01 Apr 2019
The XVIII Moscow Easter Festival
The XVIII Moscow Easter Festival will run from 27 April to 12 May. It is being held with the support of the Moscow City Government, the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation, and with the blessing of His Holiness Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia. Over the 17 years of its existence, the festival has become one of major cultural events in Russia, which is highly anticipated each year. It is not only an annual music fest for millions of Russians, but also a true bridge of friendship spanning across the countries participating in the festival.
This year, the Year of Theatre in Russia, the Moscow Easter Festival once again proves it adheres to the highest standards of a truly international music event with its expansive geographic scope and diverse programmes encompassing symphony music, chamber music, choral music, and a bell-ringing week. However, the key principles of the festival remain unchanged and it proudly performs its charitable, educational, and enlightenment functions, as well as supports patriotic values.
As per tradition, the festival once again helps mark important milestones in the history of Russian music. The XVIII edition of the festival is dedicated to 175 years since the birth of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov and 180 years since the birth of Modest Mussorgsky. The works of these two great Russian composers will be performed in Moscow and throughout Russia.
Symphony Music Programme
The gala opening of the XVIII Moscow Easter Festival will take place on 28 April, Easter Day, at the Great Hall of the Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatoire. Valery Gergiev will conduct the Mariinsky Orchestra for the concerts at 15:00 and 19:00.
This year, the XVIII Moscow Easter Festival does not set a new record when it comes to its running time (the festival runs for 16 days), but the Mariinsky Orchestra still has an extensive and busy concert schedule ahead: Moscow, Kazan, Perm, Yekaterinburg, Omsk, Kemerovo, Tomsk, Novosibirsk, Surgut, Tyumen, Naberezhnye Chelny, Almetyevsk, Samara, Nizhny Novgorod, Vladimir, Voronezh, Ryazan, Kursk, Tula, Bryansk, and Smolensk.
The participants of the symphony music programme include the Mariinsky Orchestra under the baton of Valery Gergiev, the Mariinsky Theatre soloists and the Mariinsky Chorus, the Stradivarius Ensemble of the Mariinsky Theatre and the Mariinsky Brass Ensemble, as well as renowned modern musicians. In the run-up to the XVI International Tchaikovsky Competition, prize-winners of previous competitions will take part in the festival.
On 9 May, Victory Day, Poklonnaya Hill in Moscow will host the annual open concert event of the Mariinsky Orchestra under the baton of Valery Gergiev (13:00). That same day, the musicians will appear at the Zaryadye Concert Hall in Moscow (19:00). Then the emsemble will continue its tour throughout Russia’s regions. On 12 May, they will return to Moscow, where the Zaryadye Concert Hall will host the closing ceremony of the festival (20:00).
The Moscow Easter Festival annually acquaints its audiences with the incredibly rich traditions and vivid culture of choral performance all over the world. The XVIII edition of the festival will once again attract the best Russian and international choral ensembles. The participants include ensembles from Russia (Moscow, St Petersburg, Nizhny Novgorod), the Republic of Belarus, Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Greece, Sweden, and Lithuania.
The gala opening of the choral programme will take place on 29 April at the Hall of Church Assemblies in Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow. The opening concert will feature the Moscow Synodal Choir, the Yurlov Russian State Academic Choir, and the Mariinsky Chorus.
Performances of choral ensembles will take place not only in Moscow, but also in Vyazma, Ramenskoye, Tver, Yegorievsk, Murom, Kolomna, Rostov Veliky, Zaraysk, Elektrostal, Sergiev Posad, Alexandrov, Serpukhov, Tula, and Dmitrov.
