President of Russia VLADIMIR PUTIN: Friends, good evening. I am very happy to welcome you all to the Mariinsky Theatre’s new building. The people gathered today don’t just love the arts and know the Russian arts, but also care deeply about their traditions and their financial component, which is highly important since without caring attitude toward every aspect involved in culture, we would likely be unable to expect to see Russian culture’s overall gradual development.
As far as the Mariinsky Theatre is concerned, I probably do not need to say anything here – all of you are well aware that this theatre has always been and remains one of the most important flagships of Russian culture. It is very important to have people in Russia and abroad who traditionally, from year to year, continue to genuinely love and support the Mariinsky Theatre.
Today’s event opens a new stage – not even so much a stage as another full-fledged theatre created on the basis of the Mariinsky – and it coincides with the birthday of Mariinsky Theatre’s maestro and artistic director Valery Gergiev, who has headed the Theatre for 25 years. This is a long period in an individual’s lifetime and a long period for a theatre and its creative team.
“Everything created around the Mariinsky Theatre has become a major cultural and educational centre of a European and global calibre, and naturally, we must take the next, subsequent steps to support it.”
During this time, many great things have happened in the life of the theatre. And I’m sure you will agree with me that Mr Gergiev has been able to maintain the creative team during very difficult times in Russian culture. He was able to maintain the traditions of the Russian operatic arts and the Russian ballet – and he not only maintained them, but also created the conditions for further development. He has proven himself to be more than just an outstanding artistic director; he also turned out to be an outstanding organiser. And today, we are seeing truly great events in Russian culture.
I would like to congratulate you, Mr Gergiev, on your birthday and on today’s event. I would like to thank all of you once again for your careful attitudes toward Russian culture and the theatre. And I suggest that today, before opening the new facility, we talk within this group about the future of the Mariinsky Theatre, discussing what we must do in order for it to continue developing just as successfully as it has been up until now, because when a big new facility like this opens, new problems occur. We need people who will work here, the creative team should be strengthened, and I imagine that we will need a whole new orchestra. This also creates opportunities for training young performers. In essence, this is more than just a theatre; today, everything created around the Mariinsky Theatre has become a major cultural and educational centre of a European and global calibre, and naturally, we must take the next, subsequent steps to support it.
Thank you very much for your attention.