"The Stars of the White Nights 2021" International Ballet and Opera Festival
The Stars of the White Nights 2021
27 May - 18 July 2021
Mariinsky Theatre, New Theatre and Concert Hall
Artistic Director: Maestro Valery Gergiev
Tchaikovsky's ballet Swan Lake, Puccini's opera Manon Lescaut and a concert by French pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard open the Mariinsky Theatre's Stars of the White Nights festival on 27 May. St Petersburg's foremost summer music festival will run until 18 July.
The newest and greatest achievements of performers over the course of the season, premieres, appearances by guest stars, recitals by outstanding vocalists and instrumentalists and evenings of chamber music await festival guests. Valery Gergiev is the event's Artistic Director.
Pyotr Tchaikovsky's The Maid of Orleans
The opera is being staged at the Mariinsky Theatre for the first time since 1945. A plot taken from the age of knights, four extensive acts with a ballet divertissement, efficacious arias, lofty ensembles, choruses of angels and of men, prayers and triumphant processions: The Maid of Orleans is truly a "grand opéra" in the French style. The new stage production is being mounted by director Alexei Stepanyuk in collaboration with designer Vyacheslav Okunev. The role of Joan is to be performed by acclaimed mezzo-sopranos Ekaterina Semenchuk, Ekaterina Gubanova and Yulia Matochkina. Maestro Gergiev will be conducting. The performance dates are 28 and 29 May, 1 and 12 June, 5 and 18 July (this performance will bring the 2021 Stars of the White Nights festival to a close).
Richard Wagner's Tannhäuser: a new stage version at the new theatre
The ninth opera to feature in the Mariinsky Theatre's ongoing Wagnerian project (the premiere took place at the Concert Hall in 2019) is now being transferred to the stage of the Mariinsky II. The production team headed by stage director Vyacheslav Starodubtsev is essentially creating a new stage version. Tannhäuser was destined to be constantly updated from its very inception: Wagner composed this opera in 1845, and returned to it on numerous occasions throughout the course of his life. The performance dates are 17 and 18 June and 3 July.
Léo Delibes' Lakmé
This masterpiece of 19th century French musical theatre is being staged especially for coloratura sopranos who are able to perform the incredibly subtle and refined vocal ornamentation and the warm cantilena filled with truly French charm. Rehearsing to appear as the captivating Indian girl Lakmé are Olga Pudova, Aigul Khismatullina and Antonina Vesenina. The opera is being staged by French director Isabelle Partiot-Pieri. The first performances will take place on 26 and 27 June.
The Tale. Mavra. Le Baiser de la fée
Three works by Stravinsky composed in the 1920s are being combined in one programme. The Tale is a "merry play with singing and music". Mavra is an opera. Le Baiser de la fée is a ballet. They relate to different periods of the composer's work, the Russian and the neoclassical, though this is a conditional division: in all of his opuses Stravinsky remains himself. The evening is being staged by choreographer Maxim Petrov, recipient of the 2021 Golden Mask award. Working together with him are the designers Alyona Pikalova and Uldus Bakhtiozina and lighting designer Konstantin Binkin. The premiere forms part of the Year of Stravinsky at the Mariinsky Theatre. The performance dates are 11 and 14 July.
Each year, at the Stars the White Nights festival the music showcases the very best and the very latest achievements of the theatre's performers over the course the season – premieres, performances by guest stars the opera and ballet, and recitals by outstanding vocalists and instrumentalists. Participants of the 2021 festival are to include pianists Daniil Trifonov, Denis Matsuev, Mao Fujita, Rudolf Buchbinder, and Dmitry Masleev, violinist Lorenz Nasturica-Herschcowici, violist Wilfried Strehle, cellist Zlatomir Fung, singers Plácido Domingo, Ferruccio Furlanetto, Anna Netrebko, Yusif Eyvazov, Ekaterina Semenchuk, Ekaterina Gubanova, Ildar Abdrazakov and Elena Stikhina and principal dancers Diana Vishneva, Viktoria Tereshkina, Yekaterina Kondaurova, Maria Khoreva, Kimin Kim and Vladimir Shklyarov among others.
The performance of Parsifal on 21 June will feature the acclaimed German bass René Pape, while time. Olga Borodina will be making her debut as the Countess in The Queen of Spades on 20 June. That performance will also feature Yusif Eyvazov as Herman for the first time.
On Saturday 19 June at the historic Mariinsky Theatre soprano Anna Netrebko will be performing the role of the perfidious and imperious Lady Macbeth in Verdi's opera Macbeth based on the tragedy by Shakespeare for the first time after a lengthy interval. Valery Gergiev will be conducting.
On Tuesday 22 June at the historic theatre, the maestro will be conducting the Italian bass Ferruccio Furlanetto in one of his greatest roles – that of Don Quichotte in the eponymous opera by Massenet. Ferruccio Furlanetto will also perform in the opera "Eugene Onegin" as Gremin on 29 June.
The opera playbill of the festival programme has seen the addition of Rossini's rarely-performed opera Il viaggio a Reims (14 July).
On Tuesday 22 June the Mariinsky II will be hosting the return of Vladimir Varnava's ballet Yaroslavna. The Eclipse. The plot taken from The Lay of Igor's Host, a monument to early Russian literature about the misfortunes of princely intestine conflict, is here brought to life using the language of modern dance – and in the fantastical costumes and sets
The playbill for ballet will see the addition of an evening of American choreography on 30 June, to feature George Balanchine's Serenade, Jerome Robbins' In the Night and Twyla Tharp's Push Comes to Shove. Ilya Zhivoi's ballet The Seasons may be seen on 11 June, Mihail Chemiakin's The Nutcracker on 29 June and Leonid Yakobson's Spartacus on 1 and 2 July.
