MARIINSKY THEATRE ANNOUNCES INAUGURAL PROGRAMMING FOR OPENING OF NEW MARIINSKY II OPERA HOUSE
THREE DAYS OF CELEBRATORY EVENTS WITH PERFORMANCES BY THE WORLD-RENOWNED MARIINSKY OPERA, BALLET, ORCHESTRA, CHORUS, SOLOISTS AND YOUTH ENSEMBLES
Opening Night Gala concert will feature Ildar Abdrazakov, Yuri Bashmet, Olga Borodina, Plácido Domingo, Ekaterina Gubanova, Leonidas Kavakos, Yekaterina Kondaurova, Ulyana Lopatkina, Alexei Markov, Denis Matsuev, Anna Netrebko, Yevgeny Nikitin, René Pape, Mikhail Petrenko, Ekaterina Semenchuk, Sergei Semishkur, Vladimir Shklyarov, Diana Vishneva, Mariinsky Academy of Young Singers, Children’s Chorus and Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre, and Vaganova Ballet Academy
Highlights of Opening Events include Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta featuring Anna Netrebko;
Balanchine’s Jewels featuring Ekaterina Kondaurova, Vladimir Shklyarov, Uliana Lopatkina and Danila Korsuntsev; Verdi’s Nabucco featuring Plácido Domingo and Maria Guleghina;
and a performance honoring Prima Ballerina Diana Vishneva
ST. PETERSBURG, RUSSIA, March 19, 2013 — The Mariinsky Theatre, one of the largest and most acclaimed performing arts institutions in the world, under the leadership of Artistic and General Director Valery Gergiev, today announced that its new state-of-the-art opera house, Mariinsky II, will open to the public with three celebratory days of star-studded musical and dance performances from May 2 through 4, 2013. Further defining the Mariinsky as one of the world’s premier centers for classical music, opera and ballet, the opening of the new hall marks the completion of the Mariinsky Cultural Complex in St. Petersburg’s historic Theatre Square and provides the legendary Russian organization with even greater artistic possibilities.
To inaugurate Mariinsky II, and to celebrate the Cultural Complex, a three-day, three-venue celebration will showcase the dynamic range of all of the Mariinsky Theatre’s prestigious companies: Mariinsky Opera, Ballet, Orchestra, Chorus, and Youth Ensembles. Celebrations will begin on May 2 with a black-tie Opening Night Gala concert conducted by Valery Gergiev and featuring renowned vocalists and instrumentalists, including Ildar Abdrazakov, Yuri Bashmet, Olga Borodina, Plácido Domingo, Ekaterina Gubanova, Leonidas Kavakos, Alexei Markov, Denis Matsuev, Anna Netrebko, Yevgeny Nikitin, René Pape, Mikhail Petrenko, Sergei Semishkur, as well as the Mariinsky’s acclaimed ballet dancers Yekaterina Kondaurova, Ulyana Lopatkina, Vladimir Shklyarov and Diana Vishneva. The stage production directed by Vasily Barkhatov, with production design by Zinovy Margolin, and lighting design by Damir Ismagilov, will feature imagery that connects the Mariinsky’s legendary 200-year history with its contemporary leading role in the performing arts. Students from the Vaganova Ballet Academy, Mariinsky Academy of Young Singers, and the Children’s Chorus and Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre will also perform. This evening of multi-generational performances will pay homage to the grand tradition of the Theatre and will celebrate the beginning of a new era.
“The opening of Mariinsky II is the moment to reaffirm the long and great heritage of this institution while celebrating a future in which we are able to create new works and innovative productions as never before,” stated Valery Gergiev, who is currently marking his 25th anniversary with the institution. “The programs for our inaugural festival are chosen to demonstrate the extraordinary range of our companies and our expanded Center, while reflecting both the history of the Mariinsky and the Theatre’s engagement with today’s audiences and with all phases of contemporary opera, ballet and orchestral music.”
On May 3 at Mariinsky II, Mariinsky Opera and Ballet will present Mariusz Trelinski’s production of Tchaikovsky’s opera Iolanta featuring Anna Netrebko and Sergei Semsishkur, Alexei Markov, Sergei Alexashkin, conducted by Valery Gergiev. That evening at Mariinsky II, Mariinsky Ballet will perform Balanchine’s ballet Jewels showcasing Ekaterina Kondaurova, Vladimir Shklyarov, Uliana Lopatkina and Danila Korsuntsev. The day will come to a close with a late night concert at the Mariinsky Concert Hall two blocks away featuring Mariinsky Orchestra conducted by Maestro Gergiev with soloists including Yuri Bashmet, Leonidas Kavakos, Denis Matsuev, and Vadim Repin.
On May 4, the opening festivities will conclude with a performance honoring prima ballerina Diana Vishneva including Balanchine’s Symphony in C and Vishneva performing in Paul Lightfoot’s Subject to Change. An evening presentation by Mariinsky Opera of Verdi’s Nabucco will follow, featuring Plácido Domingo and Maria Guleghina, Ekaterina Semenchuk, Sergei Skorokhodov, and Mikhail Kit, conducted by Valery Gergiev.
Prior to the public opening, past and current Mariinsky artists, along with family and community members, will be invited to Mariinsky II for a special celebratory preview performance.
The Mariinsky Cultural Complex
The new centerpiece of the Mariinsky Cultural Complex, Mariinsky II is designed to complement St. Petersburg’s beloved 19th-century architecture and is situated on Dekabristov Street on the legendary Theatre Square. Mariinsky II is connected to the historic stage of the Mariinsky Theatre, which opened in 1860, by a pedestrian bridge over the Kryukov Canal. It also joins the Concert Hall, inaugurated in 2006, and the Artistic Production Complex of the State Academic Mariinsky Theatre, established in 1874. This expanded Mariinsky Cultural Complex will serve all of the Mariinsky companies, Mariinsky Opera, Ballet, Orchestra, Chorus, and Youth Ensembles, and will enable each of them to offer the public a greatly increased schedule of presentations.
