A team comprising 91 singers, 102 dances, 173 musicians and 60 technical and management staff of Mariinsky Theatre are touring China for the annual Mariinsky Theatre Festival.
Since 2016, the theater has come to China and held an annual arts festival, co-organized by Wu Promotion, a Chinese company that does music tours. This time the team includes 91 singers, 102 dances, 173 musicians and 60 technical and management staff.
The tour kicked off on Nov 20 in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, and will run through Dec 7, visiting Shanghai, Nanjing, in Jiangsu province, and Beijing.
Under the baton of Valery Gergiev, the artistic director of Mariinsky Theater, the orchestra performs programs including Rimsky Korsakov's suite from the opera The Tale of Czar Saltan, Richard Wagner's last opera, Parsifal and Hector Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique. The ballet company brings Don Quixote and selections from three ballet pieces, Chopiniana, Schéhérazade and The Firebird.
"When we are on tour we represent Russian culture, the composers and the best of our nation's historical achievements," says maestro Gergiev in an email interview to China Daily ahead of the performance of Parsifal at the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing.
"Chinese audiences are an important part of the huge community of music lovers around the world," he adds, noting: "I, along with many people around the world, are impressed by the intensity and greatness of the country's change, especially where new concert halls, new opera houses are being built so rapidly.
"It provides many more opportunities for the public to enjoy music performed by the many musicians in China, as well as those visiting artists," Gergiev says.
Gergiev first came to China with Mariinsky Orchestra in 1998 and gave a concert at the Great Hall of the People. The following year, the conductor, along with the theater company, gave the first concert at the opening of the Shanghai Grand Theatre, at the same time becoming the first foreign performing arts group to play there. Then, in 2007, Gergiev and the theater were invited to perform at the opening of the National Centre for the Performing Arts.
He says the friendship with China "has been always a two-way communication".