The evening will begin with an exhibition of photographs of Dmitri Hvorostovsky and Elena Obraztsova in the foyer, kindly donated by Elena Obraztsova Centre, the partners in the project, and will be followed by 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.
“This project is very dear to my heart,” says the organiser of the festival, Olga Bramley, “the focus of the festival on these artists will dominate the mood of the whole evening. Many of the performers have chosen arias and romances performed by Obraztsova and Hvorostovsky. It is quite clear that this project is in great demand and that everybody wants to get involved, the public as well as the artists. The geography of the competition covers fifteen countries, from Russia to the USA.”
The programme of the Gala will consist of performances by star-studded list of singers, amongst them artists such as Vasily Gerello (Mariinsky Theatre) and Larisa Rudakova (Bolshoi Theatre), as well as rising stars such as Aigul Akhmetshina (ROH), Costas Smoridinas (ROH) and Evgeny Kungurov (New Opera), who will also be compere for 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 will perform arias and romances by Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, Rimsky-Korsakov, Mussorgsky, Verdi, Puccini, Bizet and other great composers, accompanied by the orchestra. “We were very lucky to meet Dr Graham Jones last summer when he conducted at the Jubilee Russian Charity Ball organized by EUROLOG UK,” says Olga Bramley. “He is a former Senior Director of Music, Household Division, responsible for the music for Royal occasions, and his brilliant orchestra will provide an amazing accompaniment to our wonderful guest performers.”
Guest performers will be followed by the finalists of the international vocal contest in four categories: classical, Russian romances, folk and modern songs. The main genre of the competition will be classical. “We have received most applications in this category,” explains Olga Bramley, “and we will put through to the final more classical performers than usual. Another wonderful category that brilliantly represents Russian culture is Russian romance, and the music covers the period from the eighteenth century to the present day. The musical spectrum of the festival is very broad. And when we talk about modern music at our festival it is not rock, but mainly golden hits of the twentieth century, such as songs by Isaak Dunaevsky, Georgy Sviridov.”