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Culture news, 27.11.2006 12:53

A Tribute to Shostakovich

Shostakovich Together with the world´s leading symphony orchestras – the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra, the Wiener Philharmoniker, the London Symphony and the Rotterdam Philharmonic – Valery Gergiev will embark on a mammoth world tour to mark one hundred years since the birth of Dmitry Shostakovich.

On 25 September, the anniversary was marked at the Mariinsky Theatre with a performance of three one-act ballets by the great 20th century composer: The Young Lady and the Hooligan (choreography by Konstantin Boyarsky), The Bedbug (choreography by Leonid Yakobson) and Leningrad Symphony (choreography by Igor Belsky). Ulyana Lopatkina performed the role of the Girl in Leningrad Symphony.

In summing up Valery Gergiev´s ambitious project it should be noted that all major events at the Mariinsky Theatre in the 2005-2006 and 2006-2007 seasons are linked to Shostakovich. The anniversary programme includes two large cycles conceived by Valery Gergiev and run both in St Petersburg in Russia and in the world´s capital cities: the Shostakovich Symphonies cycle and Shostakovich on Stage. Valery Gergiev also recorded six of the composer´s symphonies (from the Fourth to the Ninth) with the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra.

As part of this global symphonic project the theatre´s orchestra and other leading symphony orchestras will perform all fifteen symphonies for the first time, some of them all but unknown to the general public. This fact underlies the important populist and educational idea of the project, as audiences include students from the Moscow State University, the St Petersburg State University and the Universities of Michigan, San Francisco and Los Angeles in addition to mainstream concert-goers. Valery Gergiev opened the symphonic series when he conducted the Seventh and Eighth Symphonies in October with the London Symphony Orchestra at London´s Barbican Hall.

Between October 2005 and December 2006 there were almost eighty anniversary concerts and performances in over forty towns in Russia, the USA, Australia, Japan, South Korea, Austria, Belgium, the UK, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Poland, Ukraine, Finland, France, Switzerland and Sweden.

The Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra initiated the project in autumn 2005 in St Petersburg, continuing in November with four of Shostakovich´s symphonies in Toulouse, France, and during the theatre´s largest tour ever to Japan in early January 2006 with the Fifth Symphony.

The Mariinsky Theatre has become not just the Theatre of Shostakovich, but the first Russian philharmonic orchestra to play all of the great composer´s symphonies.

In a continuation of its educational projects aimed at popularising the legacy of Russia´s greatest composers, Valery Gergiev intends to run major cultural events marking one hundred and twenty five years since the birth of Igor Stravinsky (2007) and one hundred years since the death of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (2008).

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