From 8 April to 9 May 2018 there will be an eagerly anticipated event in Russia's cultural calendar the XVII Moscow Easter Festival. It is being held with the support of the Moscow City Government, the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation and the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation and with the blessing of His Holiness Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow and All the Russias. The seventeenth festival will be one of the greatest and lengthiest in the festival's history this record music marathon will run for 32 days!
In accordance with tradition the festival presents four programmes: symphony music, choral music, chamber music and bell-ringing. The concerts by world-acclaimed soloists and acclaimed music ensembles will be held at major concert venues in Moscow and Russia's regions, and are sure to be unforgettable events in the cultural life of the cities that host the festival.
2018 is rich in commemorative dates for composers, among them the Russian classics Alexander Dargomyzhsky and Alexander Borodin, the Soviet composers Aram Khachaturian and Tikhon Khrennikov and other outstanding representatives of world classical music such as Antonio Vivaldi, Charles Gounod, Max Bruch, Georges Bizet, Giacomo Puccini and George Gershwin. It will be two centuries since the birth of the brilliant Russian choreographer Marius Petipa, whose creative life was closely associated with the Mariinsky Theatre. The Mariinsky also will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the death of Claude Debussy, the most influential and beloved of all French composers. The XVII Moscow Easter Festival will pay tribute to the memory of these great maestri.
Symphony music programme
On 8 April, Easter Day, the Mariinsky Orchestra under Valery Gergiev will appear in Moscow. The first concert starts at 12.00 at the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall. Together with the Moscow Philharmonic there will be a live broadcast of the performance for the Far East and other Russian regions participating in the project The All-Russian Virtual Concert Hall. In the evening, at 19:00, the Great Hall of the Moscow State Conservatoire will host the grand opening of the XVII Moscow Easter Festival. The ensemble will subsequently set out on one of the greatest tours in the festival's history. The Mariinsky Orchestra musicians and Valer Gergiev plan to cover 20 000 kilometres and perform in almost thirty Russian towns and cities: Moscow, Voronezh, Vladikavkaz, Volgograd, Saratov, Kazan, Yekaterinburg, Novosibirsk, Krasnoyarsk, Tomsk, Kemerovo, Omsk, Surgut, Tyumen, Naberezhnye Chelny, Almetyevsk, Kirov (for the first time), Yaroslavl, Cherepovets, Vologda, Arkhangelsk, Murmansk, Petrozavodsk, St Petersburg, Smolensk, Bryansk, Belgorod and Oryol. The musicians of the Mariinsky Orchestra under Valery Gergiev will be able to undertake such a major journey thanks to a specially chartered train of the Moscow Easter Festival, which takes the ensemble to Russia's remotest regions each year.
Participants of the festival will be the best soloists, chorus and the Mariinsky orchestra conducted by Valery Gergiev, the Stradivarius Ensemble of the Mariinsky Theater, as well as The Mariinsky Brass Ensemble, and the pianists Seong-Jin Cho, Denis Matsuev, Behzod Abduraimov, Ivan Bessonov, Ilya Rashkovsky, violinist Kristóf Baráti, Eric Silberger, Lorenz Nasturica-Herschcowici, Pavel Milyukov, cellists Narek Akhnazaryan, Alexander Ramm, Alexander Buzlov, vocalists Julia Lezhneva and participants of the Atkins Programme Aigul Khismatullina, soprano (Vladivostok), Angelina Akhmedova, soprano (Tashkent, Uzbekistan), Aigul Khismatullina, soprano (Vladivostok, Russia), Vladislav Kupriianov, baritone (Samara, Russia), Anna Muradyan, soprano (Saint Petersburg, Russia), Ekaterina Sannikova, soprano (Saint Petersburg, Russia), Anastasia Schegoleva, soprano (Moscow) and many others.
In Russian regions will be performed the fragments from operas Tannhauser by Richard Wagner and Falstaffby Giuseppe Verdi.
The Primorsky Stage of the Mariinsky Theatre in Vladivostok will join the Symphonic program: April 11 will perform soloists, choir and Symphonic Orchestra of the Primorsky Stage by conductor Anton Torbeev and The Primorsky Metropolis choir (Regent Ludmila Makarenko); 21 April will perform Symphony orchestra and choir The Primorsky stage, by conductor Pavel Smelkov.
The finest choral ensembles of various countries throughout the world will again acquaint audiences with the vivid culture of choral performance, through its incredibly rich traditions and amazing diversity. The opening of the choral programme will take place 9 April at the Hall of Church Councils in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, where the Mariinsky Chorus will appear under Andrei Petrenko, the State Academic Sveshnikov Russian Chorus under Yevgeny Volkov and the Boys' Chorus of the Sveshnikov Choral School. The choral programme's concerts will take place in Moscow, Khimki, Reutov, Ramenskoe, Zaraisk, Yegorovsk, Istra, Balashikha, Serpukhov, Tula, Tver, Veliky Novgorod, Rostov Veliky, Murom, Alexandrov, Vladivostok and for the first time in Ussuriisk.
This year the choral programme will include appearances by ensembles from Russia (Moscow, St Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Simferopol, Kislovodsk, Vladivostok Ussuriisk), as well as from the Republic of Abkhazia, Belarus, Armenia, Georgia, Slovakia, Sweden, Greece and Finland.
