Nowhere else is the soul of Russian (ballet) music so much in evidence as in St. Petersburg's legendary Mariinski Theatre. Well, as good as nowhere. For when the choir, orchestra and vocal soloists under the baton of chief conductor Valery Gergiev make a three-day stay in Hamburg, a breath of Mother Russia also wafts through the Grand Hall of the Elbphilharmonie.
Since it was opened in 1860, the splendour of the Mariinski Theatre has shone far beyond the confines of Russia. Every year, thousands of people from all over the world make their way to St. Petersburg to experience an opera or ballet performance live in the magnificent surroundings of this venerable institution, which has expanded in recent years, adding a spectacular second stage and a new concert hall, as well as branches in other cities.
But this season, Hamburg's music fans can save themselves the trouble of making the long trip: the Mariinski and its ensembles – choir, orchestra and a group of hand-picked soloists – is appearing at the Elbphilharmonie for a whole three days. Under the baton of Mariinski chief conductor Valery Gergiev, they present a cross-section of their favourite repertoire, with the emphasis on ballet and opera.
Thus we hear Igor Stravinsky's »Firebird« and Sergei Prokofiev's demonic psycho-trip opera »The Fiery Angel«. Over Easter, incidentally, the Mariinski guest appearance is followed by their colleagues from Moscow's Bolschoi Theatre, who represent the elite of Russian opera alongside the St. Petersburgers.