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Stars of the White Nights - May 5, 2003 - August 5, 2003

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Looks like a Gergiev Festival! (Or, from a balletomane's point of view, that's a lotta opera to sit through to get to the ballets :) I realize that is an uncouth comment, and it's not intended as a model for the young.)

I will be very curious to learn what Russians think about the Royal Ballet's Swan Lake :) But I'm glad the Royal is bringing Ashton, and NYCB is bringing a lot of Balanchine. I'll be very curious to learn the reactions to those as well.

Thanks for posting the link, Marc.

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It is a Gergiev Festival :), and the emphasis has always been on opera and concerts. It's only recently that ballet became a more substantial part of the menu. The foreign guest companies are invited as part of the St. Petersburg anniversary festivities this year. And of course the whole event won't refrain the Kirov Ballet from touring at least the whole month of July.

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The Russians really know how to put on a festival!!

There seems to be plenty of both opera and ballet, although including the premiere of a “Ring” cycle is quite ambitious.

A festival goer had better like Girgeiv--from the schedule he is unavoidable. After hearing some of his Metropolitan Opera broadcasts, I don’t think he is quite the master of all podium trades that some seem to think. But even if he were, the scheduling is nuts. In mid June he his conducting the four evenings of the Ring, the Tchaikovsky Fifth and Glinka’s “A Life for the Czar”. This is between June 13 and June 18!! And he is bookending that marathon with the Verdi Requiem and “Boris Gudunov”! Even if you thought Gergeiv was the Second Coming of ________ (fill in name of your favorite conductor) that would be a bit much. He is also doing a lot of Mahler, music that doesn’t seem to suit him well.

There is a LOT of very intriguing stuff, though. Anna Netrebko is all over the place. Not surprising, since she is a drop-dead gorgeous woman with an excellent voice. She wowed New York when the Kirov brought “Betrothal in a Monastery” and other works in 1998. Catch her while you can, since she is already booked for some of the heavier Verdi roles. Given her age, prior roles and training, this is a path that is not guaranteed to produce a long and productive career.

Zubin Mehta and the Israeli Philharmonic doing the Mahler Third—this might be one of the hits of the orchestral part of the festival. Very odd program that the Met Orchestra with James Levine is giving on May 30—looks like something tossed togther at the last minute. A Finnish orchestra is doing Sibelius and Aho; one from Zagreb performing Dvorak and Parac. Yuri Bashmet and the Moscow Soloists play one concert in in early July—their recordings are tremendous. There is a solid month of ballet performances in July and August, with a not insignificant number of ballets during the rest of the festival.

What a great way to spend the summer!!!

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Thanks for the link to the updates White Nights Festival schedule, Mark.

As you know, many other cultural events will be taking place concurrently with the Mariinsky programs, especially during the ten days of the 300th-celebration proper (May 23 - June 1). [Husband and I are attending from May 25/31, as plans now stand.]

For BalletAlertniks planning to be in Peter during "The Week," expect road closures & traffic jams in the core of the historic city, due to the anticipated simultaneous visit of 45 heads of state for the most prestigeous events on May 30 and 31. Pulkovo 1 & 2 Airports will be closed to normal commercial flights from the evening of Thurs, May 29 through Sunday, June 1. All of the big hotels are being booked by various national delegations (presidents and respective entourages)...I've been hearing horror stories of plain-old tourists being left without hotel rooms. Flights into/out of Peter on the 'closed days' will be cancelled, if they haven't already. [We're going by train from Moscow; hopefully, Moscow RR Station will be open...then we can take Metro to Sennaya Ploschad and walk to our flat...no big luggage for us!]

On the positive-news front, there will be TONS of ballet going on, simultaneously, in many venues, not just the Mariinsky.

