The RUSSIAN OPERA GALA & 9th UK RUSSIAN SONG FESTIVAL was held on 29th April at Cadogan Hall. This event was dedicated to the memory of the Russian opera singers Elena Obraztsova and Dmitri Hvorostovsky, who both greatly inspired the audiences around the world and many international musicians of our time.
ORGANISERS: ASSOCIATION OF RUSSIAN CULTURAL AND EDUCATIONAL ORGANISATIONS EUROLOG UK
WITH SUPPORT FROM:
- The Elena Obraztsova Centre for Opera Singers (Saint Petersburg, Russia),
Director: Irina Chernova. The Centre was established by the famous opera singer more than twenty years ago, and now helps many singers around the world.
- The London School of Russian Language and Literature
- Angliya Russian Newspaper in the UK
- GB RUSSIA/UK – Russia Society
- Pushkin House (London)
The evening began with an exhibition of photographs of both singers in the foyer, kindly lent to us by Elena Obraztsova Centre, our partners from St. Petersburg.
A premiere screening of a moving and profound short film, commissioned by Eurolog UK, and directed by Pavel Soro (Sorofilm), in memory of these great singers, accompanied by the soloist of the Bolshoi Theatre Larisa Rudakova and the British Imperial Orchestra conducted by Dr Graham Jones.
The programme of the Gala consisted of performances by guest singers, amongst them artists such as Vasily Gerello (Mariinsky Theatre) and Larisa Rudakova (Bolshoi Theatre), Mark Stone (ROH) as well as rising stars such as Aigul Akhmetshina (ROH), and Evgeny Kungurov (New Opera), who also presented the evening, together with Maria Veretenina, the winner of the Grand Prix of the previous Russian Song Festival and Contest in 2014.
At the beginning of each part of the Gala these artists performed arias and romances by Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, Rimsky-Korsakov, Mussorgsky, Verdi, Puccini, Bizet and other great composers, accompanied by the orchestra. Many of the performers had chosen arias and romances previously performed by Obraztsova and Hvorostovsky.
A romance, written by Alexander Naumenko especially for Dmitri Hvorostovsky was performed by Mark Stone of the Royal Opera House.
Guest performers were followed by the finalists of the international vocal contest in four categories: classical, Russian romances, folk and modern songs. The musical spectrum of the festival was very broad. The geography of the competition covered sixteen countries, from Russia to the USA.
The panel of judges was headed by the National Artist of Russia – Larisa Gergieva, the Head of the Music Academy at the Mariinsky Theatre. Other well-known judges include Amanda Roocroft, Professor of Vocal Studies at the RCM; Dr. Graham Jones, MBE, the former Royal conductor; the National Artist of Russia, soloist of the Mariinskiy Theatre Vasily Gerello; Larisa Rudakova, Professor at Moscow Conservatoire and Irina Chernova, the Director of the Elena Obraztsova Centre.
OFFICIAL RESULTS OF THE CONTEST:
Polina Zhitlova, Krasnodar, Russia- 9.25- Grand Prix Laureate of the 9th UK RUSSIAN SONG FESTIVAL & CONTEST 2018!
First Prize Winners:
Evgeniy Yuzhin, St. Petersburg, Russia – Classical category;
Sona Gargoloyan, Cyprus – Romance category;
Ilona Krasavtseva, USA – Folk category;
Karina Edwards, UK – young talent;
Choir of Brighton and London, UK – Ensembles category!
There were 7 First Prizes – Gold medals and money prizes as well as a Grand Prix.
SPECAL PRIZES FROM SERJ MEZENAT, MONGOLIYA: “Bravo, Elena!” was awarded to Victoria Pankratova, Holland; “Bravo, Dmitry!” Was awarded to Ivan Slutsky, Russia!
The Elena Obraztsova centre has rewarded the winner of the First prize in the Romance category – Sona Gargoloyan – with the opportunity to perform a solo concert in St. Petersburg.
During the interval there was a welcome reception for guests, performers and VIP ticket holders. A delicious cake was presented by the Sponsor- Galina’s Bakery.
Among the guests there was Florance Hvorostovsky and family, David Jackson, manager and artistic director of the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition, who was looking for new talented singers at the festival. It was after winning at the Cardiff competition in 1989 that Dmitri Hvorostovsky first won world recognition. David Gowland, Director of Young Singer Programme from the Royal Opera House was also present.
We believe that cultural projects such as ours have a special significance, They bring together people of different countries, cultures and generations through music, and commemorate truly historic figures such as Elena Obraztsova and Dmitri Hvorostovsky. We should draw on our cultural projects and our cultural heritage to give true meaning to our lives.