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Opening of new Mariinsky II Opera House in St. PetersburgMay 2-4, 2013


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#1 Dale

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 09:37 AM

A release:


MARIINSKY THEATRE ANNOUNCES INAUGURAL PROGRAMMING FOR OPENING OF NEW MARIINSKY II OPERA HOUSE IN ST. PETERSBURG, RUSSIA, MAY 2 – 4, 2013

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.




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About the Mariinsky Orchestra
www.mariinsky.ru/en

The Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre enjoys a long and distinguished history as one of the oldest musical institutions in Russia. Founded in the 18th century and housed in St. Petersburg’s famed Mariinsky Theatre since 1860, the Orchestra entered its “golden age” in the second half of the 19th century under the musical direction of Eduard Napravnik, whose leadership for more than a half century (1863-1916) secured its reputation as one of the finest in Europe. Legendary artists who conducted the Mariinsky Orchestra and praised its outstanding musicianship included Berlioz, Wagner, Tchaikovsky, Mahler, Nikisch and Rachmaninoff.

About the Mariinsky Ballet
www.mariinsky.ru/en


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 Opera
www.mariinsky.ru/en

With a history dating back to 1783, the Mariinsky Opera has performed in the world’s most celebrated opera houses and has produced some of opera’s most important artists, including Fyodor Chaliapin, Sophia Preobrazhenskaya, Boris Shtokolov and Anna Netrebko. Since its inception, the Mariinsky Opera, formerly known as the Kirov Opera, has placed an emphasis on Russian culture by showcasing works from great Russian composers such as Rimsky-Korsakov, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, Shostakovich and Prokofiev. Today, the Opera blends the Russian canon with European and Romantic classics and works from vital contemporary composers.

About the Mariinsky Label
www.mariinskylabel.com

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

www.mariinsky.us

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

www.dsai.ca
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.

#2 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 03:49 PM

Onyx walls and Swarovski's chandeliers...wow, I'm truly impressed. I wish the new theater great years of grand productions. Good for them! Posted Image

#3 Cygnet

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 02:10 PM

[size=5]Diana Vishneva comments on the new theatre.
http://www.mariinsky...s2/26_230march/[/size]

#4 Lidewij

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 04:51 AM

Does this mean the old Mariinsky will close for restaurations any time soon?

#5 Tiara

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 07:06 AM

Does this mean the old Mariinsky will close for restaurations any time soon?

I hope not - it is so beautiful just as it is and I would hate for it to have all its atmospheric decor spoiled by "updating!"

#6 Birdsall

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Posted 14 April 2013 - 11:56 AM

The latest (May) issue of Opera News has two articles on the Mariinsky II. One is mainly the facts behind the building of it and reasons for building it, and quotes by Gergiev. Gergiev claims it will bring $144 million a year in ticket sales and that the Mariinsky will be able to do more programming for children. It also says it will enable the company to offer more ballet and opera sharing both stages 50/50 (alternating nights, I assume).

The second article "Risk and Return" by Philip Kennicott goes into the controversy (the cost, the historical buildings destroyed to make room for it, and the look of it that many St. Peterburg citizens hate) surrounding the new theatre. It discusses how St. Petersburg's cultural scene is interconnected with power (political power) just as in imperial times.

The final paragraph is quite interesting. Kennicott surmises that Gergiev (a product of the Soviet Union) frowns upon the pop culture of the West (he doesn't like things like Pussy Riot) and views him and the other power players involved in Russian classical music very much different from "the more egalitarian-minded, studiously (and sometimes fatuously) anti-snobs of the Western opera world." The Mariinsky II is "a monument to the close alliance of cultural and political power that was frayed and severed in liberal democracies after World War II."

Comments?

By the way, does anyone know which historical buildings were demolished to make room for Mariinsky II? Were they "sights" or were they just simply historic buildings with no sightseeing appeal?

#7 koshka

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Posted 14 April 2013 - 07:09 PM

Having done a moderate amount of exploring in St Petersburg, I do not recall any "sights" adjacent to the old Mariinsky. But the whole area is "historic", and the destroyed buildings might have played one or another historic role.

I agree that I'd hope that any "renovation" of the old Mariinsky Theater remains faithful to the original elegant and charming design.

#8 Buddy

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Posted 15 April 2013 - 01:32 AM

This apparently was the building that the new Mariinsky II theatre replaced.

The Culture Palace of the First Five Year Plan -- a Soviet creation from 1930.

You can see a picture of it here with a brief history.

http://cultureru.com...mbrists-street/

There is also a two story facade from an old, more classic building attached to the canal front of the new theatre. I'll try to track that down and add it to this post as a footnote.

In regard to restoring the old theatre, I believe that a partial restoration was done awhile ago. The new restoration may be a good idea for safety and practical reasons, but this is only a guess. In my years of attending the Festival I've never seen any indications of structural problems, but I've never been in the apparently massive part of the building behind the stage. I would also certainly hope that nothing is changed in the basic nature and appearance of the building and probably won't be. Of the restored historic buildings that I've seen in and around St. Petersburg, the artistic quality and authentic appearance of the restorations have been of the highest order.


