New Concert Season Opens with Event from Rachmaninoff – 150 Cycle

As early as on Saturday, August 5, 2023, the jubilee celebrations in honor of Sergei Rachmaninoff will continue at the Primorsky Stage of the Mariinsky Theatre marking the 150th anniversary of the composer’s birth. Masterpieces by this one of the last great representatives of Romanticism in Russian classical music are to be performed within a colorful program, which combines two formats for one night: a symphonic concert in Part I and an opera in Part II.

The concert program includes some compositions, which the young composer created in his formative years from 1892 to 1895 when Rachmaninoff often turned his emerging talent to Gypsy songs.

“Any genius has compositions which are well known and favorite. However, he also has others, which are on the sidelines of the universally acknowledged masterpieces. In our concert, we want to combine some undeservingly forgotten compositions by Sergei Rachmaninoff with his famous opera Aleko and familiarize the Primorsky public with his early pieces for solo violin and cello and with his Capriccio on Gypsy Themes for orchestra. The program is elaborated so as to turn the motifs of the composer’s early works of various genres into an organic sequence of chamber, symphonic and operatic compositions and to convey images of such a significant part of the nineteenth century Russian culture as Gypsy music which many Russian writers and composers – from Alexander Pushkin to Rodion Shchedrin – have admired and reflected in their works,” said Pavel Smelkov, Principal Conductor of the Primorsky Stage.

In Part I, the Mariinsky Orchestra of the Primorsky Stage under the baton of Pavel Smelkov will perform early compositions by Rachmaninoff such as Prelude, Oriental Dance, Romance and Hungarian Dance. Emil Yakovlev will play the solo violin, and Elizaveta Sushchenko, a prizewinner at international competitions, will do the solo cello. The audience will also be able to enjoy the symphonic poem Gypsy Capriccio. It is emotional variations for orchestra, which reflect the essence of the Gypsy themes in Rachmaninoff’s works.

In Part II, a new stage version of the one-act opera Aleko – which became the young composer’s first success and won accolades from the public – will be premiered. The primary parts are rehearsed by opera soloists of the Primorsky Stage.

“Last season, the concert cycle dedicated to Sergei Rachmaninoff opened with this opera presented in concert. Now the audience will enjoy its full stage version. The main emphasis is made on a discovery of the conflict between Aleko and Gypsies and on a collision of the two cultures. The chorus is involved in acting more arduously; the main heroes are conveyed better; some dances are added,” the Director Yulia Ruleva remarked.

It should be noted that the next concert of the large-scale Rachmaninoff – 150 cycle will be held on September 9, 2023 and will feature Albina Shagimuratova, Honored Artist of Russia.

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