Barbican Celebrates St Petersburg ArtsDate: 28 April 1999
A two-month long festival celebrating the arts of Russia's 300-year-old cultural capital launches this week at the Barbican Centre. 'St Petersburg: Romance and Revolution', which runs 30 April to 30 June 1999, aims to reflect Czar Peter's original vision of the city as 'a window looking into Europe' by bringing a taste of St Petersburg to London.
The festival programme concentrates on a period of great turbulence in the ciy's history, from the late 19th century to the end of World War II. Highlights include visits from the St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, the Kirov Opera and the Maly Drama Theatre Company as well as the first ever showing outside of Russia of avant-garde paintings and sketches borrowed from Malevich's collection at the State Russian Museum.
The theatre schedule includes two UK premieres - an early play by Chekhov and a futuristic opera written and first performed in 1913. Chekov's Platonov, or The Play with No Name, will be performed in Russian with English surtitles by the acclaimed Maly Drama Theatre of St Petersburg, who are currently touring the UK with a Russian language version of Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale. Platonov will run for five performances only from 9 to 13 June.
Students from the Guildhall School of Music & Drama and the Royal College of Art will tackle the premiere of Victory Over the Sun. The Russian poet Alexei Kruchonykh and the artists Kazimir Malevich and Mikhail Matiushin (who also composed the music) wrote the 1913 opera as a warning of the grotesque world of the future. Only a selection of the sketches by Malevich and part of the libretto and score still survive. The students, working with opera director Julia Hollander and with additional music from Jeremy Arden, will use these fragments as a starting point to develop their own interpretation of Victory Over the Sun. The piece will be performed 18 to 20 June.
In music highlights, the St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, with its music director and principal conductor Yuri Temirkanov, will present two programmes of Russian music in the Barbican Hall - Tchaikovsky's complete ballet score for The Nutcracker (9 June) and Shostakovich's epic war-torn 'Leningrad Symphony' with Roslavet's 'Hours of the New Moon' (11 June).
And the Kirov Opera, conducted by its artistic director Valery Gergiev, will bring a rare performance of Shostakovich's Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk (14 June) and Tchaikovsky's The Queen of Spades with soprano Galina Gorchakova as 'Lisa' (15 June).
For further information, contact the Barbican box office on +44-171-63808891.