On 21 November at the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing (China), the Mariinsky Theatre's major tour of countries in the Asia-Pacific region began with a performance of Pyotr Tchaikovsky's ballet The Sleeping Beauty; there will also be performances in major cities in China, Japan and South Korea as well as concerts at the Primorsky Stage of the Mariinsky Theatre in Vladivostok. The tour concludes on 13 December in Seoul.
Despite the fact that Chinese audiences, according to several critics, are not used to such lengthy ballets as The Sleeping Beauty (choreography by Marius Petipa, revised version by Konstantin Sergeyev), the dancers received a warm response: "The full version of The Sleeping Beauty that was performed at the National Centre is an outstanding example of Petipa's classical ballet, demonstrating the high level of the professionalism of the ballet company and allowing Chinese audiences to discover Russia's ballet culture," commented the portal Wenhua.youth.cn.
"In the triumphant palace scene, familiar characters brilliantly performed their variations: the Lilac Fairy, Princess Florine and the Bluebird, Puss in Boots, Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf – washing away the borders of time and space and returning the audience to their childhood. And the protagonists – the happy lovers Princess Aurora and Prince Désiré (Anastasia Matvienko and Vladimir Shklyarov) – demonstrated impeccable technique and the elegant beauty of true classical dance," according to China.com.
Having concluded its performances in Beijing, the Mariinsky Ballet and Orchestra departed for Shanghai, where from 26 to 28 November at the Shanghai Grand Theatre the Mariinsky festival was held. Speaking of Sergei Prokofiev's ballet with choreography by Alexei Ratmansky, performed there three times, critics reported that "Ratmansky masterfully interweaves Prokofiev's bold and colourful music with contemporary dance movements, while at the same time retaining the very essence of classical ballet. He literally transports our lives into a world of fairy-tales – he creates the impression that the characters in Cinderella are our friends, neighbours or merely people passing by that we see each day on the street. Filipp Stepin produced a traditional, quasi-classical image as the noble Prince. Vladimir Shklyarov – a more passionate Prince – followed his love like a moth to the flame. Alexander Sergeyev, who appeared in the final performance of the tour, appeared as an ironic contemporary young man," wrote the portal ArtsBj.com.
"Ratmansky's Cinderella is a beautifully presented satire. Without the extreme sugariness of the plot, its lyrical components appear fuller and more touching, and the final pas de deux with its light note of sadness serves as an ideal conclusion to this complex production, so different to the typical 'and they all lived happily ever after.'" JF Daily.
On 28 November the festival in Shanghai ended with An Evening of Stravinsky. The Mariinsky Orchestra under Valery Gergiev performed the suite from the ballet The Firebird, the music of the ballet Pétrouchka and Capriccio for Piano and Orchestra. The soloist was Denis Matsuev.
After the appearances in Shanghai, Valery Gergiev and the Mariinsky Orchestra travelled to Vladivostok, where on 29 and 30 November together with Denis Matsuev they will present a Rachmaninoff Cycle at the Primorsky Stage of the Mariinsky Theatre. Two concerts will feature all of Sergei Rachmaninoff's works for piano and orchestra. Speaking of the forthcoming performances, Denis Matsuev stressed that he was particularly looking forward to them: "A major project is approaching fast – the performance of all of Rachmaninoff's piano concerti in Vladivostok and Tokyo. This is the first time we're doing such a thing, it will be a unique experience for us all. Of course, I know all of Rachmaninoff's concerti, I have performed them several times throughout the world, including the Fourth Concerto, which in the last two months I have performed twenty-five times. But performing all of these concerti in a single block lasting three to four hours and literally travelling Rachmaninoff's entire creative path is no easy task, and yet at the same time it is gripping. The more so in tandem with Valery Gergiev, a great connoisseur and admirer of each concerto."
In December the Mariinsky Orchestra under Valery Gergiev will present twelve concerts in Japan (1–11 December), and then give two performances in Seoul (South Korea).
Valery Gergiev began the tour of countries in the Asia-Pacific region with the Münchner Philharmoniker – from 18 to 25 November the musicians held a series of concerts at major venues in Nanking, Xi'an, Tianjin and Beijing (China). The tour programme included Ludwig van Beethoven's overture Leonore No 3, Anton Bruckner's Symphony No 3, the overture to Richard Wagner's opera Tannhäuser, Pyotr Tchaikovsky's Symphony No 6 (Pathétique) and Sergei Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No 4. The soloist is Denis Matsuev. The Chinese press lavished praise on the German ensemble, referring to the performances under Valery Gergiev as first-class and unsurpassed events. "In recent years Valery Gergiev has been a frequent guest at the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing, and every time he returns here he brings new surprises for the audience. On the evening of 24 November this world-class Russian conductor presented the audience with the results of his collaboration with the Münchner Philharmoniker – a top-flight German performance in the Russian style. Under the baton of Valery Gergiev, even the extremely subtle movement conveys the deep power of the music and immerses the listener in the astonishing world created by the composer," commented the portal Youth.cn.
"The German orchestra and the Russian musicians Valery Gergiev and Denis Matsuev have many admirers and, as a rule, it is very difficult to get tickets for their performances. The performance of Tchaikovsky's Sixth Symphony and Rachmaninoff's masterpiece – the Fourth Piano Concerto – has become a veritable symbol of German and Russian authentic music traditions," wrote JWbos.com.