Participants of the choral programme include the State Academic Sveshnikov Russian Chorus (Moscow, conductor Yevgeny Volkov), the Patriarchichal Chorus of the Church of Christ the Saviour (Moscow, precentor Ilya Tolkachev), the Chorus of the Popov Academy of Choral Art (Moscow, conductor Nikolai Azarov), the Boys' and Youth Chorus of the Sveshnikov Choral School (Moscow, conductor Denis Khramov), the State Academic Kozhevnikov Moscow Regional Chorus (conductor Nikolai Azarov), the Academic Chorus of Russian Song (Moscow), the Chorus of the Sretensky Religious Seminary (Moscow, precentor Alexander Amerkhanov), the Russian Rhapsody ensemble of soloists (Moscow, Artistic Director Yevgeny Volchkov), the Mariinsky Chorus (St Petersburg, Artistic Director and Conductor Andrei Petrenko), the Boys' Chorus of the Glinka Choral School (St Petersburg, Artistic Director and Conductor Vladimir Begletsov), the male choir Optina Pustyn, precentor Alexander Semyonov), the Safonov Philharmonic Chorus (Kislovodsk, Artistic Director and Conductor Alina Mukhamedzhanova), the Novosibirsk Choral Cappella (Novosibirsk, Artistic Director and Conductor Igor Yudin), the chamber chorus Terra Tavrika (Simferopol, Artistic and General Director Elena Prokopets), the Pontifical Chorus of the Minsk Cathedral of the Holy Spirit (Minsk, Belarus), the State Choral Cappella of Abkhazia (Sukhum, Republic of Abkhazia, Artistic and General Director Nora Adzhindzhal), the women's vocal ensemble Le (Artistic Director Sona Hovhannisyan), the Sts Cyril and Methodius Children's Chorus (Thessaloniki, Greece, Artistic and General Director Maria Emma Meligopoulou), the Fomades Chorus of St Athos (Greece, precentor Senior Monk Filipp), the Dragostin Folk National (Sofia, Bulgaria, Artistic and General Director Stefan Dragostinov), the Mdzlevari youth chorus (Tbilisi, Georgia, Artistic and General Director Kahaber Onashvili), the vocal ensemble St Jacobs Vokalensemble (Stockholm, Sweden, Artistic and General Director Mikael Wedar), the Swedish male chorus Zero8 (Stockholm, Sweden, Artistic Director and Conductor Rasmus Krigström), the Tapiola children's chorus (Espoo, Finland, Artistic and General Director Pasi Hyökki), the Bratislava Boys' Choir (Bratislava, Slovakia, Artistic and General Director Magdaléna Rovňáková).
The Primorsky Stage of the Mariinsky Theatre in Vladivostok will join the Symphonic program: April 11 will perform soloists, choir and Symphonic Orchestra of the Primorsky Stage by conductor Anton Torbeev and The Primorsky Metropolis choir (Regent Ludmila Makarenko); 21 April Symphony orchestra and choir The Primorsky stage will perform Cantata No. 2 "On the reading of a Psalm" (S. Taneev) as well as will sound the Symphony No. 2 (F. Mendelssohn). The conductor Pavel Smelkov.
For many years, as part of the Moscow Easter Festival, the Theatre and Concert Hall of the Palace of Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich in Kolomenskoe has hosted the Children's Easter Choral Festival of Orthodox Music Russia in Song, which features the participation of youth choral ensembles pupils from children's music schools. The tradition will continue this year the Russia in Song festival is being held for the ninth time.
Chamber music programme
As part of the festival's chamber music programme, leading soloists of the Mariinsky Academy of Young Opera Singers and the Academy's director Larisa Gergieva will present a programme of Russian romances and world opera masterpieces as well as a series of open-to-all rehearsals and vocal master-classes. The performers will be appearing in Moscow, Sevastopol, Yalta, Plyos, Suzdal, Vladimir, Tikhvin, Gatchina and Smolensk. The touring map will encompass more towns: for the first time, concerts by the Mariinsky Academy of Young Opera Singers will take place in Kingisepp, Perm, Ulan-Ude, Ufa, Chelyabinsk and Pereslavl-Zalessky.
The bell-ringing concerts in 2018 will take place at fifty churches. The bell-ringing programme opens on 8 April in Moscow with with Easter bell-ringing at the Church of the Holy Trinity in Nikitniki, located in the very centre of the Russian capital on Varvarka St. In line with tradition, the Moscow bell-ringing will be done on the finest historic and contemporary bells and at the finest bell-towers Zaryadye, Zamoskvorechie, Taganka, including Red Square, the Danilov Monastery, the Monastery of the Holy Mandylion and the Vysokopetrovsky Monastery, as well as in the park areas of Kolomenskoe and Sokolniki. The Moscow programme will be added to by belfries in Zvenigorod, Sergiev Posad, Istra, St Petersburg, Noginsk, Veliky Novgorod and Ramenskoe. This year more than ten new churches are taking part in the bell-ringing programme, including Moscow, St Petersburg, the old cities of the "Golden Ring" Yaroslavl and Kostroma as well as the unique Kizhi open-air museum. For the first time, the Finnish Orthodox Church will join in the Russian Easter bell-ringing. On 8 April for Orthodox Easter there will be Easter bell-ringing in three Orthodox churches in Finland in Kouvola, Hamina and Kotka by the best Finnish and Russian bell-ringers. The geography of the festival's participants is also expanding. More than forty bell-ringers from Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Latvia, Germany, Finland, France and Kazakhstan will come to Moscow and take part in the bell-ringing concerts.
In line with tradition, the XVII festival will be held at children's homes, residential schools, homes for invalids and residential care homes for veterans. The culmination of the festival will come with the traditional concert by the Mariinsky Orchestra under Valery Gergiev at Poklonnaya Hill on 9 May, Victory Day.