Feast of Russian arts in November

By Korea Herald
  • Published : Sept 19, 2012 - 19:51
  • Updated : Sept 19, 2012 - 19:51
A scene from “Swan Lake” by the Mariinsky Ballet (Credia)
Mariinsky Theater Orchestra, Ballet to bring authentic Russian classical arts to Seoul in separate shows

A series of Russian classical music and ballet performances by the prestigious Mariinsky Theater from St. Petersburg, widely deemed Russia’s cultural capital, takes to the stage in Seoul in November.

The Mariinsky Theater Orchestra, led by conductor Valery Gergiev, will bring works of Russian composers to produce the authentic Russian orchestral sound in Seoul.

The list of programs by the Mariinsky Theater Orchestra clearly demonstrates its adventurous drive. The orchestra plans to perform two symphonies instead of one, along with concertos with two Korean artists each night.

The orchestra opens its two days of events on Nov. 6 with Shostakovich’s “Symphony No. 1 in F Minor, Op. 10,” Tchaikovsky’s “Symphony No. 5 in E Minor, Op. 64” and Shostakovich’s “Concerto for Piano and Trumpet and String Orchestra No. 1 Minor, Op. 35” in collaboration with pianist Son Yeol-eum.

On Nov. 7 the orchestra will present Brahms’ “Symphony No. 2 in D Major, Op. 73,” Prokofiev’s “Symphony No. 5 in B Flat Major, Op. 100” and “Prokofiev Concerto No. 1 in D Major, Op. 10” with pianist Cho Sung-jin.
Conductor Valery Gergiev and the Mariinsky Theater Orchestra(Mastmedia)

Gergiev is said to have personally picked the two pianists for the orchestra’s Seoul concerts.

Son and Cho won second and third prize, respectively, in piano performance at last year’s Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. Gergiev was the head of the organizing committee for the annual contest.

Gergiev is a dynamic, versatile Russian conductor who has made it a mission to introduce Russian music to the world.

Born in Moscow in 1953, Gergiev was appointed artistic director of the opera company in 1988, and general director in 1996. He also served as the chief conductor of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and the chief guest conductor of the Metropolitan Opera. The maestro also leads the London Symphony Orchestra and the annual international “Stars of the White Nights Festival” in St. Petersburg, home of the Mariinsky Theater.

He leads the entire Mariinsky Theater, a gigantic art troupe consisting of 17 conductors, 240 orchestra members, 126 opera singers, 77 ballet dancers and 114 choir members.

The size of the theater makes it possible to perform all over the world in separate groups simultaneously, promoters said. The orchestra, for instance, can be divided into three groups to play in different places at the same time.

In this way, a group from the theater orchestra with Gergiev can perform in Seoul on Nov. 6-7, a week before another group from the orchestra visits the country’s capital along with the Mariinsky Ballet.

The Mariinsky Ballet will arrive in Seoul for the first time in eight years to present its rendition of “Swan Lake” choreographed by in Marius Petipa, a week after the Mariinsky Orchestra’s tour.

The Mariinsky Ballet, formerly known as the Kirov Ballet, is a world-renowned classical ballet troupe, currently under the Mariinsky Theater along with the opera and orchestra.

Since 1783, the ballet troupe has set the bar for classical ballet, exerting a strong influence on ballet troupes around the world. It also produced Russian dance legends Mikhail Baryshnikov, Rudolf Nureyev and Natalia Makarova.

In the upcoming performance in Seoul, Kim Ki-min, the first Korean to enter the prestigious Mariinsky Ballet Company in 2011, will take a title role in “Swan Lake.” Kim has already performed the leading roles in two performances, as Basilio in “Don Quixote” and as Ali in Petipa’s “Le Corsaire.” In May, Kim won the prestigious Grand Prix Award at Youth America Grand Prix, the world’s largest student ballet competition, in New York.

The Mariinsky Ballet will perform “Swan Lake” at the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts on Nov. 12-13. Tickets range from 50,000 won to 270,000 won. For more information, call 1577-5266.

The Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra led by maestro Valery Gergiev will take the stage on Nov. 6-7 at the Seoul Arts Center. Tickets range from 70,000 won to 270,000 won. For more information, call (02) 541-3183.

By Cho Chung-un (christory@heraldcorp.com)