From 4 to 14 September 2003, I had the pleasure of participating in what was one of the highlights of the year-long celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of Prokofiev’s death, the Rotterdam Philharmonic’s Gergiev Festival 2003, entitled “Prokofiev: The Prodigal Son (De Verloren Zoon) 1927-1947”. Each of the eleven exciting days was crammed with a remarkable variety of events: films, symphonic performances, chamber and solo recitals, original dramatic compositions, lectures, a symposium, interviews, an opera-in-concert (Semyon Kotko), a fully staged ballet (Prodigal Son), even an imaginative re-creation (with actors, video and orchestra) of the 1936 staging of Eugene Onegin by Alexander Tairov with Prokofiev’s original incidental music. Hundreds of distinguished artists participated. Valery Gergiev conducted both of his orchestras – the local Rotterdam Philharmonic, which he has led since 1995, and the Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, his home base since 1988. Joining them on stage were stars from the Mariinsky Theatre, as well as acclaimed instrumental soloists from Europe, Russia and the United States.
Creatively conceived by Gergiev and brilliantly planned and executed by the artistic staff of the Rotterdam Philharmonic (led by Asadour Santourian and assisted by Edwin Thus), the events took place in the heart of Rotterdam in the Philharmonic’s spacious home, De Doelen, which contains a superb large concert hall (the Grote Zaal), a hall for recitals and lectures (Juriaanse Zaal), a hall for screenings (Rabobank Zaal), and numerous inviting public spaces utilised for demonstrations and exhibitions. The diverse and unusual programming attracted a large and highly engaged audience of Prokofiev enthusiasts from all over the world, and was covered extensively by the international media. Correspondents from Dutch television even camped out on the roof for the duration, providing humorous daily updates on the proceedings. (Next)
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THREE ORANGES JOURNAL No.7 May 2004