The Mariinsky Theatre, Russia, 2019

Tour Dates: 20th November - 28th November, 2019

The Mariinsky Theatre is a symbol both of St Petersburg and of Russia. The oldest musical theatre in Russia, for over two hundred years it has been the academy of Russian opera and ballet.

Tour Dates
  • 20th November - 28th November, 2019


The Mariinsky Theatre

The Mariinsky Theatre is a symbol both of St Petersburg and of Russia. The oldest musical theatre in Russia, for over two hundred years it has been the academy of Russian opera and ballet. Since it was founded, the Mariinsky Theatre's glory and international fame have been firmly grounded in three things – its Opera, Ballet and Orchestra.

The Mariinsky Theatre has produced myriad outstanding artists including singers Ivan Yershov, Medea and Nikolai Figner, Fyodor Chaliapin and dancers Anna Pavlova, Vaslav Nijinsky, Galina Ulanova, Rudolf Nureyev and Mikhail Baryshnikov. A hugely important role in the development of ballet was played by Mariinsky Theatre ballet-masters Marius Petipa, Michel Fokine. The theatre has witnessed the talents of such great theatre designers as Konstantin Korovin, Alexander Golovin, Alexander Benois and Léon Bakst to name but a few. Legendary artists who conducted the Mariinsky Orchestra and praised its outstanding musicianship included Berlioz, Wagner, Tchaikovsky, Mahler, Rachmaninoff.

The Mariinsky theatre's repertoire is based on opera and ballet works by Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Glinka, Musorgsky, Prokofiev, Shostakovich and Shchedrin. The fate of Richard Wagner's operas in Russia is linked first and foremost with the Mariinsky Theatre.

And today it may be bravely said that over the last twenty five years, thanks to Valery Gergiev, the theatre has become one of the finest ensembles in the world.

The Mariinsky Orchestra

The Mariinsky Orchestra is one of the oldest musical ensembles in Russia.

It can trace its history back to the early 18th century and the development of the Court Instrumental Chapel. In the 19th century, an extremely important role in the emergence of the Mariinsky Orchestra was played by Eduard Nápravník, who directed it for over half a century. The excellence of the orchestra was recognised on numerous occasions by the world-class musicians who conducted it, among them Berlioz, Wagner, von Bülow, Tchaikovsky, Mahler, Nikisch and Rachmaninoff. In Soviet times, the ensemble's illustrious traditions were continued by conductors such as Vladimir Dranishnikov, Ariy Pazovsky, Yevgeny Mravinsky, Konstantin Simeonov and Yuri Temirkanov. The orchestra has had the honour of being the first to perform many operas and ballets by Tchaikovsky, operas by Glinka, Mussorgsky and Rimsky-Korsakov and ballets by Shostakovich, Khachaturian and Asafiev. Since 1988, the orchestra has been directed by Valery Gergiev, a musician of the highest order and an outstanding figure in the music world. Maestro Gergiev's arrival at the helm ushered in a new era of rapid expansion of the orchestra's repertoire, which today includes every symphony by Beethoven, Mahler, Prokofiev and Shostakovich, Requiems by Mozart, Berlioz, Verdi, Brahms and Tishchenko and various works by composers such as Stravinsky, Messiaen, Dutilleux, Henze, Shchedrin, Gubaidulina, Kancheli and Karetnikov.  The orchestra performs programmes of symphony music at prestigious concert venues throughout the world.

Artistic & General Director: Valery Gergiev

Valery Gergiev is a vivid representative of the St Petersburg conducting school and a former pupil of the legendary Professor Ilya Musin. While still a student at the Leningrad Conservatoire, Gergiev won the Herbert von Karajan Competition in Berlin and the All-Union Conducting Competition in Moscow, following which he was invited to join the Kirov Theatre (now the Mariinsky) as an assistant to the principal conductor. His debut as a conductor at the theatre came on 12 January 1978 with Sergei Prokofiev's opera War and Peace. In 1988 Valery Gergiev was appointed Music Director of the Mariinsky Theatre, and in 1996 he became its Artistic and General Director (leading the orchestra and opera and ballet companies).

With the arrival of Valery Gergiev at the helm, it became a tradition to hold major thematic festivals marking various anniversaries of composers. In 1989 there was a festival marking one hundred and fifty years of Modest Musorgsky, in 1990 there was one commemorating one hundred and fifty years of Pyotr Tchaikovsky, in 1991 there was another marking one hundred years of Sergei Prokofiev and in 1994 there was another marking one hundred and fifty years of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov.