Mariinsky II Architects and Design
Mariinsky II, one of the largest lyric arts facilities in the world and funded by the Russian Government, is designed by the Toronto-based firm of Diamond Schmitt Architects in conjunction with the Russian firm KB ViPS. Mariinsky II’s state-of-the-art facilities will enable the Mariinsky to present the most ambitious, technically demanding productions, beyond what is currently possible on the historic stage.
“Mariinsky II has been designed with the strength, confidence and functional clarity that a building requires if it is to become a lasting part of the life of its city,” Valery Gergiev stated. “I feel certain that 25 years from now, Mariinsky II will be seen as a St. Petersburg landmark in its own right, recognized for its superb acoustics, dazzling production facilities and unsurpassed level of audience comfort. Above all, it will be beloved as one of the city’s great homes for education, where every schoolchild and university student in St. Petersburg has engaged with opera, orchestral music and ballet.”
“Mariinsky II is a structure of authentic contemporary architecture, one respectful of its historic context, based upon the successful configuration of past houses, but of twenty-first century sensibility and one in which the social aspects of attending opera or ballet performances have been enhanced for every member of the audience,” said architect Jack Diamond, Principal, Diamond Schmitt Architects.
The 851,580-square-foot Mariinsky II stands 7 stories tall with 3 underground levels. Mariinsky II features a main auditorium; a 200-seat rooftop amphitheatre; a third-floor lobby amphitheatre; multiple rehearsal rooms for Mariinsky Opera, Ballet, Orchestra and Chorus; dining and production facilities for 2,500 staff; and approximately 567,700 square feet of backstage space. Technical highlights include a stage wagon system and over-stage and under-stage machinery that will allow multiple productions to be performed in repertoire.
The main auditorium, designed in the tradition of 18th and 19th century opera houses, features a horseshoe configuration with three balconies, offering superb sightlines for an audience of approximately 2,000 people. The acoustic design by Müller-BBM has created optimum conditions for voice and the accompanying orchestras for opera and ballet. At about 18,000 cubic meters (635,400 cubic feet), the hall has an ideal volume comparable to the world’s most renowned opera houses.
The exterior of the building features dramatic large glass facades and bay windows set in the outer masonry which provide panoramic views of the city and the adjacent historic Mariinsky Theatre, while fulfilling the traditional role of colonnaded porticos. A gently curved metal roof is enlivened by a glass canopy, giving the building a contemporary identity that is nevertheless rooted in St. Petersburg’s architectural heritage.
Final Phase of Construction
Mariinsky II is nearing completion, with the exterior cupola and canopy receiving a protective glazing. Final finishing details are being added to the windows and construction of the roof parapets is in its concluding stage. On the interior, the spacious back of house will be fully operational shortly, while the auditorium is undergoing the delicate installation of the Swarovski accent light fixtures in the balcony fronts and the Swarovski chandelier in the VIP box. In the lobby, final work includes assembly of the striking 33-meter architectural glass staircase, which is set to begin while the installation of the onyx stone walls is nearly complete. Various acoustic tests have already begun in the auditorium, with the most recent including a symphonic test.
About the Mariinsky Ballet
Founded in the 18th century, the Mariinsky Ballet is recognized as one of the world’s leading companies. Most commonly known as the Kirov Ballet (its former Soviet name), the company has been home to many of the world’s most notable dancers, including Anna Pavlova, Vaslav Nijinsky, Rudolf Nureyev and Mikhail Baryshnikov. The Mariinsky Ballet performs worldwide under Maestro Gergiev’s direction at cultural institutions such as Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in the United States, the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris, the Edinburgh Festival in Scotland, the Baltic Festival in Stockholm and the Salzburg Festival in Austria.
About the Mariinsky Label
The Mariinsky Label, launched in May 2009, draws on the Mariinsky’s rich legacy and historic ties to the great Russian composers. It showcases the extraordinary talent within the Theatre and Orchestra, presenting new recordings of both celebrated works and those that deserve wider recognition. Each performance is recorded with high-definition technology in the new Mariinsky Concert Hall, which has been widely acclaimed for its exceptional acoustics. Recordings began in July 2008 during the annual White Nights Festival and are available on SACD from the Mariinsky Label website and better retailers. Notable releases on the Label include performances of Shostakovich’s early opera The Nose (which was nominated for two Grammy Awards) and Wagner’s Parsifal, named as one of the “CDs of the Year” by the New York Times.
About Mariinsky Foundation of America
The Mariinsky Foundation of America (formerly known as White Nights Foundation of America) was formed in 1999 to support the activities of the Mariinsky Theatre’s constituent institutions: the Mariinsky Opera, Ballet, Orchestra and the Academy for Young Singers and the Young Musicians’ Orchestra. The Mariinsky Foundation of America’s mission includes a commitment to strengthening and expanding the cultural, educational and business relationships between Russia and the United States, and to be a positive, apolitical force for peace.
About Diamond Schmitt Architects
Based in Toronto with a practice that is worldwide, Diamond Schmitt is among the top 100 architecture firms in the world based on size and is ranked in the top 10 for cultural facilities by the UK-based publication Building Design. Other performing arts projects include Maison Symphonique de Montreal (2011), Sidney Harman Hall (2008) in Washington, D.C., and the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts (2006) in Toronto. Diamond Schmitt’s portfolio comprises academic buildings, libraries, sports facilities, residential and commercial buildings as well as extensive work in healthcare, including life science facilities, research laboratories and hospitals.