Russia’s Mariinsky Orchestra to play concert in Palmyra
Source:The Art Newspaper Author:Sophia Kishkovsky Date: 2016-05-06 Size:
The ruins of ancient Palmyra will serve as the setting for a classical music concert by St. Petersburg’s……

The amphitheater at Palmyra

The ruins of ancient Palmyra will serve as the setting for a classical music concert by St. Petersburg’s Mariinsky Orchestra scheduled for today at 3pm GMT. The concert is led by Valery Gergiev, who is known for his support of President Vladimir Putin’s policies. Peskov says: "Culture figures express their solidarity with those fighting against terrorists."

The concert, titled Prayer for Palmyra: Music Revives Ancient Walls will take place in the amphitheater of the city that was recaptured from Isil militants in March. Syrian President Bashar Assad’s Syrian Army took the city with Russian military support.

Gergiev conducted the orchestra in a performance of Dmitri Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 7 in 2008 in Tskhinvali, South Ossetia, after Russian troops invaded the breakaway region of Georgia. Shostakovich’s symphony first became famous for rallying Russians against the Nazis during the Second World War. Gergiev is the general and artistic director of the Mariinsky Theatre and music director of the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra.

Restoring Palmyra has been a symbolic cornerstone of Russia’s military involvement in Syria. St Petersburg, Russia’s imperial capital and Putin’s native city, has been called the Northern Palmyra for its beauty since the 18th century.

Mikhail Piotrovsky, the general director of the State Hermitage Museum has also been a vocal proponent of Russia’s role in Syria. He has spoken repeatedly of the post-Second World War restoration of St Petersburg, which was then called Leningrad, as a model for restoring Palmyra. The Hermitage has a significant collection of Palmyrene antiquities.

Cultural figures have been playing a central role in Kremlin politics. Putin recently defended the activities of his friend, the cellist Sergei Roldugin, a guest conductor at the Mariinsky, who was identified in the recent Panama Papers leak as the “secret caretaker” of Putin’s wealth. He described Roldugin as a philanthropic businessman who has purchased expensive musical instruments to donate to the Russian state.

Russian state television broadcast reports from Palmyra on preparations for the concert. Cargo for the concert and its live broadcast was delivered under military guard. Russian media reported shortly before the concert began that Piotrovsky and Russia's culture minister Vladimir Medinsky had arrived as part of Russia’s official delegation to Palmyra, and that Roldugin would be performing. Russian military personnel and Syrian schoolchildren could also be seen in the audience for the concert, which was broadcast live on Russian television.

[Editor] 张艳