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City news, 12.10.2004 11:25

Mariinsky Names Dates for Beslan Concerts

beslan_charity _concert St Petersburg Times

By Galina Stolyarova

Staff Writer

The Mariinsky Theater has announced the dates of the first three concerts in series of memorial performances that are to raise funds for the former hostages of Beslan School No. 1.

The first will be a gala concert in Paris' Theater Chatelet on Oct. 27, followed by a grand dinner. Organized by the Association Francais des Amis du Theatre du Mariinsky, the performance featuring works by Tchaikovsky, Mussorgsky and Shostakovich will be attended by France's top political, business and cultural figures. Bernadette Chirac, wife of the French president, Jacques Chirac, will preside over the gala.

"Beslan: A Concert for the Future" is the name of the Mariinsky's performance in London's Coliseum on Nov. 7.

"This concert is part of our efforts to help Ossetian families- the people who survived those horrible days in Beslan," Gergiev said. "Our idea is to support these people both immediately and in long-term cultural rehabilitation over the coming years. Every great name associated with the Mariinsky wants to be there to unite with us and dedicate our performance to this idea."

Gergiev's initiative has received much support in Britain. The English National Opera has donated the use of the London Coliseum for the concert, while hotel City Inn, Westminster is arranging free accommodation for the entire Mariinsky company during their visit.

"English National Opera applauds the efforts of Valery Gergiev and the Mariinsky Theater in this initiative to raise funds in London for the community of Beslan," said ENO's artistic director and chief executive Sean Doran in a statement for the U.K.-based Mariinsky Theater Trust, a co-organizer of the event. "We are proud to support and host this charity event at our newly restored home, the London Coliseum."

Funds raised from the concert are to be shared equally between the Beslan Lifeline Appeal, organized by the Charities Aid Foundation, and the Mariinsky Theater's new cultural outreach program in the Caucasus, supported by the Mariinsky Theater Trust.

The hostage crisis in Beslan took 350 lives, and left hundreds of people injured.

A native Ossetian, whose family comes from Vladikavkaz, the capital of Ossetia, Valery Gergiev said the concerts in London and Paris mark the beginning of a series of memorial events across the globe, including Vladikavkaz and Beslan. Several further performances are currently being prepared. Later in the season, a charity concert in Rome is scheduled for Dec. 3.

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