President Vladimir Putin: Dear friends,
Allow me to offer you my most sincere congratulations on the anniversary of the legendary Mariinsky Theatre, a theatre rightfully seen as St Petersburg’s cradle of Russian musical culture.
There are many theatres in this world, but we know very well that the Mariinsky is unique. Not only because it is more than 200 years old, but also because over all these years it has been an authentic yardstick for the highest standards in art. The Mariinsky has its part to play and its own niche in the world. It broadens the horizons of world art and spreads our country’s renown abroad.
This theatre has indeed played an immense part in shaping the destiny of Russian art, not only embodying the finest traditions in Russian opera and ballet but also becoming a recognised vocal and choreographic school. Most importantly, however, the theatre has always generously and to the utmost shared the full wealth of its skill and mastery with audiences and with other theatres and performers.
The theatre has always had esteem for the classics and has created the environment of noble ideals and aspirations and irreproachable artistic taste that are always so vital to society.
These walls preserve the memory of great singers and choreographers, of their artistic triumphs and outstanding success.
They made truly selfless dedication the Mariinsky’s main vocation. True to your founders, your theatre preserves and continues these traditions, while at the same time never failing to demonstrate the amazing feeling for the times and irreproachable sense of style that are the hallmark of only genuine art.
We all know how many Russian opera and ballet stars were born within the walls of this theatre, and their time at the Mariisnky became for each of them an important stage that forever shaped the good fortune of their artistic careers. No matter where their careers took them, the Mariinsky always remained their home, and a very demanding home too.
The state today places great importance on preserving our country’s cultural heritage. This heritage unquestionably includes the Bolshoi Theatre and the Mariinsky Theatre.
I am pleased to say that this year, funding for the Mariinsky will come to more than 1.5 billion roubles, which is practically the same as the funding for the Bolshoi Theatre. We have increased funding by 700 million all in one go this year. The Presidential Grant for your performers will be increased 1.5-fold.
The theatre’s historic stage is due to undergo full-scale reconstruction in 2010–2011 in a project estimated to cost around 3 billion roubles.
This is no small sum, but we are very much aware that all of this money pales beside the Mariinsky Theatre’s immense contribution to our country’s great and multiethnic culture. For our part, we will make every effort to ensure that the reconstruction project is carried out in worthy fashion.
Your theatre’s renown has reached far beyond Russia’s borders. This is only natural; after all, true art has no need to be translated and knows no borders.
May your creative quests, talent and genuine desire to serve our country and the greatness of its art be just as boundless.
Once more, I congratulate you on this anniversary and I wish you success and new and wonderful achievements.
Thank you for your attention.