Press Acclaim

Acclaim for 2018 RNO Grand Festival

"he Russian National Orchestra's Tenth Festival, under the leadership of Mikhail Pletnev, was the finest event of the fall."

—Anna Baluyeva, Sobesednik (October 2018)

"When an RNO concert is announced, one should simply forget about all other things for the appointed evening; you will not find any alternatives that are more interesting of or a higher caliber."

—Slava Shadronov, ZhZh (September 2018)

"Within the framework of its anniversary festival, the Russian National Orchestra presented Moscow music lovers with a magnificent gift: a concert of Angela Gheorghiu... The orchestra was not in the least inferior to the eminent guest that evening. A cascade of musical colors literally fell upon the audience... The combination of the performances by the magnificent Angela Gheorghiu, the talented Charles Olivieri-Monroe and the wonderful orchestra, was the best gift for the Day of Music that Muscovites could hope for, and, judging by the frenzied applause, it will be remembered for a long time."

—Sergei Evdokimov, Musikalnye Sezony (September 2018)

"The American conductor Joseph Olefirowicz and Western soloists were at the RNO Festival in Tchaikovsky Concert Hall, and they pleased the audience. As did the orchestra. The overture was performed with an almost Shostakovichian extravagance, but without overdoing it, with a light operatic spirit, as Candide requires. In general, the conductor was close to the ideal - his experience and sense of style... And with such a conductor, the orchestra played in a relaxed manner, merrily... With a bit of Voltairian 'mockery.' With the 'delicious' experience of the relaxed nature of a musical. With the necessary amplitude of emotional and stylistic differences..."

—Maya Krylova, (September 2018)

"In the Russian National Orchestra's Candide... one heard the lush crescendos of the orchestra, the soft waves of the strings, and the pulse of sharp, broken rhythms, gavotte, waltz, and flamenco, tango, and elements of the purely musical Bernsteinian games, with its allusions to Mahler, Verdi, Bizet, Stravinsky, jazz, and spiritual choirs. For the American conductor Joseph R. Olefirovicz, all of this musical wealth carried forth in a swift, incendiary, "Broadway-like" pace, not allowing the public to come to their senses, so cheerfully were they following all that was happening on stage."

—Irina Muravyeva, Rossiyskaya gazeta (September 2018)

"Next came [Shostakovich's] 15th, which when one has heard it, one can never forget it – an example of an exceptional performance of a exceptional symphony, one of the most important not only of the twentieth century, but of all time. The "toylike" (as noted by the composer) score, was interpreted by the RNO with unbelievable orchestral mastery by all sections and soloists."

—Yulia Bederova, Kommersant (September 2018)

"Encountering great performers leaves one with a feeling of not just catharsis, but an enduring experience that embraces you and does not let go. This event took place in the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall. It was not just the resurrection of the classics - Gogol, Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov. It was an exceptionally large-scale ACT... Such art gives us the ability to love life and forgive it... In my opinion, among masterpieces of artistic creativity, this is the highest that Russia today is capable of giving."

—Oleg Krivtsun, Khudozhestvennaya kultura (September 2018)

"[Shostakovich's Ninth] had the sound, in the Pletnevian performance, of impossible integrity, completely without literalness; it was filled with a happy attention to the details of the movement and orchestral space; it was simply orchestral mastery. Pletnev sometimes conducts with a kind of extraordinary, utter confidence in his musicians, and they then begin to sound like no one else – graceful, bright, delicate and breathless."

—Yulia Bederova, Kommersant (September 2018)

"The orchestra and soloist proved exemplary: the ethereal sound of the violin, the light and musical (yet not affected) virtuosity of Krylov, his very careful reading of the part coinciding qualitatively with Pletnev's interpretation. I was struck by the ensemble's details, when the RNO smoothly entered, as if passing through the eye of a needle, alongside the soloist's subtle trills."

—Irina Muravyeva, Rossiyskaya Gazeta (September 2018)

"The second half was given over to Shostakovich's Tenth Symphony... All of the dark clownishness, brought to life by Shostakovich in a time of seemingly universal euphoria, was transformed by the RNO and Pletnev into a manifesto for all time. Light and horrific. Horrific... and light. And yet one completely understands it. Even when you cannot change a thing. But you still must attempt to flee your demons. While you are still living."

—Maya Krylova, (September 2018)

"The composition [of Tchaikovsky's "Cherevichki" (The Tsarina's Slippers) and Rimsky-Korsakov's "Night before Christmas"] was exceedingly interesting, full of parallels and contrasts, yet in the beauty and care for the performance of the music, especially the orchestral, it is difficult to imagine something that could come closer to the ideal. Already in the introduction, Pletnev, like a magician waving a magic wand, "lit" up one major harmony after another - like stars in the crystal sky on Christmas evening. The amazing quality of the horn and clarinet solos, the bell ringing - before us appeared a palette of spectrally pure orchestral colors, with which the maestro recreated the magical landscape described by the composer."

—Sergei Biryukov, Trud (September 2018)

What They’re Saying

"To present American and Russian musicians performing and teaching together at Festival Napa precisely the kind of effort that sustains vital cultural a critical time for both societies. [This] resonates with the public [and] is meaningful for the musician participants...Cultural diplomacy and music offer alternatives to contention and sustain important linkages between our societies for the long run...Now more than ever we need viable citizen-to-citizen points of contact and dialogue."

James F. Collins (Ambassador Ret.)

Senior Fellow, Russia and Eurasia Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace