The international festival bearing the name of the great impresario Sergei Diaghilev will be held in Perm for the seventh time from 25 May to 2 June 2013.

The festival will again take place in the format introduced in 2012: it has become an annual event and significant changes have taken place in its artistic policy. Like any major international event of this type, the Diaghilev Festival has adopted a resident artists system: guest curators will work with the Artistic Director to draw up the musical and theatrical programmes.

Teodor Currentzis, Artistic Director of the festival:

“We are aiming to compile a programme in the spirit of Sergei Diaghilev, who was always on the lookout for new forms, ideas, and concepts in art. During the past year we have undertaken thorough preparation in the selection of the festival’s events and participants, taking in numerous productions at various European theatres. The events in this year’s Diaghilev Festival will be of interest to any resident of Paris, Berlin, or London. I am also delighted that the people of Perm will be able to see some unique productions, as that was very much Diaghilev’s style.”

The artists in residence for this year’s Diaghilev Festival are the Russian pianist and post-minimalist composer Anton Batagov and the radical Italian director and “outrageous theatrical innovator” Romeo Castellucci. The Diaghilev Festival in Perm will include Romeo Castellucci’s production The Four Seasons Restaurant. Anton Batagov will give a solo concert, the theme of which will be minimalism in the music of the 16th, 17th, and 20th centuries. He will also take part in a Piano Gala.


Teodor Currentzis:

“This year we have the honour of welcoming to the festival one of the most sought-after directors of our time – Romeo Castellucci. The Four Seasons Restaurant, which he will be staging during the Diaghilev Festival, is being performed in Russia for the first time. It is the story of the artist Mark Rothko and his paintings. It is a simply incredible production that uses a wealth of different special effects, including a moving stage. It is magical theatre.”

The 2013 Diaghilev Festival will feature stars of ballet, opera, piano, and instrumental music. Participants include Vladimir Martynov, Polina Osetinskaya, Ulfried Schmidt, Yulianna Avdeeva, Alexei Lubimov, Alexei Goribol, and Andrew Goodwin.

Among the most eagerly anticipated events is the ballet Romeo and Juliet with choreography by Kenneth MacMillan, which will be performed on the opening night of the festival. It will be the first performance of MacMillan’s canonical ballet in Russia, and only the second time that his choreography has been used by Russian ballet companies (the Mariinsky Theatre has also previously staged a MacMillan ballet).

“Our première of Romeo and Juliet with MacMillan’s wonderful choreography is a cocktail incorporating more theatre than dance, with absolutely stunning costumes. A great many theatres in Russia would have liked to stage this production – it is a world classic.”

The festival programme also includes the world première of Through the Broken Glass by Russian composer Vladimir Nikolayev, performed by the MusicAeterna Orchestra under Teodor Currentzis. The fruitful collaboration between the composer and the conductor has been developing for several years: this is not the first time Currentzis has conducted the world première of a new work by Nikolayev. The Russian pianist Alexei Goribol and the Australian tenor Andrew Goodwin, one of the most successful duets on the contemporary concert scene, will perform a special Tribute to Benjamin Britten to mark the centenary of the prominent British composer’s birth.

Other festival events include the Lo Real music and dance performance by Spanish dancer Israel Galván, a concert by British male vocal group The Hilliard Ensemble, who sing European medieval, Renaissance, and baroque music, an acoustic concert by the group Auktyon, the traditional Diaghilev Readings International Symposium, and, of course, the awards ceremony for the Diaghilev Prize, the first professional award given in recent times in Russia for the best production in the field of art and culture. The jury, headed by the legendary reformer of contemporary opera Gerard Mortier, Director of the Teatro Real in Madrid, will announce the winner of the Diaghilev Prize on 26 May.

Festival audiences can enjoy the best of last season’s Perm Ballet premières – Jiří Kylián’s Les Noces and William Forsythe’s The Second Detail. In Russia, these productions can only be seen in Perm. The highlight of the symphonic part of the festival will be a jubilee performance of Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring by the festival orchestra under maestro Currentzis: Stravinsky wrote the work 100 years ago on a commission from Sergei Diaghilev.

25 May–2 June, Perm



Russian Première


  • A ballet in four acts, 13 scenes
  • Composer: Sergei Prokofiev (1891–1953)
  • Choreographer: Kenneth MacMillan (1929–1992)
  • Ballet Masters and Producers: Gary Harris, Karl Burnett
  • Set Designer: Mauro Carosi
  • Costume Designer: Odette Nicoletti
  • Musical Director and Conductor: Teodor Currentzis
  • Performed by artists of the Perm Ballet Company and the MusicAeterna Orchestra

Prokofiev’s immortal music has given rise to a hundred or so ballet interpretations of the world’s most tragic story. Only two of them can be regarded as classics, however – those by Soviet choreographer Leonid Lavrovsky (Kirov State Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet, 1940) and by British choreographer Kenneth MacMillan (Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, 1965). Alexei Miroshnichenko, Artistic Director of the Perm Ballet, determined on the latter when he decided to bring Shakespeare’s tragedy back to Perm.

Kenneth MacMillan was renowned for his inventions of new duet combinations and virtuoso lifts. At the ballet’s première in 1965, Rudolf Nureyev and Margot Fonteyn shone as Romeo and Juliet: they were called back by the audience for 43 curtain calls. In Russia, the only theatre to have tackled MacMillan’s choreography so far has been the Mariinsky, which staged Manon in 2000.

Perm’s production of Romeo and Juliet will be the first time that this legendary ballet has been performed in Russia.

25 May – Tchaikovsky Perm Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre


The Diaghilev Prize is the first international award for producers working in the performing arts. It is awarded for the most outstanding productions staged worldwide during the past year. The prize’s status derives not only from the fact that it is named after the great impresario, but also, to a significant degree, on account of the members of the jury, who are all key figures in contemporary theatre. The jury is headed by legendary opera revolutionary Gerard Mortier, the current Director of the Teatro Real in Madrid.

26 May – Tchaikovsky Perm Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre


Ever since its foundation, the Diaghilev Festival has provided a link between the past and the present. An essential part of the programme has always been the Diaghilev Readings International Symposium, a meeting place for art experts and critics from Russia, the USA, and Europe. The Diaghilev Readings International Symposium is traditionally held in the Diaghilev family home in Perm (now the Diaghilev House Museum) where Sergei Diaghilev spent his childhood and youth, from age 8 to 18. The symposium aims to concentrate international attention on the creative phenomenon that was Diaghilev, to develop his traditions in contemporary culture, and to encourage work by Russian and international art experts, cultural experts, philosophers, and historians whose research is directed towards the comprehensive study of a unique phenomenon of twentieth century culture – Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes.

The opening of Diaghilev Readings 2013 will be marked by a performance of the eighteenth century Italian composer Domenico Cimarosa’s opera buffa Le astuzie femminili by soloists of the Perm Opera Company.

26 May–28 May, Diaghilev House

World Première


  • Composer: Vladimir Nikolayev
  • Musical Director and Conductor: Teodor Currentzis
  • Performed by the MusicAeterna Orchestra

Vladimir Nikolayev and Teodor Currentzis have worked together since 2008, when a project to present endings to Mozart’s Requiem written by leading contemporary composers was featured at the Territory Festival in Moscow. Last year’s Diaghilev Festival in Perm included the première of Gereven, a folk-style cantata which Currentzis commissioned from Vladimir Nikolayev especially for the Perm Opera and Ballet Theatre. This year will see another première by the composer for the Diaghilev Festival – Through the Broken Glass, which Nikolayev classifies as ‘symphonic rock’.

27 May – Tchaikovsky Perm Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre


World Première


  • Anton Batagov
  • Performed by the composer


  • Georgy Peletsis, Vladimir Martynov
  • Performed by Polina Osetinskaya and Vladimir Martynov

Having given up performing in 1997, pianist and composer Anton Batagov returned to the public arena in 2009, though he is now very selective in his concert schedule. During his period of voluntary reclusiveness, he continued to make recordings that were released in limited editions, so he not only retained the status of cult musician, but even consolidated it. Batagov has essentially created a new genre based on Buddhist philosophy and practices, “combining ancient Buddhist texts in their traditional prayerful execution with postmodernist composition technique and the practice of contemporary instrumental music.” Batagov will be one of the resident artists at the Diaghilev Festival 2013 – besides the première of Selected Letters of Sergei Rachmaninoff, he will give a solo concert tracing the development of minimalism in the music of the 16th, 17th, and 20th centuries.

