By Ted AYALA
One of Russia’s oldest and finest symphony orchestras in making a stop in Southern California on Tuesday.
The Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra, the house band for the eponymous opera company in St. Petersburg, makes a one-night appearance in the Los Angeles area on Oct. 18. The program, which begins at 8 p.m., will include works by some of St. Petersburg’s most famous sons: Igor Stravinsky, Sergei Prokofieff, and Dmitri Shostakovich. All three composers were products of the city’s famed conservatory of music, where they studied under composers such as Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakoff, Alexander Glazunov, and Maximilian Steinberg.
Opening the program will be Stravinsky’s 1919 arrangement of selections from his debut ballet, The Firebird. The inclusion will be something of a homecoming as the composer’s roots dig deep into the Mariinsky’s past. Both his parents were singers in the Mariinsky’s opera company during the turn of the 20th Century.
Following will be Prokofieff’s exuberant Piano Concerto No. 3, performed with steely virtuosity by pianist Alexander Toradze, who has recorded a critically acclaimed set of Prokofieff’s complete piano concertos with the Mariinsky and Gergiev.
Closing the program will be another debut–the Symphony No. 1 by Dmitri Shostakovich. Submitted to his professors as his graduating thesis, the symphony won immediate attention from Russian musical circles in the mid 1920s for its originality of form and language. It soon was championed by conductors such as Bruno Walter, Otto Klemperer, Leopold Stokowski, and Arturo Toscanini. Composed when the composer was only in his late teens, the symphony continues to remain among his most popular essays in symphonic form.
The Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra, which was founded in the 18th century, is widely considered to be the finest in Russia. Its music director, Valery Gergiev, has been the architect for the orchestra’s post Soviet era success. Gergiev, in turn, has become one of the most sought after conductors of today, traveling across the globe. He also holds a music directorship with the London Symphony Orchestra–a partnership that has produced outstanding recordings of music by Prokofieff, Mahler, and, most recently, Debussy. Gergiev and the Mariinsky are also currently producing recordings on their in-house label which has included works by Stravinsky, Rachmaninoff, Donizetti, and a cycle of Shostakovich’s symphonies and operas.
Tickets range from $25 to $70; 40% discount is applied to CSUN students. For more information, contact the Valley Performing Arts Center ticket office at (818) 677-3000 or visit the web page at www.valleyperformingartscenter.org/calendar/mariinsky-orchestra.