A whole series of key events has been added to the ballet playbill for the Stars of the White Nights. Audiences may look forward to galas featuring Viktoria Tereshkina, Yekaterina Kondaurova and Kimin Kim. At a Gala concert dedicated to the anniversary of the outstanding coach Lyudmila Kovaleva there will be appearances by Diana Vishneva, Olga Smirnova (Bolshoi Theatre) and Kristina Shapran as well as Maria Khoreva, Daria Ionova and Anastasia Nuikina. Once more this season, the Mariinsky Theatre will be presenting Alexei Ratmansky's ballets Pierrot Lunaire, Seven Sonatas and Concerto DSCH.
Philharmonic music at the Mariinsky
We are pleased to announce an additional van Beethoven cycle: as well as the complete van Beethoven sonatas performed by Rudolf Buchbinder, all of the great composer's piano concerti are to be presented at the festival. These will be performed by the pianists Dmitry Shishkin, Seong-Jin Cho, Denis Matsuev, Alexei Volodin and Daniil Trifonov. A subscription covers the entire series.
The Camerata Siberia orchestra of the Tyumen Philharmonic under Anton Sharoyev will be bringing Yevstignei Fomin's melodrama Orpheus and Eurydice (1791), highlights from Bach's Mass in B Minor and Mendelssohn's Tenth Symphony to St Petersburg.
The Brass Ensemble of the Mariinsky Theatre has prepared the programme Across the Pages of Favourite Operas, to be performed on 4 June under the baton of Valery Gergiev.
Pierre-Laurent Aimard: from Sweelinck to Volkonsky
Renowned French pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard, acclaimed as an outstanding interpreter of new music, will be presenting an unusual programme at the Concert Hall for the opening of the festival: this will include pieces from the fantasia genre composed in various musical eras – ranging from 15th century Dutch maestro Jan Sweelinck and Mozart to Andrei Volkonsky and Britain's George Benjamin, with whom Aimard enjoys a personal working relationship. Date: 27 May.
Buchbinder: all of van Beethoven's sonatas
The name of Viennese pianist Rudolf Buchbinder is closely associated with the music of van Beethoven. Over eight evenings the musician will perform all thirty-two sonatas and present the project Diabelli-2020 – a cycle of variations on the theme from a waltz by Diabelli – commissioned by him from contemporary composers ranging from Lera Auerbach to Max Richter. The concerts commemorate last year's two-hundred-and-fiftieth anniversary since the birth of van Beethoven. The performances will take place on 6-9 and 11–14 July.
Plácido Domingo: singer and conductor
Plácido Domingo will be performing the role of Genoese corsair and doge Simon Boccanegra in Verdi's eponymous opera and will be presenting an evening of zarzuela (the Spanish equivalent of operetta). As a conductor, he will be leading a performance of Saint-Saëns' opera Samson et Dalila, in which he appeared as a singer many times earlier in his career. The performances will take place on 25, 28 and 30 June.
Evenings of vocals and gala concerts of opera stars
Among those singing at opera galas are to be Hibla Gerzmava, Ildar Abdrazakov, Ekaterina Semenchuk, Elena Stikhina and Roman Burdenko. There will be chamber music recital programmes by mezzo-sopranos Olga Borodina – together with pianist Vasily Popov (15 June) and Ekaterina Semenchuk – together with Semyon Skigin she will be performing an evening of Tchaikovsky romances (23 June).
Performing recitals and concerts with the Mariinsky Orchestra will be the pianists Denis Matsuev (14 and 15 June) and Daniil Trifonov (27 June and 29 June). At a concert in memory of the war dead on 22 June, the young Canadian pianist Jan Lisiecki will be performing a concert with the orchestra of the Russian-German Music Academy under the baton of Valery Gergiev.
The festival programme will be expanded and published on a regular basis. Visitors to the Mariinsky Theatre may look forward to many surprises – both on the playbill and among the cast lists. The Stars of the White Nights festival brings together, at its three venues, the greatest performers from all across the globe and will undoubtedly prove an unforgettable event of the current theatre season.
About "The Stars of the White Nights" Festivals
The Stars of the White Nights is one of the brightest stars of the music and theatre universe and has emerged to be one of the most popular and grandiose music forums in its context and scale.
The Stars of the White Nights Festival was created in 1993 by Maestro Valery Gergiev, Mariinsky Theatre Artistic and General Director. Maestro Gergiev says that he conceived the first Festival as a "musical gift" to the city from the Mariinsky and its star-artists. From the very beginning, the Festival has been focused on the masterpieces of the world's music discovering for its audience some rarely performed or undeservedly forgotten pieces.
The Stars of the White Nights Festival has gained in strength, popularity and international acclaim. The duration of the Festival it has expanded from ten days to three months during the last sixteen year. Renowned conductors and star-artists take as great honour the invitation to perform at the Stars of the White Nights. Each year the Festival programme includes the Theater's finest opera and ballet productions, great symphonic works, masterpieces of chamber music and new premieres.
During the last years, the Festival programme has included the works created by the great classical composers – Beethoven symphonies, Prokofiev's and Tchaikovsky's operas, ballets and symphony music. Major events at the Stars have included the production of Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen, in addition to the Shostakovich and Mahler Symphonies series.
This festival is a must for ballet, opera and classical music amateurs. The annual Stars of the White Nights Festival takes an inspiration for its name from the short summer season when the sun never sets, and the beauty of St-Petersburg White Nights contributes to the festival's special atmosphere and its world-class programme of concerts, as audience comes out of the historic theatre at midnight into daylight to stroll along the streets of the theatrical setting of St Petersburg.