The 26th edition of the White Nights festival in St. Petersburg will begin on May 26th. A musical event that will last until July 23rd in the Russian city. That is to say, practically two months in which classical music, opera or ballet will make that the illuminated nights of these latitudes pass very fast.
24-hour light on the Baltic
The official name of this festival “Stars of White Nights” refers to the Midnight Sun, a natural phenomenon due to the latitude of the city of Saint Petersburg. There, at the end of spring, days begin to lengthen enormously, until there is a moment when sunset merges with dawn, making the city shine at any moment of the day or the almost inexistent night.
The Mariisnky Theater
The passion for music and dance in Slavic lands, and specifically in Russia, is well known. In any city or town of the country, a theater becomes a true cultural reference for the entire population. And these theaters and auditoriums are transformed into true national temples in the great Russian cities, where they not only programme concerts and performances continuously, but also have their own companies, symphonic orchestras and ballets that never stop creating first-class shows.
Well, that is the case of the prestigious Mariinsky Theater in Saint Petersburg, an institution dating back to the year 1860. This theater and its famous ballet Kirov have been producing musical programs for decades without stopping, always counting on the support of the city. For that reason, in 1993, they decided to thank Saint Petersburg and its inhabitants by giving them this festival, which has grown exponentially since that moment, and, 25 editions later, is one of the most recognizable musical events on the planet.
The White Nights of Saint Petersburg in 2017
Each year the festival grows a little more, and for this occasion has a program in which are planned more than 160 concerts and performances featuring the great figures of the international scene, whether conductors, opera singers, famous musicians or world-class dancers and choreographers.
Many of these figures try every year for Saint Petersburg and its White Nights to appear on their international tour calendar. In addition, the Russian city of the canals is also the place chosen to celebrate the premieres. For example, this year the premieres of the operas Adriana Lecouvreur with Anna Netrebco, or the King of the Chess of Alexander Tchaikowsky will take place here.
More stars in the White Nights
Along with these opera news, there will be evenings in which the music of classic compositions will be heard, but reinterpreted by great voices of the bel canto such as Macbeth by Plácido Domingo, Don Quixote by Ferruccio Furlanetto or the singer Ekaterina Gubanova doubling her performance in two recognizable operas such as Nabucco and Tristan and Isolde.
This in terms of opera performances, but Mariinsky’s programming in the coming months also includes dance and ballet, with spectacular montages of classics such as Swan Lake, Giselle or the Nutcracker, as well as expected premieres and choreographies.
The honorees in 2017
This year, among all the names of composers that appear in the program of the White Nights, two achieve a special importance. One of them will be the musician Rodion Shchedrin, which will represent several of his operas as Anna Karenina or The little humpbacked horse. And all this to commemorate the 85th anniversary of his birth.
Trip to St. Petersburg
A journey to St. Petersburg is always a good option. There awaits us the channels by which is obliged to make a small cruise to contemplate the incredible palaces of the empire’s capital of the czars or the great orthodox temples. There is also one of the most exciting museums in the world: the Hermitage. Not to mention another museum full of exclusivity such as the Fabergé Museum. An exclusivity that can then be extended during a shopping trip on the elegant and lively Nevsky Avenue.
You can visit these attractions and many others throughout the year, although it is true that going on winter dates is only advisable for the bravest and the less cold-nature. Now the weather is tempered considerably, the sunlight does not disappear, and great music sounds uninterrupted. For these reasons, from Horse we suggest you to make a trip to Saint Petersburg and discover its White Nights.
Translated by: Raquel Sanchez