a Mariinsky Theatre Chorus concert in the Church on Spilled Blood. This year the theatre plans to mark two hundred and fifty years since the birth of Mozart – the festival programme includes his Requiem, to be performed by the Philharmonia of the Nations under the baton of Justus Frantz, and the opera Cosi fan tutte with conductor Manfred Honeck.
As part of the cycle 120 th Years of the Mariinsky Ballet Company (commemorating the 1886 move of the ballet company from the Bolshoi Theatre to the Mariinsky) the theatre will be presenting the finest productions in its current ballet repertoire.