The participants of the choral programme include the Patriarchal Choir of the Church of Christ the Saviour (Moscow), the Chorus of the Sretensky Religious Seminary (Moscow), the Yurlov Russian State Academic Choir, the Moscow Synodal Choir, the Sveshnikov State Academic Russian Choir (Moscow), the Russian Patriarchate Choir of Moscow (Old Russian Cantus), the Osipov Orchestra Russian Rhapsody Ensemble of Soloists (Moscow), the State Academic Kozhevnikov Moscow Regional Chorus, the Boys’ and Youth Choir of the Sveshnikov Choral School (Moscow), the Mariinsky Chorus (St Petersburg), the Chamber Choir Nizhny Novgorod, the Pontifical Chorus of the Minsk Cathedral of the Holy Spirit, Vanya Moneva Choir (Sofia, Bulgaria), the Kaunas Vocal Ensemble Acusto (Lithuania), the Estonian National Male Choir (RAM) (Tallinn), Svanholm Singers (Lund, Sweden), the Pro Musica Girls’ Choir (Nyíregyháza, Hungary), the Prague Philharmonic Children's Choir (the Czech Republic), and the Cantelena Choir (Patras, Greece).
The Primorsky Stage of the Mariinsky Theatre will once again join the choral programme of the Moscow Easter Festival. On 2 May (19:00), it will host a major choral concert featuring the Mixed Choir of the Primorsky Metropolis, the Chorus and Orchestra of the Primorsky Stage of the Mariinsky Theatre. Conductor: Pavel Smelkov.
This year, the Children's Easter Choral Festival of Orthodox Music Russia in Song celebrates its 10th anniversary. The festival takes place at the Kolomenskoye Estate. It has been part of the Moscow Easter Festival’s choral programme since its inception. The fruitful collaboration will continue this year. The Russia in Song festival is, first and foremost, targeted towards children and young audiences. Its participants include youth choirs representing various children’s music schools.
Chamber Music Programme
The chamber music programme of the XVIII Moscow Easter Festival includes performances by leading soloists of the Mariinsky Academy of Young Opera Singers headed by Larisa Gergieva. The concert programme include arias and duets from world opera masterpieces, famous vocal works, Russian romances, and songs of the war years. The Academy’s Artistic Director Larisa Gergieva will hold a series of vocal master-classes. Performances will be hosted by Tikhvin, Pskov, Sestroretsk, Ufa, Moscow, Khimki, Suzdal, Vladimir, Gus-Khrustalny, and Plyos. Ishimbay and Zvyozdny gorodok are two new stops on the chamber music programme’s participants tour.
This year bell-ringing concerts will feature more than 40 professional bell-ringers from various Russian cities and towns (Moscow, St Petersburg, Vologda, Yaroslavl, Rybinsk, Sergiev Posad, Rostov Veliky, Kostroma, Nizhny Novgorod, Pskov, Samara, Veliky Novgorod, Petrozavodsk, Anapa, Rostov-on-Don, Tyumen, Omsk, Yekaterinburg, and Tomsk), as well as from the Republic of Belarus (Minsk, Kalinkavichy), Latvia (Riga), and Germany (Marburg).
The bell-ringing programme includes no less than 40 concerts of bell-ringing music in Moscow, St Petersburg, Sergiev Posad, Istra, Zvenigorod, Kostroma, Pskov, Kaluga, Vladikavkaz, Riga and in Finland (Helsinki, New Valaam, Kotka, Lappeenranta). As tradition goes, all performances are open to citizens and guests of the cities hosting the bell-ringing programme concerts of the Moscow Easter Festival.
The bell-ringing programme continues to expand its geographic coverage in 2019: three new churches will be added to the programme in the cities of Pskov, Kaluga, Helsinki, and Riga. Open-to-all concerts of bell-ringing music will be hosted by the best historic and modern bell towers and belfries of Moscow and the Moscow region, including the Red Square, Taganka, the Danilov Monastery and Sokolniki in Moscow, the Museum-Reserve Kolomenskoye Estate, as well as the Cathedral of the Assumption in Zvenigorod and the New Jerusalem Monastery in Istra, the Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral in St Petersburg, the St George Church in Vladikavkaz, the Nativity of Christ Cathedral in Riga, and the Uspenski Cathedral in Helsinki.
The charity programme of the XVIII Moscow Easter Festival includes dozens of symphony music, choral, and chamber concerts at various educational, military, and social rehabilitation institutions in Moscow and throughout Russia. The fully open-to-all bell-ringing programme will also be presented.
The culmination of the charity programme will come with the traditional concert by the Mariinsky Orchestra under Valery Gergiev at Poklonnaya Hill on 9 May, Victory Day. The concert annually attracts around 300,000 spectators.