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VIII Festival Maslenitsa (Shrovetide)
20 February 2012 - 26 February 2012

SCHEDULE 20 February 2012 - 26 February 2012

The V Festival Maslenitsa (Shrove-tide). Mariinsky (Kirov) Opera and Ballet theatre

The festival presents the greatest operas and ballets based on Russian fairytales at the Mariinsky Theatre, masterpieces of Russian symphony music and vocal programmes at the Concert Hall. The festival strives to revive the traditions of the secular Maslenitsa celebrations with vivid and colourful performances, balls and concerts that are open to all.

Maslenitsa opens on 28 February at two venues – at the Concert Hall there will be a performance of Stravinsky’s opera Le Rossignol after the famous fairytale by Hans Christian Andersen, while at the Mariinsky Theatre there will be a ballet evening featuring Fokine’s Petrouchka to music by Stravinsky and Presentiment of Spring to music by Lyadov, created for last year’s festival by the dancer and choreographer Yuri Smekalov.

On 1 and 5 March the Mariinsky Theatre will be hosting performances of popular fairytale operas by Rimsky-Korsakov – The Snow Maiden and The Tale of Tsar Saltan, a production that brought back the primordial, full-blooded and enchantingly colourful world of Ivan Bilibin’s illustrations for Pushkin’s fairytales to the Mariinsky Theatre. Cinderella, choreographer Alexei Ratmansky’s first full-length ballet to music by Prokofiev, will be performed on 4 March.

Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov Zhanna Dombrovskaya (Soprano) Sergei Prokofiev

On 5 March at the Concert Hall the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra under Valery Gergiev will perform Glinka’s famous symphonic fantaisie Kamarinskaya, highlights of the ballet Anna Karenina and Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony, while Alina Ibragimova will be performing the solo in Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto at the Concert Hall for the first time. A recent graduate of the Gnesins’ School of Music, she has already garnered positive responses from critics throughout the world: Ibragimova’s style has been referred to as “a blend of utter freedom and total control which, in her case, is no contradiction”, and she herself has been predicted to “shine on the horizon of classical music for decades to come.”

3 March will see a performance of the theatre’s recent opera premiere – Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore. Laurent Pelly’s lively and sparkling production, filled to overflowing with dazzling humour, is incredibly suitable for the amusements of Maslenitsa week. The lead roles will be performed by Zhanna Dombrovskaya (Adina) and Stanislav Leontiev (Nemorino).

One vocal highlight of the festival will be baritone Vasily Gerello’s solo recital on 4 March at the Concert Hall. The singer, who appears free and incredibly artistic in solo chamber recitals, has prepared a programme especially for the festival including romances by Boris Fomin, Pyotr Bulakhov, Pyotr Tchaikovsky, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Nikolai Listov and Nikolai Shishkin. The evening will also include some of the surprises that Vasily Gerello loves so much.

Vasily Gerello Recital The Tale of Tsar Saltan, of His Son the Renowned and of the Beautiful Swan-Princess

The festival comes to a close on 6 March at the Mariinsky Theatre with a performance of the ballet The Nutcracker (production by Mikhail Chemiakin, choreography by Kirill Simonov), the stunning sets, unique costumes and dynamism of which have ensured its well-deserved audience success.

At the Concert Hall the festival comes to a close with a special performance as part of the children’s subscription In the World of Ancient Legends and Traditions after motifs from Wagner’s grandiose tetralogy Der Ring des Nibelungen. The twenty-hour-long operatic cycle – the libretto of which is based on the Middle High German epos the Nibelungenlied (The Song of the Nibelungs) – will be enacted, sung and told onstage in just one and a half hours. Leading Mariinsky Theatre singers including Larisa Gogolevskaya, Leonid Zakhozhaev and Mikhail Kit among others are engaged for the performance.

During the festival, in the theatre’s White Foyer outside the Tsar’s Box there will be a series of open-to-all daytime chamber concerts, and before the start of performances and during intervals the foyer will host the Quintet of the State Academic Andreyev Russian Orchestra.

Viktoria Tereshkina (dancer)

One special event of the festival will be the Maslenitsa Student Ball on 4 March in the Assembly Hall of the St Petersburg State University. The ball will be directed by Irkin Gabitov while the choreographer is Dmitry Korneyev. During the ball, artistes of the Mariinsky Ballet Company will help the students learn and perform popular ballroom dances of the past, ranging from the polonaise to the mazurka and the waltz. The music at the ball will be provided by the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra and soloists of the Opera Company. The University’s Maslenitsa balls generally bring together students from the city’s various higher education institutions and are exciting and inspired. There will be prizes for the most skilful and active dancers – invitations to performances at the Mariinsky Theatre.

Peter Tchaikovsky

Russia’s most ancient and beloved festival of Maslenitsa (Shrovetide) was celebrated on a grand scale in the pre-Revolutionary capital. The merriments of Maslenitsa visited every home and every family. The aristocracy, government officials, the intelligentsia and city residents at large were all involved. In Tsaritsino Park and at the Admiralty there were public celebrations throughout Maslenitsa week, palaces and townhouses hosted dances and masked balls and theatre playbills dazzled with the titles of the finest productions.
Several years ago the Mariinsky Theatre returned to the wonderful tradition of Maslenitsa celebrations. The festival programme invariably includes the finest productions, among them works based on fairytales as well as vocal and instrumental programmes. Continuing the tradition of open-to-all performances, which were run by the Imperial Theatres during Maslenitsa, the Mariinsky Theatre will be running a series of charity concerts.
Reviving the primordially Russian tradition of Maslenitsa student balls, the Mariinsky Theatre and the St Petersburg University have, for several years now, been inviting students to take part in bidding farewell to winter.
The programme of the university ball includes public entertainment, dancing, music (featuring Mariinsky Theatre performers), pancakes and fireworks.
Last season the festival’s motto was Igor Stravinsky. Audiences had the opportunity to see a broad ranging retrospective of the composer’s music.
Valery Gergiev said that “Maslenitsa itself in Russia is a phenomenon, I believe, that is dear to us all on some subconscious level. We didn’t see with our own eyes the stunning festivities of the early 20th century, when the young Stravinsky was probably enchanted by the atmosphere of Maslenitsa. It is not by chance that one can sense – in so many of his works – the biting frost, the snow, the merriment, probably very tasty food and a good time had by all. And he was able to convey this very well in his wonderful music.” Maslenitsa at the Mariinsky is also a festival of stars. Regular participating performers include the acclaimed pianists Denis Matsuev and Alexei Volodin and the renowned violinists Sergey Khachatryan and Vadim Repin.
The Maslenitsa music festival, which brings together folkloric traditions and the “society glamour” of the Imperial theatre, will be taking place this season at the Mariinsky Theatre and the Concert Hall for the seventh time.

Maslenitsa 2011: Mariinsky (Kirov) Opera and Ballet theatre | Mariinsky hall plan | Mariinsky Slide Show | Mariinsky 3D View | About Valery Gergiev
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SCHEDULE 20 February 2012 - 26 February 2012

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