These festivals saw performances not only of well-known scores but also of rarely performed pieces or works that had never been staged before at all. The tradition of anniversary festivals has continued in the 21st century with a celebration of one hundred years of Dmitry Shostakovich in 2006, another marking one hundred and seventy-five years of Pyotr Tchaikovsky in 2015 and a third marking one hundred and twenty-five years of Sergei Prokofiev in 2016.

Through maestro Gergiev's efforts the Mariinsky Theatre has revived operas by Richard Wagner. In 1997 came Parsifal, which had not been performed in Russia for more than eighty years, in 1999 Lohengrin was revived and by 2003 the grandiose operatic tetralogy Der Ring des Nibelungen had been staged in full. That was the first time following an interval of almost a century that the complete tetralogy was staged in Russia and the first production in Russia to be performed in the original German. The tetralogy has been performed on Mariinsky Theatre tours to great acclaim in Moscow as well as abroad – in the USA, South Korea, Japan, Great Britain and Spain. The theatre's repertoire also includes productions of Tristan und Isolde (2005) and Der Fliegende Holländer (1998, 2008).

The Mariinsky Orchestra under Valery Gergiev has scaled new heights, assimilating not just opera and ballet scores, but also an expansive symphony music repertoire – every symphony by Beethoven, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Mahler, Sibelius, Prokofiev and Shostakovich and works by Berlioz, Bruckner, Rimsky-Korsakov, Richard Strauss, Scriabin, Rachmaninoff, Stravinsky, Messiaen, Dutilleux, Ustvolskaya, Shchedrin, Kancheli and other composers.

Under the direction of Valery Gergiev the Mariinsky Theatre has become a major theatre and concert complex, without par anywhere in the world. In 2006 the Concert Hall was opened, followed in 2013 by the theatre's second stage (the Mariinsky-II), while since 1 January 2016 the Mariinsky Theatre has had a branch in Vladivostok - the Primorsky Stage and since 2017 in Vladikavkaz. Other projects of Valery Gergiev hosted by the Mariinsky Theatre include media broadcasting, on-line broadcasts of concerts and the establishment of a recording studio. 2009 saw the launch of the Mariinsky label, which to date has released more than thirty discs that have received great acclaim from the critics and the public throughout the world; these recordings include symphonies by Tchaikovsky and piano concerti by Tchaikovsky and Shostakovich, operas by Wagner, Massenet and Donizetti and an entire plethora of other works. Works by Verdi (Attila) Tchaikovsky (symphonies), Rimsky-Korsakov (The Tale of Tsar Saltan, The Golden Cockerel), Strauss (Die Frau ohne Schatten), Prokofiev (Romeo and Juliet, Cinderella, The GamblerSemyon Kotko), Shchedrin (The Lefthander) have been released on DVD.

Valery Gergiev's international activities are no less intensive and active. Having made debuts in 1991 at the Bayerishe Staatsoper (Musorgsky's Boris Godunov), in 1993 at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden (Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin) and in 1994 at the Metropolitan Opera (Verdi's Otello with Plácido Domingo in the title role), the maestro successfully continues to collaborate with the world's great opera houses. He works with the World Orchestra for Peace (which he has directed since 1997 following the death of the ensemble's founder Sir Georg Solti), the Philharmonic Orchestras of Berlin, Paris, Vienna, New York and Los Angeles, the Symphony Orchestras of Chicago, Cleveland, Boston and San Francisco, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (Amsterdam) and many other ensembles. From 1995 to 2008 Valery Gergiev was Principal Conductor of the Rotterdam Philharmonic (of which he remains an honorary conductor to this day), and from 2007 to 2015 he was Principal Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra. Since autumn 2015 the maestro has headed the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra and since summer 2018 the Verbier Festival Orchestra.

Valery Gergiev is the founder and director of prestigious international festivals including the Stars of the White Nights (since 1993), the Moscow Easter Festival (since 2002), the Gergiev Festival in Rotterdam, the Mikkeli Festival and the 360 Degrees festival in Munich. Since 2011 he has directed the organisational committee of the International Tchaikovsky Competition. Valery Gergiev focuses much of his attention on working with young musicians. One of his initiatives saw the revival of the All-Russian Choral Society; this includes the Children's Chorus of Russia, which has appeared at the Mariinsky-II, the Bolshoi Theatre and at the closing ceremony of the XXII Winter Olympics in Sochi. Since 2013 the maestro has directed the National Youth Orchestra of the USA and regularly appears with the youth orchestras of the Schleswig-Holstein Festival, the Verbier Festival and the Pacific Ocean Music Festival in Sapporo. Since 2015 the Mariinsky Theatre has run the Mariinsky NEXT annual festival, which features children's and youth orchestras of St Petersburg.

