Moscow Easter Festival

THE XIII MOSCOW EASTER FESTIVAL WILL SURPASS ITS OWN RECORDSFrom April 20th through May 9th an eagerly anticipated event in the cultural life of Russia—the XIII Moscow Easter Festival—will take place. Its grand opening at the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory will be preceded by a series of pre-Festival concerts beginning on April 15th in Russia’s regions.

The XIII Moscow Easter Festival will be held with the support of the Moscow City Government, the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation, the Russian Orthodox Church, and the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation.

During this Year of Culture, the XIII Moscow Easter Festival with its unprecedented geographical reach and extremely rich programs will once again prove that its extremely high profile among worldwide musical events is well deserved.

The 175th birthday of Modest Mussorgsky, the great Russian composer, will be celebrated in Moscow and in the Russian regions by performances of a substantial number of his works. Alongside those compositions, works of Johannes Brahms, a German genius and Mussorgsky’s contemporary, will be played. All of his symphonies and instrumental concerti will be performed.

The Moscow and regional programs of the XIII Festival season will glitter with the names of such stars as pianists Denis Matsuev and Nelson Freire, the outstanding violinist Pinchas Zukerman, and the splendid cellist Amanda Forsyth; and also with the names of such young soloists as cellists Alexander Ramm and Anastasia Kobekina, pianists Miroslav Kultyshev, Vladimir Petrov, Sergei Redkin, and Daniil Kharitonov, violinists Alena Baeva, Ivan Pochekin, and Pavel Milyukov; and two winners in the XIV International Tchaikovsky Competition—pianists Daniil Trifonov who won the Grand Prix and Seong Jin Cho who took third prize.

In commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War, the Festival for the first time will include ensembles from the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation in its programs. Some of the concerts will be given in regional officers’ cultural centres, military installations, the Aleksandrovsky Hall, and the Central Academic Theatre of the Russian Army.

The unvarying principles of the Festival remain as always: charity, education, enlightenment, and patriotism.

The basic charitable effort of the XIII Moscow Easter Festival consists of dozens of symphonic, choral, and chamber concerts to be given in Moscow and Russia’s regions, the concert for World War II veterans at Poklonnaya Gora on Victory Day, and the bells program that is open to all. With support from the Moscow Easter Festival’s friends and partners and from the Valery Gergiev Charitable Foundation, a substantial number of tickets to the symphonic and choral concerts will be purchased and given to social welfare institutions. Similarly, a portion of the tickets to concerts in the regional symphonic program will be distributed free of charge to veterans, students, young people, servicemen in the armed forces, military cadets, and to the most disadvantaged element of the population.

SYMPHONIC PROGRAMFor the first time the touring route followed by the Mariinsky Theatre Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Valery Gergiev will thread across the entire country—extending some 30,000 kilometres from Kaliningrad to Vladivostok!

The pre-Festival appearances will begin April 15thin Kaliningrad, the capital of the Amber Zone.

On Holy Easter day, April 20th, the Mariinsky Theatre Symphony Orchestra with Valery Gergiev will open the XIII Moscow Easter Festival with a concert in the Great Hall of the Conservatory.

The Moscow Easter Festival has over the years become not merely an outstanding cultural phenomenon, but also a response to all the misfortunes that have afflicted Russia and the world. This year the Moscow Easter Festival will travel to Russia’s Far Eastern cities that were flooded and to Volgograd which was victimized by terrorism last December.

On May 9th the Mariinsky Theatre Symphony Orchestra conducted by Valery Gergiev will, as is traditional, perform before World War II veterans and an audience of many thousands at Poklonnaya Gora.

The concluding evening of the XIII Moscow Easter Festival will be a fitting finale to a record-making marathon when on May 9th in the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory brilliant soloists of the Mariinsky—Anna Netrebko, Ekaterina Semenchuk, and Alexey Markov—appear in a concert performance of Giuseppe Verdi’s “Il Trovatore”.

THE YOUTHFUL VOICE OF THE MOSCOW EASTER FESTIVALIn September 2012 at a session of the Council for Culture and Art before the President of Russia, Valery Gergiev proposed reviving the Russian Choral Society. In early 2013 the Society was formed, and Valery Gergiev was unanimously elected its President. For the XII Moscow Easter Festival in spring of 2013, a children’s choir was included in the performances in every city the forum visited. By autumn auditions had been conducted in all 83 of Russia’s regions for the Children’s Choir of Russia. On 8 January 2014 this choir of a thousand voices under the Maestro’s baton sang at the new stage of the Mariinsky Theatre with astounding success. On February 24th the Children’s Choir of Russia was part of an epoch-making event—the c losing ceremonies of the Olympic Games in Sochi. These children performed before the entire world, and many of them will be part of the XIII Moscow Easter Festival.

