As reported by IRNA’s music correspondent, Rahbari’s performance transpired on Friday evening, May 19, at 7 p.m. local time, within the hallowed halls of the illustrious Mariinsky Opera House in St. Petersburg.
The concert, a tribute to the memory of the eminent Russian composer Igor Stravinsky, featured no soloist, with the entire program expertly conducted by Ali Rahbari. The repertoire included Stravinsky’s Suites No. 1 and 2, “The Firebird,” and “Petrushka.”
Born in June 1882 in the Lomonosov region near St. Petersburg, Stravinsky was the third child in his family and spent his entire childhood in the city. His father was a singer at the Royal Opera of St. Petersburg, while his mother was a pianist from a young age. The family resided in close proximity to the St. Petersburg Opera concert venue, allowing Stravinsky to attend all of his father’s performances.
Many art connoisseurs regard Stravinsky as the most significant composer of the 20th century. He showcased his prodigious talent and genius with the composition of “The Firebird,” which catapulted him to global fame. Stravinsky then crafted “Petrushka,” his second indelible masterpiece, which garnered even greater acclaim.
In the previous year, Ali Rahbari was invited by the renowned Russian conductor and director of the Mariinsky Opera House, Valery Gergiev, to St. Petersburg to conduct two celebrated Russian works: Dmitri Dmitriyevich Shostakovich’s “Symphony No. 5” and Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Scheherazade.”
Following this concert, Gergiev and the Mariinsky Symphony Orchestra elected to permanently appoint Rahbari as the guest conductor of the Mariinsky Opera Symphony Orchestra. The artistic director of the Mariinsky Opera House ultimately named Rahbari as the permanent conductor of the opera in July of the same year. At Gergiev’s behest, it was decided that 12 distinct concerts would be held each artistic season, spotlighting works by both Western and Eastern composers.
Throughout his tenure, Ali Rahbari has conducted numerous works, garnering accolades from both audiences and the media. To commemorate the first anniversary of Gergiev’s invitation to the Mariinsky Opera House, several concerts have been planned. Rahbari conducted the Mariinsky Opera Symphony Orchestra on May 19, and as with all his concerts, the performance was recorded for broadcast on Russian television. Rahbari is slated to take the stage once more with another program on June 4.
Boasting three opera halls, multiple concert halls, over 400 orchestra musicians, and 250 choir singers, the Mariinsky Opera House is considered the largest music ensemble in the world.