by Diane Malone
3 Dec 2007

valery gergiev

  On Monday, December 3rd, Maestro Valery Gergiev brought the annual “White Nights Gala” to the majestic American Museum of Natural History for an evening of musical celebration. The event celebrated the 225th Anniversary Season of the Mariinsky Theatre and the 200th Anniversary of U.S.-Russian Diplomatic Relations. 
  The event began with a cocktail reception at 6:30 p.m. that was held in the Theodore Roosevelt Rotunda around the towering 100’ tall cast replica of a Barosaurus, one of the rarest dinosaurs and only one of its kind on view anywhere in the world. Among the attendees were Valery Gergiev (artistic director of the White Nights Gala), Selwa “lucky” Roosevelt, Donald M. Kendall, fashion icon Mary Mcfadden, Countess Yoko Nagae Ceschina, James D. Wolfensohn, and Sandy Weill; all supporters of the White Nights Foundation of America.

history museum caroline digonis

  After cocktails, guests made their way to the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life where the concert and dinner took place under a massive model of a 94’ long blue whale.  
  Under the baton of Valery Gergiev, the Kirov Orchestra performed sweepingly beautiful selections of works by Tchaikovsky, Verdi, Saint-Saens, Straus, Wagner and Prokofiev. The audience became enchanted with the orchestrations that Maestro Gergiev brought to life with the twist of his baton. Among the thrilling selections included the Waltz from Sleeping Beauty, Waltz from the Nutcracker, the Montague and Capulets’ from Romeo and Juliet, the overture to Die Fledermaus, and the overture to La forza del destino
  Performers from the Mariinsky Academy for Young Singers, entertained the audience as well. The performers were Alexei Tanovitski, Sergei Semishkur, Ekaterina Semenchuk, and Alexej Markov. All gifted interpreters of dramatic selections.
valery gergiev  Descending the stairs, from the second level, came Ulyana Lopatkina, the principal dancer of the Kirov Ballet. The audience was still as she gracefully performed “The Dying Swan” flawlessly. It was a spectacular piece to watch and the crowd gave her a standing ovation.
  Over 250 guests attended and helped to raise $ 900,000 to support the White Nights Foundation of America. The foundation, formed in 1999, uses the contributions “to support the activities of the Mariinsky Theatre’s constituent institutions: The Kirov Opera, Ballet, and Orchestra and the Academy for Young Singers and the Young Musicians’ Orchestra” according to the White Nights Foundation.
  Valery Gergiev is both the Artistic Director and the Principal Conductor of the Kirov Opera. He became the Artistic and General Director of the Marinsky theatre in 1996.

valery gergiev


All Photos: (c) Caroline P. Digonis 2007