CHORAL PROGRAMThe choral program of the XIII season offers listeners the best choral groups from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Armenia, Georgia, Lithuania, Finland, the Czech Republic, Greece, Slovakia and Germany. Among these will be the Mariinsky Theatre Chorus, the Prague Philharmonic Children’s Choir, the Sretensky Monastery Choir, the Festal Choir of Saint Elizabeth Monastery from Minsk, the Tapiola Children’s Choir from Finland, the Hover Youth Choir from Yerevan, and dozens of other world-famous groups.

Just as last year, particular care was taken to build participation by children’s choirs into the choral program. The Tölz Boys’ Choir (Bavaria, Germany), the Mdzlevari Children’s Choir (Tbilisi, Georgia), the Bratislava Boys’ Choir (Bratislava, Slovakia), and also children’s choral groups from Russia will sing during the Festival.

The grand opening of this program will take place on April 21st in the Hall of Church Assemblies of the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. For this concert there will be appearances by the Thessaloniki Hymnody Choir of Athens (Yannis Liakos, regent), the Kyiv Chamber Choir (Mykola Gobdych, artistic director and conductor), and the Mariinsky Theatre Chorus (Andrei Petrenko, artistic director and principal conductor).

On April 29th at the Aleksandrovksy Hall there will be a concert open to the public by the Aleksandrov Academic Song and Dance Ensemble of the Russian Army, and on May 1st the Russian Northern Folk Choir (Svetlana Ignatieva, artistic director) will take the stage at the Central Academic Theatre of the Russian Army.

A substantial number of the choral music concerts will be held in churches in Moscow and its environs where all who wish may enjoy the finest examples of choral liturgical musical and afterwards hear chiming of church bells by masters of that technique.

Charitable choral concerts for audiences of both children and adults will be given in orphanages, institutions for veterans and the handicapped as well as at other social welfare institutions in Moscow, Korolyov, Balashikha, Ivanteevka, Mytishchi, and Khimki.

By tradition the Children’s Easter Celebration is held with the cooperation of the Church and Culture Charitable Foundation. Under the auspices of the Moscow Easter Festival, the V Children’s Easter Festival “Singing Russia” will take place at the Kolomenskoye museum and park.

CHAMBER PROGRAMFor the chamber program of the Festival, the leading soloists of the Academy of Young Opera Singers of the Mariinsky Theatre will present a concert entitled “Russian and Western European Opera, Romance, and Song Hits”. Performances will take place in Moscow, Kemerovo, Barnaul, Tomsk, Surgut, Khanty-Mansiisk, Naro-Fominsk, and Sergiev Posad. The head of the program and concertmaster is Larisa Gergieva, artistic director of the Academy of Young Opera Singers of the Mariinsky Theatre.

Larisa Gergieva will also offer a series of master classes and open rehearsals for singers and teachers. These will be given in Moscow (at the Theatre and Concert Hall of the Arts Faculty of Moscow State University) and also in the cities that the chamber program will visit on tour.

The Academy of Young Opera Singers of the Mariinsky Theatre was founded in 1998 and has become a very valuable new resource for the post-conservatory education of beginning artists as it is not only a bridge between higher education and the theatre, but also represents a rethinking of the internship groups that are widespread among the world’s leading opera theatres. The Academy offers its interns unique educational conditions: lessons with the best instructors, master classes with famous singers, and of course performing experience. During the past decade and a half the Academy has trained several generations of young singers. Each year talented artists from all over Russia, the CIS, western Europe and the Americas fill its ranks.

BELLS PROGRAMIn 2014 the bells program of the Festival will reach more than 30 churches in Moscow and its environs and Saint Petersburg.

Concerts of bell ringing will be held in the historical areas of Moscow such as Zaryadye and Zamoskvorechye and also in parks such as Kolomenskoye and Sokolniki. For the very first time in the Festival’s history the program will gather in three bell towers in the Ramensky district near Moscow.

More than 35 of the best professional bell ringers will be part of the XIII Moscow Easter Festival. They will be drawn from the most prominent bell towers in dozens of Russian regions—from Saint Petersburg, Vologda, Yaroslavl, Veliky Novgorod, Rostov Veliky, Omsk—and even from Latvia, Belarus, and Germany. All of them will show off various styles of bell ringing and examples from different periods in the development of the culture of Russian Orthodox bell ringing.