FOR WHOM THE REQUIEM TOLLS. Rossijskaya gazeta

By Irina Muravyeva

The Fifth International Mstislav Rostropovich Festival, organised and presented by the Maestro’s daughter, Olga Rostropovich, has just taken place in Moscow. Over a period of 10 days, in the city’s most important halls, the Grand Hall of the Сonservatoire and the Tchaikovsky Hall, performances were given by five different European orchestras the Russian National Orchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra (of London), the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France.

One should note that such a line-up of elite orchestras is a rare event for any musical capital in the world. Only the largest and most prestigious musical festivals, such as the Salzburg Festival are capable of hosting a project of such enormous organisational, logistical and financial complexity. The previous Russian project “Orchestras of the World” has already faded into the distance. And although the Rostropovich Festival did not pose such an aim for itself, yet the high-ranking orchestras and renowned conductors coming to Moscow to honour the Maestro’s memory ensured this to be the greatest showcase of world-class orchestras in our country. First let us recall the orchestras which appeared in previous festivals: the Bavarian Radio orchestra under Mariss Jansons, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra under Charles Dutoit, the Saint Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra under its chief conductor, Yuri Temirkanov, the Santa Cecilia Orchestra under Antonio Pappano, and others. This year the conductors who appeared were Vladimir Jurowski (London Philharmonic Orchestra), Esa-Pekka Salonen (Philharmonia Orchestra), Myung-Whun Chung (Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France), Stéphane Denève (Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra), and Mikhail Pletnev (Russian National Orchestra). Read more...

ROSTROPOVICH LIBERATED

By Yaroslav Timofeev

Izvestiya, 7th April 2014

Four European orchestras and Mikhail Pletnev have guaranteed the high level of the Fifth Mstislav Rostropovich Festival

With the results at hand of this jubilee festival, now is the perfect time to sum up the achievements of this “five-year plan”. First and foremost this event in honour of Rostropovich is by far the most interesting Festival in Moscow, both in respect of the participating artists and in its programming. (And that includes its greatest competitor, the Moscow Easter Festival which is centred round its artistic director, Valery Gergiev, and has hence become “monotheistic”.) Read more...

Shostakovich’s ape opera Orango debuts in Moscow Source. Russia Beyond the Headlines

Shostakovich’s ape opera Orango debuts in Moscow

Finnish conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen and the London Philharmonic Orchestra performing 'Orango' opera at Moscow Conservatory. Source: Alexander Gaiduk / Rostropovich festival

Orango the ape shuffles before the Palace of Soviets, to the sounds of a jeering crowd. This is not just any chimpanzee, the ringleader proclaims: Orango can eat with a knife and fork, blow his nose, and even play “Chizik Pyzhik,” the Russian nursery rhyme character. Orango is half-ape, half-human, a grotesque capitalist experiment who now resides in the Moscow circus.

Such is the bizarre, fascinating conceit of “Orango,” the unfinished comedic opera by Dmitry Shostakovich. In 1932, the Bolshoi Theatre commissioned “Orango” in honor of the 15th anniversary of the October Revolution, but the project was soon abandoned. Nothing was known of it until 2004, when Olga Digonskaya, a musicologist at Moscow’s Glinka Museum, stumbled across a piano score for the prologue in Shostakovich’s archives.

Digonskaya called her discovery “an unbelievable stroke of luck.”

“My hands and legs were shaking,” she said. “I felt like Sherlock Holmes.”

After premiering in Los Angeles in 2011, “Orango” was performed for the first time in the composer’s native country on Friday, when Finnish conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen led the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Yurlov Russian State Academic Choir in a concert at Moscow’s Conservatory. Read more...
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