The second international Mariinsky ballet festival ended in St. Petersburg yesterday. The closing gala-concert featured such stars from Opera National de Paris as Agnes Letestu, Jose Martinez, Aurelie Dupont, Manuel Legris; Vladimir Malakhov, a soloist of the American Ballet Theatre, Vienna Opera and Stuttgart Ballet; and such well-known dancers from the Mariinsky Theatre as Yulia Makhalina, Andrian Fadeyev, Zhanna Ayupova, Diana Vishneva, Viktor Baranov and Svetlana Zakharova. The legendary choreographer William Forsythe and the stars from his Frankfurt troupe presented the 'Artefact II' ballet. Maestro Gergiyev conducted, during the closing part of the concert, music from the 'Diamonds' ballet by Tchaikovsky staged by George Balanchine in 1967.
The festival held by the theatre for the second time is becoming a tradition. As Mr. Valery Gergiyev said during a press conference, 'This festival adds bright colours to the life of the Mariinsky theatre'. Michael Gerdt, the General Manager of the Astoria hotel, noted that the not very popular in winter tourist route became far more interesting with the appearance of this festival.
Before the gala-concert began, in the Napravnick foyer named after the theatre's great conductor, a bust sculpture was open of the Empress Maria whose name the theatre was given back in the 19th century. The wife of Alexander II gave her whole life to charity and was the founder of the Red Cross of Russia. The bust is a copy of the only sculptured portrait of empress Maria there is in Russia, which is in the Pavlovsk Palace. This particular copy is made of alabaster and it is expected to be replaced by a marble bust in the future.