For the full 300th Anniv schedule, feast your eyes on http:/petersburgcity.com/300/

Among the dance-related offerings:


* Exhibition opening: "200 years of the Imperial Theaters" at the restored Marble Palace (on palace embankment, near Winter Palace/Hermitage

* 6 pm - Ice Palace - Figure Skaters Tribute to St Peteresburg, starring Olympic and World gold medalists from past 40 years

Saturday, May 24 - HERITAGE DAY

* 7 pm - Palace Square (outdoors) - Opera/Ballet/Symphonic pageant "The Lofty Destiny of St. Petersburg"

Sunday, May 25 - STREET FAIRS DAY

* 12 noon - Vaganova Academy of Ballet "Open House" (call 312-1702 for info, in St P, of course)

* 7 pm - World Premiere of ballet "Anna Karenina" chor. V. Uspensky/mus. Tchaikovsky, St. petersburg Conservatoire Theater

* also 7 pm - Mariinsky Theater - Swan Lake

Monday, May 26 - SCIENCES DAY

* 7 pm - World Premiere of Boris Eifman's ballet in honor of St. Petersburg: "Who Is Who" - Alexandrinsky Theater

also 7 pm - Mariinsky - Evening of Historic Ballets (perhaps the same program I saw during Mariinsky Fest??? no details yet)

Tuesday, May 27 - CITY DAY (actual day of the founding of St.P.)

* 6:30 pm - Gala Opening of the new premises of the "St. petersburg Opera Theater" troupe, with the Russian premiere of Gaetano Donizetti's rarity, "Peter the Great"

Wednesday, May 28 - SPORTS DAY

* 2pm - City Sports Festival at Kirov Stadium, including famous Olympic gymnasts from past & present

* 7:30 pm - Palace Square - Ballet Concert "For You, Great City" featuring "...ballet legends, current stars, and students of all of St. Petersburg's ballet institutions. One of the ballets to be performaed will be an original work "Cinderella" to Tchaikovsky music (yes - that's what the program says - Tchaikovsky, not Prokofiev), danced by "stars of the Mariinsky & Moscow's Bolshoi Theates."

Thursday, May 29 - THEATERS JAMBOREE DAY (I love the name!)

* 6 pm - "Children of the Stray Dog at Arts Square" - Gala Modern Dance Concert, featuring premieres by Russia's top modern dance choreographers. Artistic Dir of the evening - V.A. Skliarsky, A.D. of The Stray Dog troupe

Friday, May 30 - OPEN MUSEUMS DAY; also, first day of International Summit -- roads closed - access into city by Metro or on foot only - airport closed to commercial flights between now & Monday!

* 7 pm - 300th Anniversary Gala, Mariinsky Theater, concert of opera and ballet stars, dir. by Gergiev. *WORLDWIDE LIVE TELECAST, BBC (tape delay to some countries)!!!!

* 9 pm - start of 50-hour Dance Marathon on Kronstadt Island's Fort Schanz (I think I'll pass that one... :) )

Saturday, May 31 - INTERNATIONAL DAY; Int'l Summit, day 2 (roads still closed)

* noon - Parade of Historic Ships along the Neva (presidents watch it all from Peter & Paul Fortress)

* 3 pm - Parade of Military Bands - nevsky Prospekt

* 4 pm - reopening of the Amber Room, Catherine Palace, Tsarskoye Selo Village (south of StP)

* 8 pm - still at Tsarskoye Selo...Gala Concert "Stars of World Ballet & Opera Salute St. Petersburg" with Gergiev and the Mariinsky Orchestra. Fireworks finale over the giant lake, Catherine Palace gardens.

Sunday, June 1 - WE ARE ONLY 300

* noon - reopening of the Grand Cascade in Peterhof (Summer Palace)

* 3 pm - "Smiles from the Northern Venice" Children's Music and Dance Festival, Okhtyabrisky Concert Hall

* 7 pm - Romeo & Juliet - Mariinsky Theater


Besides the aforementioned website, you can obtain information on the 300th-celebration official events (other than Mariinsky) by writing to spb300@gov.spb.ru or calling 7(812)110-4594. Natalia I. Batozhok is the Chairperson of "Committee 300" which is in charge of this whole extravaganza. For Mariinsky events, of course, you'll want to use the theater's own website.

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