President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, friends, ladies and gentlemen.
It is a great pleasure to welcome the members of the Board of Trustees and to thank you for the valuable support you give to the theatre’s projects. The Mariinsky Theatre is famous for its extensive touring, concert and educational activities not only in Russia, but all around the world.
These projects are celebrated for their high artistic value, substance and organisation, and I believe this success is due to the work of the Board of Trustees, and also our friends from other countries, whose efforts deserve our special attention and our special thanks.
I would like to make special mention of the people who help the Easter Festival. I remember when, back in 2002, Mr Gergiev first came to me with this idea, it seemed so usual, even trivial at first; but, of course, it has now turned into a significant event of our cultural life. This festival is iconic for all cultural and social life in Russia.
The festival, which encompasses, without exaggeration, the entire county, even its most faraway places, revives interest in the real great arts and gives a large number of people, young people first of all, an opportunity to connect with the classics, with the musical legacy. It truly serves as an example of one of the most successful and popular initiatives of recent decades.
I am especially glad to note – and I thank the board chaired by Valery Gergiev for this especially – the heavy load assumed by the board. People fly across the entire country, and I do not even know when they sleep: they probably sleep on the planes. They travel to the farthest reaches of the Russian Federation. Let me remind you that it is the largest country in the world and it is not that simple to reach some places.
Everyday conditions are also rather difficult, but this elite group does not object, but just works with the country and its people.
I would also like to single out the Mariinsky Theatre’s grant project, which is dedicated to helping young artists, first of all, as part of the Open Stage project.
It is dedicated to helping young and talented professionals, such as actors, directors and artists, to fulfil their most daring dreams and search for new forms.
This is the special mission of the Mariinsky Theatre: to discover and foster talents. Mr Georgiyev has told us about his orchestra in its renewed form. Today it is surely one of the best orchestras in the world. This is the result of working with young people.
A glance at the theatre’s repertoire is enough to realise that, despite the succession of generations, we are not losing our traditions but, in fact, building on them.
Ladies and gentlemen, we met two years ago. Over the years, the Mariinsky Theatre and its head, Maestro Gergiev, have done an enormous amount of work, and not just creative work.
Audiences and art lovers were able to thoroughly appreciate the merits of the Mariinsky Theatre’s new building in St Petersburg, while the company can take advantage of the extensive production opportunities of the modern stage.
The Primorye branch is also operating successfully, and it is all thanks to the Mariinsky Theatre. It is a new step toward taking full advantage, in the positive sense, of our regions. The repertoire keeps expanding, as does the touring schedule and cultural contacts with Asia-Pacific countries.
The world’s leading ensembles and performers plan performances in the Russian Far East, including as part of the Mariinsky Far Eastern Festival.
The Mariinsky’s branch in Vladikavkaz has launched a creative season this year.
As to the Far East and the city of Vladivostok in particular, Maestro Gergiev suggested two more projects there – building a modern concert hall with good acoustics, a large one at that, like the hall you have built here at the Mariinsky Theatre. Secondly, to set up an educational centre there that would train professionals for music theatres on site – musicians, ballet dancers, artists, and everything that a music theatre may need.
I still do not know about the funding sources or the final estimate, but let me assure you that we will take care of everything. And we will try to do so in the shortest possible time.
I have only one request of you and members of your trade regarding training staff, regarding the training level. This level should be high, on par with Russia’s capital cities.
It is clear that technical support is required, these people will need good living conditions there, and we are also going to do that. Guaranteed. And we will do it as soon as possible.
Of course, the Mariinsky Theatre’s achievements and plans are best described by its head. And I am pleased to give the floor to Mr Gergiev.