Valery Gergiev's musical and public activities have brought him three State Prizes of the Russian Federation (1993, 1998 and 2015), the titles of People's Artist of the Russian Federation (1996) and Hero of Labour (2013), the Order "For Merit to the Fatherland" III and IV classes (2003, 2008), the Order of Alexander Nevsky (2016), the Russian Federation Ministry of Defence Arts and Culture Award (2017) and prestigious State awards of Armenia, Bulgaria, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Poland, France and Japan.

Program: Der Ring Des Nibelungen

Der Ring Des Nibelungenis an epical opera composed and libretto by Germany composer Wagner began in 1848 and completed in 1874, lasted 26 years, inspired by Nordic mythology and German medieval folklore, the opera is composed four sets of operas and more than standard length, namely Das Rheingold, Die Walküre,Siegfried,Götterdämmerung. The full length of the opera is 16 hours and usually takes 4 nights to perform, which is the longest opera in the history. Wagner used light and dark clues to promote the development of the plot, and created more than 200 melodic themes throughout the play. The accompaniment orchestra is huge, fully utilizing the magnificent symphony and rich colorful harmony. The technique of describing the music scene is very creative, pushing the opera to a new height. It is the peak of Germanic opera, and is also regarded as a litmus test for the theatre and singers by many critics in the industry.

Since the nineteenth century, the Mariinsky Theatre has been a pearl on the crown of the Russian Theatre, an important cultural symbol of the Russia, and a link between European music culture and Russian art. At the beginning of the 20th century, after the Byroit Wagner Music Festival, the Mariinsky Theatre premier Wagner's full length opera Der Ring Des Nibelungen on the stage. At that time, the music industry in St. Petersburg and even in Russia caused a great sensation, which promoted the Western European opera art in Russia. In recent years, with the promotion of Gergiev, the art director of Mariinsky Theatre, known as "the patron saint of opera", many long-buried operas have been revived in his hands. One of his symbolic achievements is to return opera performance to its original language. At the beginning of the 21st century, as the request and guidance of Gergiev, the Mariinsky Theatre staged a complete German version of Wagner's Der Ring Des Nibelungen (2003). This is the first time in nearly a century that four operas of the "Rings" series have been fully performed in Russia, and it is the first opera in Russia to be performed in the Germany version. These four operas are widely praised not only in Russia, but also in the United States, South Korea, Japan, Britain and Spain.

In 2019, 16 years after the publication of the German-language version's Der Ring Des Nibelungen of the Mariinsky Theatre, the Mariinsky Theatre will produce a new version of Der Ring Des Nibelungen with the Geneva Grand Theatre, which will premiere in Geneva on April 2019. And it will also tour in China during November of the same year. It remains to be seen how the Valery Gergiev , who led the Russian art carrier Mariinsky Theatre, will interpret the works of Wagner, the German composer of the century, and how the new edition will be conceptualized and how the scenery will be produced.


The devout king Titurel has received two wondrous relics from the Angels, the Holy Grail. They are kept in the Castle of the Grail. Titurel has founded a Brotherhood of Knights who, miraculously strengthened by the relics, ride out into the world to help those in distress. The knight Klingsor tried to gain acceptance into the Brotherhood, but Titurel turned him away, and in revenge Klingsor transformed part of the surrounding wilderness into a magic castle and garden. Here he has created bewitching young maidens whose purpose is to seduce the knights, and he ultimately hopes to gain possession of the Grail. Amfortas, having taken over as king of the Grail from his father Titurel, sees that an increasing number of knights are falling under Klingsor´s power and so leaves to do battle with the evil magician, armed with the sacred spear. However, he is seduced by a mysterious maiden. Klingsor seizes the spear and inflicts a wound in Amfortas´ side. This wound will not close, and the king is left in agony. The divine prophecy that only a "pure fool", enlightened through compassion, can save the king.

Parsifal appears. Klingsor hurls the stolen spear at Parsifal. Parsifal seizes hold of it and makes the sign of the cross, whereupon Klingsor´s castle and garden vanish.

It is Parsifal who, after a long period of wandering, is finally on his way to the Castle of the Grail. Parsifal closes Amfortas´ wound with a touch of the spear.

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