[font=Arial][size=4]
Footnote:[/size][/font]
[font=Arial][size=4]
The old building front attached to the canal front of the new theatre is apparently a fragment from the Litovsky Market. [/size][/font]
[font=Arial][size=4]
http://smirnoff-98.l...alog/791/180194[/size][/font]
[font=Arial][size=4]
"The Palace of Culture named for the First Five Year Plan, a decent piece of constructivist architecture subsequently remodeled in the Stalin classical style, was demolished along with the last surviving remnants of Giacomo Quarenghi's [famous classical St. Petersburg architect] Litovsky Market from the 1780s, to make way for the still-unbuilt second stage of the Mariinsky Theater."[/size][/font]
[font=Arial][size=4]
http://www.rferl.org...rg/1797348.html[/size][/font]

#9 Helene

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Posted 20 April 2013 - 11:00 PM

Marc Haegeman posted the following photo to the For Ballet Lovers Only Facebook page:

The old Mariinsky Theatre reflected in the new Mariinsky

#10 Buddy

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Posted 21 April 2013 - 03:32 AM

Marc Haegeman posted the following photo to the For Ballet Lovers Only Facebook page:

The old Mariinsky Theatre reflected in the new Mariinsky


Interesting picture, Helene. Thank you. More intangible qualities, such as the effects of glass, reflections in the glass, lighting, etc., can have a great influence on the successful appearance of a modern building.


[spelling correction]

#11 Birdsall

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Posted 21 April 2013 - 04:25 AM

Buddy, thanks for the info on the historical building. I do always find it a shame to demolish old buildings.

My main worry is that the new theatre was really built so that Gergiev can stage elaborate productions of operas and so few ballets will play there and the ballet company will still have to alternate in the old house with opera and only get some nights in the new house. I hope I am wrong. Hypothetically, this will be a chance for ballet every night (one house or the other) and opera every night (alternating houses). That would be great for tourists who might be there for only a few nights and want to catch as many ballets as possible.

#12 Buddy

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Posted 21 April 2013 - 05:03 AM

Buddy, thanks for the info on the historical building. I do always find it a shame to demolish old buildings.

Hypothetically, this will be a chance for ballet every night (one house or the other) and opera every night (alternating houses). That would be great for tourists who might be there for only a few nights and want to catch as many ballets as possible.


Great for residents too, Birdsall. I might yet have to move to St. Petersburg because of this possibility.

#13 Helene

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Posted 21 April 2013 - 08:42 AM

The other theaters with two diverse facilities seem to program based on the appropriateness of the work to place, including technical demands, size of the work, and audience demand. The Bastille is very different than Palais Garnais, and the new Opera House in Copenhagen is very different from te Royal Theater. The Bolshoi tends to have one opera and one ballet playing in the two stages.

#14 Mme. Hermine

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 03:36 AM

This video was posted, about acoustic tests at the new building:



#15 Cygnet

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 01:43 PM

MacLean's magazine has done a feature on Mariinsky II from the architect's perspective.

http://www2.macleans...they-will-carp/

The official verdict is, "What's done cannot be undone," or rather, " 'I love it; so deal with it.' " That's Maestro Gergiev's sentiments too. Gergiev has even gone so far as to state on the evening news back in February that
"Fools will probably stay away." Since the reveal and that remark, Gergiev's fellow Petersburgers have responded with righteous indignation, to put it mildly.

http://www.tv100.ru/...mariinki-68496/

I think that the auditorium far excels the exterior facades, given that it was (obviously) built with the Opera in mind. For all the billions spent, both institutions should have been serviced equally. However, the considerations were one sided. There is only one (1) large studio for the Ballet with a glass ceiling, and other rehearsal rooms with low ceilings. So, pdd/lifting rehearsals will be difficult if not impossible. Therefore, the old theatre's studios will have to be used. The historic Theatre is scheduled to close for renovation in 2016. So, can someone please tell me
where the dancers will rehearse? The Vaganova Academy can (and has been) utilized for this purpose before, specifically during the Soviet's last upgrade in 1977. But it's anyone's guess where the Ballet will rehearse three years from now.

Also, a number of new dancers have been hired for the new theatre, (approx. 60), so the space issues of the old Theatre are only exacerbated with the new Theatre. The decision to hire new dancers is recent (and) after the
fact. There's no extra room: The designs were executed based on the Ballet's personnel number when they started and the estimated number of personnel when they finished. What's particularly disturbing is the suggestion that the open air roof might be used as a White Nights "wedding chapel" for citizens, as well as tourists. If that happens, (I doubt it), but if it does, that will out "commercialize" Vladimir Kehkman's giant advertisements in the Mikhailovsky's foyer.

There are also concerns regarding the functionality of the new house for the *opera*. For example, Gergiev
and the architects have repeatedly waxed ecstatic over the "speed" by which the scenery can be changed during intermissions, which are now approx. 45 mins to 15 mins - or less. Safety is a major concern because scenery has to be assembled and dismantled with great care. At least 20 - 25 mins are essential for an approx. 2000 capacity audience and performers to *recuperate during intermissions. *[size=2](I'm trying to be tactful here). [/size]

The new stage is unraked. Singers want a level stage. The dancers were trained and train with raked floors and are used to a raked stage. The interior is very similar to the ideas for the Israeli Foreign Ministry and Toronto Four Seasons Center. Since these were offered as other samples of Mr. Diamond's work, IMO he seems to be a one note pro. I hope I didn't "miss-speak," but that's what I think.


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