Ninth Grand Festival Continues
- Sep 28, 2017
The RNO continued its 9th Grand Festival in Moscow with four concerts in September that included a wide range of works from Beethoven to Rossini, from Prokofiev to Saint-Saëns.
On September 14, violinist Vadim Repin performed Scottish composer James MacMillan’s Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, which MacMillan created specially for Repin in 2010, to debut at London’s Barbican.
This was the official Russian premiere of the work, and Romanian conductor Horia Andreescu took the podium to lead the piece.
In the second half of the evening’s performance, Mikhail Pletnev assumed the podium for Beethoven’s Third Symphony (“Eroica”).
September 19 featured an evening devoted to the works and memory of Alberto Zedda, who conducted the RNO on several occasions, including at four Grand Festivals (2012, 2014, 2015 and 2016), and who passed away on March 6 of this year. In fact, Zedda was scheduled to lead a concert at this year’s festival, to feature one of Rossini’s operas and a number of young, international soloists.
The memorial concert’s program included most of the 2014 Rossini recording in which Zedda collaborated with soprano Olga Peretyatko-Mariotti. Peretyatko-Mariotti was the evening’s soloist, and she also offered the audience stories and memories of her work with the renowned conductor.
The concert was conducted by Christopher Franklin.
A few days later, on September 23, Kirill Karabits, music director of the Deutsches Nationaltheater and Staatskapelle Weimar and Chief Conductor of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, took the podium for a concert of works by Prokofiev, Saint-Saëns, and Lyatoshinsky.
It was a remarkable evening on at least two counts. First, because the works by Prokofiev (Dreams) and Lyatoshinsky (Symphony No. 3) are rarely performed works from the twentieth century, and second because Saint-Saëns’ Piano Concerto featured Mikhail Pletnev as soloist. The latter work received a extended ovation from the audience, leading Pletnev to repeat the second and third movements in an encore.
On September 27, the stage of the Moscow Philharmonic was given over to a documentary drama, The Last Night of the Last Tsar, about the assassination of the tsarist family in Ipatiev House in 1918. The project was connected to the 100-year anniversary of the 1917 revolution and was this year’s continuation of the “experimental” festival performances that seek to combine music and other forms of artistic expression – in this case words.
Actor and author Eduard Radzinsky, whose musical-literary evening “Several Meetings with the Dearly Departed Mozart” was a sensation when it was performed at the RNO’s 2011 Grand Festival, filled the role of narrator for the evening.
The text of the work was written by Radzinsky in the process of preparing his book, The Life and Death of Nicholas II, which was published in the early 1990s, became a huge best seller at home and abroad, and revealed many hitherto unknown details of the tsar’s murder. The work was first performed as a play in 1996, featuring leading lights of Russian theater such as Mikhail Ulyanov, Yevgeny Mironov, Alexander Zbruyev and Irina Kupchenko.
The performance was conducted by Vladislav Lavrik and included the Chamber Choir of the Moscow Conservatory. Related images and documents from the State Archive of the Russian Federation were projected onto the screen behind the orchestra during the concert.
Photo credit: Irina Shymchak.