The ‘correspondence’ of two musical greats – the Russian composer Vladimir Martynov and the Latvian Georgy Peletsis – is a work for two pianos created literally ‘by correspondence’. The composers jointly conceived the idea, then wrote each other letters containing the music for new sections that developed and supplemented their original concept. The full list of 14 movements uses only three titles: alternating ‘Peletsis–Martynov’ and ‘Martynov–Peletsis’ sections, and the concluding Postscriptum. At the 2013 Diaghilev Festival, Martynov’s addressee will be represented at the piano by the discerning public’s idol, Polina Osetinskaya.

28 May – Perm Philharmonic Organ Hall


  • One-act ballet
  • Composer: Igor Stravinsky (1882–1971)
  • Choreographer: Jiří Kylián
  • Set Designer: John Macfarlane
  • Musical Director and Conductor: Teodor Currentzis

Performed by artists of the Perm Ballet Company, soloists of the Perm Opera Company, members of the Perm Opera and Ballet Theatre Symphony Orchestra, and the MusicAeterna Orchestra.

The Diaghilev Festival 2013 will feature the Perm Ballet’s best premières of 2012 – Jiří Kylián’s Les Noces and William Forsythe’s The Second Detail, both of which can be seen only in Perm.

Les Noces, with choreography by Jiří Kylián, premièred in Russia in June 2012, and was on the same programme as Petrouchka, choreographed by the American ballet master Nicolo Fonte. In the year marking the 130th anniversary of Igor Stravinsky’s birth, the Perm Opera and Ballet Theatre presented new interpretations of the two landmark 20th-century works, the premières of which were timed to coincide with the great composer’s birthday. In the current season, Les Noces has been performed in tandem with Vladimir Nikolayev’s ballet Gereven, staged by Radu Poklitaru.

In 1982, the première of Les Noces staged by Jiří Kylián, Artistic Director of the Nederlands Dans Theater, caused a sensation. Kylián headed the NDT from 1974 to 1999, and under his direction the Dutch company became one of the leading dance companies in Europe. Until now, the choreographer has not given anyone in Russia permission to stage his production of Les Noces. The very news that Jiří Kylián had allowed his celebrated ballet to be performed in Perm elicited a huge response from critics and ballet lovers, and the success of the première greatly reinforced the reputation of the Perm Ballet Company.

29 May – Tchaikovsky Perm Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre


  • One-act ballet
  • Composer: Thom Willems
  • Choreographer and Designer: William Forsythe
  • Performed by artists of the Perm Ballet Company

William Forsythe – not a pupil of George Balanchine, but a disciple of his who has developed the idea of pure dance in his own way – is a living legend in the ballet world.

He has been called a deconstructivist of academic dance, but companies all over the world regard it as an honour to have his productions in their repertoire. In Russia, only the Mariinsky Theatre (three ballets) and the Bolshoi Theatre (one ballet) have held this right up to now.

Forsythe composed The Second Detail at the height of his Frankfurt period, in the early 1990s. Ballet historians characterize the spirit and style of those years as ‘late classical Forsythe’. To the inventive synthetic beat of the Dutch composer Thom Willems, a regular collaborator of Forsythe, 13 dancers in laconic sky-blue costumes illustrate the choreographer’s favourite device – the sudden generation of movement in various groups of the dance ensemble and their differing contrasts with one another. The Perm production of The Second Detail will be the Russian première of this ballet.

29 May – Tchaikovsky Perm Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre


Music lovers have dubbed Yulianna Avdeeva ‘a demon in evening dress’ and ‘the Russian George Sand’ because of her elegant stage image and temperamental style of playing. After her sensational victory at the prestigious International Chopin Piano Competition in 2010, the young pianist was inundated with offers from New York, Zurich, Tokyo, and other musical capitals. At 27 years old, Avdeeva has already amassed a substantial repertoire: from Bach to 20th-century classics. Without giving preference to any particular period, she displays a versatile mastery of both modern pianos and their baroque predecessors.

