Valery Gergiev is a born Prokofiev interpreter’ The Guardian
2016 marks the 125th anniversary of Sergei Prokofiev’s birth and Valery Gergiev is widely regarded as one of the composer’s greatest interpreters. Joined by a fine cast of soloists, Gergiev and the Mariinsky celebrate the great Russian’s genius with a world-first DVD & Blu-ray release of his ‘raw, thrilling and utterly engrossing’ opera, Semyon Kotko.
Based on the novel I, a Son of the Working People by Valentin Katayev, who also wrote the libretto with Prokofiev, the perceived propagandist nature of the story meant its inherent musical quality was initially overlooked. Though not by all, as celebrated pianist Sviatoslav Richter remarked:
‘The premiere of the opera was a momentous event in my life [...] That evening, when I first heard Semyon Kotko, I understood that Prokofiev was a great composer.’
Directed by award-winnning stage director Yuri Alexandrov, and filmed by celebrated Mariinsky director Anna Matison – whose work includes operas by Rimsky-Korsakov, Shchedrin and Berlioz – this staging of Semyon Kotko originated in 1999 and has been celebrated with two key Russian prizes, the Casta Diva and the Golden Mask awards.