Ballet, Opera to Star at City’s Birthday

Ballet, Opera to Star at City’s Birthday

Published: May 23, 2012 (Issue # 1709)

To celebrate its 309th birthday, St. Petersburg has decided to do something a little bit different. There will be no gaudy carnival making its way along Nevsky this year. Instead, the city authorities’ birthday gift to residents is a pair of unprecedented free concerts by world opera and ballet stars in the grounds of the Mikhailovsky Castle.

At 9 p.m. on Saturday, May 26, opera singers including sopranos Hibla Gerzmava and Maria Guleghina and tenor Vladimir Galouzine will take to a stage erected around the steps of the castle especially for the event.

The next evening, leading lights of the ballet world, including the city’s own Boris Eifman Ballet Theater, will perform a gala concert including excerpts from the cutting-edge choreographer’s ballets “Anna Karenina,” “Don Quixote” and the troupe’s latest production, “Rodin.” The ballet show will open with the Golden Ball scene from Eifman’s “Russian Hamlet,” a particularly poignant choice in light of the fact that the ballet focuses on Tsar Paul I, who built — and was murdered in — the Mikhailovsky Castle.

“The gala concert will be further proof of the fact that St. Petersburg does not only lovingly preserve the artistic legacy of the past, but also creates an original ballet repertoire that sees global success and demand,” said Eifman.

Joining the homegrown dance talent will be international soloists who have all performed at one time or other in the Dance Open festival, the city’s annual dance extravaganza. City residents will have an extremely rare chance to marvel at performances by the Bolshoi Ballet’s Nikolai Tsiskaridze and Ilze Liepa, English National Ballet’s Yonah Acosta, Staatsoper Berlin’s Dinu Tamazlakaru and many others — for free.

“The Fontanka embankment, Summer Garden, Mikhailovsky Gardens and façade of the Engineers’ [Mikhailovsky] Castle are the finest backdrop for any performance or concert,” said Dmitry Meskhiyev, head of City Hall’s Culture Committee.

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