Valery Gergiev © Andrea Huber
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Valery Gergiev © Andrea Huber
Symphony Concert 20
Mariinsky Orchestra | Valery Gergiev | Oksana Volkova
Emancipating Russian art from the West and finding a path to its own identity by returning to language, folklore, and the country’s history: all this was the mission of the innovators who joined together in 1862 in St. Petersburg. But none of them took up the project more radically than Modest Mussorgsky. And, as his compatriot and younger colleague Edison Denisov wrote, “he looked ahead not only by decades, but by centuries.” Valery Gergiev and the Mariinsky Orchestra will offer a portrait of the composer through four of his masterworks. The prelude to the opera Khovanshchina, which evokes dawn over the Moskva River, shows the poetic side of Mussorgsky, while his demonic aspect dominates Night on Bald Mountain. The macabre Songs and Dances of Death are dramas in miniature. And Pictures at an Exhibition, which we will hear in Maurice Ravel’s ingenious orchestration, has become one of the greatest hits of the repertoire.
Mariinsky Orchestra © Natasha Razina
The Mariinsky Orchestra ranks among Russia's oldest ensembles. It was founded in 1783 in St. Petersburg, during the reign of Catherine the Great, as the court orchestra. In the second half of the 19th century, the orchestra was substantially shaped by Eduard Nápravník, who regularly conducted from 1863 until 1914 and who also led the concerts of the Imperial Russian Music Society for many years. The ensemble’s extraordinary quality attracted musicians from all over the world, including such composers as Hector Berlioz, Richard Wagner, Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Gustav Mahler, and Sergei Rachmaninoff and conductors like Hans von Bülow and Arthur Nikisch. Many milestones of the repertoire have been premiered by the Mariinsky Orchestra, including operas and ballets by Glinka, Tchaikovsky, Mussorgsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Shostakovich, and Khachaturian. In 1935, during the Soviet era, the ensemble and its regular house (the Mariinsky Theater) were renamed the Kirov Orchestra and the Kirov Theater, respectively, after the murdered Leningrad Secretary of the Communist Party. The original names were reactivated after the breakup of the Soviet Union. Vladimir Dranishnikov, Ariy Pazovsky, Evgeny Mravinsky, Konstantin Simeonov, and Yuri Temirkanov number among the conductors who decisively shaped the Mariinsky Orchestra in the 20th century. Since 1988 the orchestra has been led by Valery Gergiev, who has significantly expanded its repertoire and also performed such previously overlooked composers as Stravinsky, Messiaen, Dutilleux, Henze, Shchedrin, Gubaidulina, and Kancheli; Gergiev has especially become known for leading his musicians in regular performances around the world, from the most important festivals to the major music centers. Since 2009 the orchestra has released its recordings on its own Mariinsky hosue label.
LUCERNE FESTIVAL debut on 20 August 2000 in works by Bartók, Scriabin, and Mussorgsky/Ravel conducted by Valery Gergiev.
May 2017Other dates
Valery Gergiev © Marco Borggreve
Valery Gergiev, who was born in 1953 in Moscow and grew up in the Caucasus, studied at the Leningrad Conservatory of Music with Ilja Musin and launched his career in 1977 when he won the Karajan Competition in Berlin. The following year he began his collaboration with the Kirov Opera, now known as the Mariinsky Theater, where he made his debut with Prokofiev’s War and Peace. Gergiev was named Artistic Director in 1988 and General Director in 1996; this position is associated with his leadership of the Stars of the White Nights and New Horizons Festivals as well. With the Mariinsky Ensemble he has toured to such countries as Japan, China, Israel, and the United States, as well as all of the leading European music centers. In 2006 he dedicated a new concert hall in St. Petersburg that is was constructed specifically for the Mariinsky Orchestra; this was followed in 2013 by the opening of a second, new opera house. In 1994 Valery Gergiev made his debut at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, where he served as First Guest Conductor from 1997 to 2008. During this period, from 1995 to 2007, he also helmed the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, and from 2007 to 2015 he was Music Director of the London Symphony Orchestra. Since the fall of 2015 Gergiev has held the position of Music Director of the Munich Philharmonic. He has led the Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco Symphonies, the Cleveland and Philadelphia Orchestras, the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonics, and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam.Along with serving as Chairman of the International Tchaikovsky Competition and the Moscow Easter Festival, he leads the World Orchestra for Peace. Among Valery Gergiev’s numerous distinctions are the Shostakovich Award and the People's Artist of Russia Award; in 2006 he received the Polar Music Prize and the Karajan Music Award.
LUCERNE FESTIVAL debut on 20 August 1999 with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra in works by Kancheli and Beethoven.
May 2017Other dates
The Belarusian mezzo-soprano Oksana Volkova earned her degree studying with Lidia Galushkina at the State Music Academy in her native Minsk. While there, during her third year as a student, she was engaged in 2002 by the Bolshoi Opera of the Republic of Belarus. She won the International Glinka Competition in 2007 and was accepted into the Young Singers Program of the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow in 2009, to whose ensemble she still belongs. Volkova’s repertoire encompasses the great mezzo roles of Russian opera by Mussorgsky (Marina in Boris Godunov and Marfa in Khovanshchina), Tchaikovsky (Olga in Eugene Onegin and Polina in Pique Dame), Borodin (Konchakovna in Prince Igor), and Rimsky-Korsakov (Ljubascha in The Tsar’s Bride and Kashcheyevna in Kashchey the Deathless). She is also a sought-after performer of French opera, with credits including the title role in Bizet’s Carmen and Marguerite in Berlioz’s La Damnation de Faust, and she additionally performs such Italian roles as Suzuki in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, Santuzza in Mascagni’s Cavalleria rusticana, Amneris in Verdi’s Aida, and Laura in Ponchielli’s La Gioconda. Oksana Volkova has been a guest artist at the major opera houses in the Western world, such as La Scala in Milan, the Metropolitan Opera in New York, the Bavarian Staatsoper, London’s Royal Opera House, and the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires. In the 2017-18 season, she will appear as Giulietta in Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann at the Metropolitan Opera, as Olga at the Hamburg Staatsoper, and as Santuzza at the Grand Théâtre de Genève. Her concert repertoire includes the Requiem setting by Mozart and Verdi and Prokofiev’s Alexander Nevsky.
18:30 | Introduction to the Concert with Susanne Stähr | KKL Luzern, Auditorium