29 May, Diaghilev House


Director and Designer: Romeo Castellucci

Provocative Italian director Romeo Castellucci, who combines in his work elements of performance, theatre, art, and post-dramatic theatre, has been invited to the Diaghilev Festival 2013 as a resident, and will present his production The Four Seasons Restaurant (the name of a famous New York restaurant that is considered to be a symbol of Manhattan). Castellucci’s production is based on an excerpt from the biography of the abstract artist Mark Rothko, from whom the fashionable restaurant’s management commissioned several paintings. After initially agreeing, the artist eventually tore up the contract, saying he had no desire to serve the “rich bastards” of New York. This incident provided Romeo Castellucci with the starting point for reflections of a philosophical nature.

30 May, Perm Academic Theatre


The chamber vocal group The Hilliard Ensemble, which is among the world’s leading exponents of early music, consists of four English gentlemen – a countertenor, two tenors, and a baritone. The ensemble takes its name from the British miniature artist Nicholas Hilliard, who lived at the turn of the 17th century and was renowned for his portraits of Queen Elizabeth I and her courtiers. Besides music from the medieval, Renaissance, and baroque periods, the quartet, which was founded in 1974, also performs works by living composers, including Arvo Pärt, Gavin Bryars, Giya Kancheli, and Heinz Holliger.

30 May – Perm Philharmonic Organ Hall


  • Concert to mark the centenary of the great English composer’s birth
  • Performed by Alexei Goribol (piano), Andrew Goodwin (tenor), pupils of the Perm Boys’ Choir Capella

Tenor Andrew Goodwin was born in Australia, studied in Russia at the St. Petersburg Conservatory, and lives in Britain. In his couple of years in Russia’s Cultural Capital, he became a popular member of the St. Petersburg musical milieu, appearing in concerts and in productions of early and contemporary operas. The pianist and Kulturträger Alexei Goribol is a curator who educates the public with refined cultural programmes. It is difficult to imagine a more pleasant accompanist for a performer.

In Perm, Goribol and Goodwin will perform a programme that has been several years in the making. The collaboration between the two musicians actually began with the works of Benjamin Britten.

1 June – Perm Philharmonic Organ Hall


People’s Artist of Russia Alexei Lubimov is an outstanding figure not only in Russia, but in the world of music as a whole. He is a pianist, organist, conductor, and teacher. He is an advocate of authentic performances of 17–19th century compositions and, at the same time, an active promoter of new music. From 1969 to 1974 he headed the ‘Music – 20th Century’ ensemble – the first group in Russia to perform works by Boulez, Stockhausen, Cage, and Riley. He spearheaded and chaired the Department of Historical and Contemporary Performance at the Moscow Conservatory – the first in Russia to offer teaching in period instruments. Since 1998 he has also been a Professor at the Mozarteum University of Salzburg.

1 June – Perm Philharmonic Organ Hall


A music and dance performance

Lo Real, which means ‘the real’ in Spanish, is a ceremony of dance performed by ‘the best flamenco dancer of 2010’ Israel Galván and the no less celebrated dancers Belén Maya and Isabel Bayón. The starting point for the underlying theme of this music and dance performance was the forced migration of European gypsies. Life and death, love and violence – these contrasting themes come together in the production, then float away, like icebergs drifting in the sea.

The passionate dance is accompanied by a guitarist and two singers.

1 June – Perm Grand Philharmonic Hall


Closing of the Diaghilev Festival 2013


Igor Stravinsky, The Rite of Spring (marking the centenary of the first performance of the work)

  • Béla Bartók, Concerto for Orchestra
  • Conductor: Teodor Currentzis

A large symphony orchestra consisting of musicians who already have solo careers is a great challenge, but one that promises a special quality of music if successful. This was the impression that the festival orchestra gave the audience when it closed the Diaghilev Festival in 2012. This year, it has been decided to repeat this exciting undertaking. The final evening of the festival will feature a programme including Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra and Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring. It was exactly 100 years ago that The Rite of Spring shocked the Parisian public during Diaghilev’s Russian Seasons, and in 2013 the whole world is celebrating this anniversary. The concert will be conducted by maestro Teodor Currentzis and the orchestra will consist of successful musicians from Russia and Europe.

2 June – Tchaikovsky Perm Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre

The Concert (Jerome Robbins)


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