The Mariinsky Theatre Trust is grateful to BP for its ten-year support of the Mariinsky UK touring programme. This partnership builds on the strong relationship already established between BP Russia and the Mariinsky Theatre in St Petersburg and forms part of BP's cultural programme in the UK.

The Mariinsky Theatre Trust

Friends of the Kirov Opera was launched in autumn 1993 by Valery Gergiev, Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the Kirov Opera in St Petersburg. It aims were to assist the work of the Kirov Opera, by raising funds towards the cost of new opera productions, refurbishment of existing productions and the maintenance and renovation of the Company’s home, the historic Mariinsky Theatre.

In November 1994, Valery Gergiev and the Kirov Opera gave a performance of Rimsky-Korsakov’s opera The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh at the Barbican Hall. The performance, which was an enormous success, was presented by the Friends of the Kirov Opera to celebrate its first anniversary. The Independent on Sunday described it as the “absolute best” concert of the year and the event raised enough money for us to purchase an entire new trombone section for the Kirov Orchestra.

October 1995 saw the return of 230 members of the company to the Royal Albert Hall, in a semi-staged gala performance of Borodin’s Prince Igor. Attended by the audience of 5000, in the presence of HRH The Prince of Wales, the spectacle was heralded as “one of the highlights of the year” by Times and raised over £150,000 to support new projects of the Kirov Opera and Mariinsky Theatre.

Following the success of the Prince Igor gala, the Chaliapin Fund was created, which continues to help young singers and artists.

In October 1996 Friends of the Kirov presented Valery Gergiev and the Kirov Orchestra in the Barbican Hall, London.  Moscow Narodny Bank sponsored the event. At the Kirov Opera’s UK performances, the Kirov Orchestra was singled out for special praise, and their London debut in symphonic repertoire was long overdue. We were delighted that Trust was once again able to break new ground through working such a project.

In November 1997 Friends of the Kirov Opera presented the full Kirov Opera in a Royal Gala performance of Boris Godunov at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London conducted by Valery Gergiev and sponsored by Salomon Brothers and Moscow Narodny Bank. The evening was an artistic and financial success and raised over £200,000 for the Kirov Company.

The generous support of Friends of the Kirov Opera sponsored a new production of La forza del destino premiered on 7 July 1998 at the Mariinsky Theatre. Verdi’s masterpiece was presented in its original St Petersburg version of 1862, conducted by Valery Gergiev and featured internationally-acclaimed opera director, Elijah Moshinsky.

In addition to the Kirov’s tour of the UK and Northern Ireland in June 1999, in September 1999 the full Kirov Opera gave a performance Parsifal at the Royal Albert Hall. This was the first time Valery Gergiev and the full Kirov had performed a full-length Wagner opera and was part of Gergiev’s vision to revive Wagner at the Mariinsky Theatre.

Following the successful activities of the charity for its first six years, in 1999 we extended our activities to support the legendary Kirov Ballet.

12 June – 15 July 2000 Kryukov Productions Ltd, in association with Friends of he Kirov Opera & Ballet, presented both the Kirov Opera and Ballet in a successful season at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. This was the largest Russian Season in London for nearly a century and the first joint Kirov Ballet and Opera residency outside Russia.

In 2001 Friends of the Kirov Opera and Ballet sponsored a new production of Rimsky Korsakov’s The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh, premiered at Mariinsky Theatre in January 2001.

The Kirov Opera and Ballet appeared again at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in June and July 2001 for a major season.

At the end of 2001 the Charity changed its name from Friends of the Kirov Opera and Ballet to the Mariinsky Theatre Trust. When the Friends were launched in 1993, the Theatre had only recently regained its imperial title, Mariinsky, and this name was relatively unknown outside Russia. As the Companies became better known under the Soviet “Kirov”, this name was used, as recognition of “Kirov” was central to fundraising activities. However, over time “Mariinsky” has become more familiar and it was felt that it was time that the charity was known by the current name of the Theatre. 

On 28 & 29 May 2002 we presented Mariinsky companies at the Royal Opera House, for two special performances. These were the first international performances to launch the 300th year of the founding of St Petersburg on 27 May 1703. Both performances received great acclaim.

In 2002 the Mariinsky Theatre Trust sponsored the Mariinsky Theatre’s new production of Eugene Onegin. The premiere of this new production, conducted by Valery Gergiev and directed by Patrice Courier and Moshe Leiser took place in St Petersburg on 14 August 2002. The new Onegin was a major production in the Petersburg 2003 tercentenary celebrations, and already toured to major international opera theatres.

In 2003 the Mariinsky Theatre Trust sponsored two new productions of one-act ballets: The Rite of Spring and Etudes, both premiered in April 2003 by the Kirov Ballet at the Mariinsky Theatre.

2003 was the 300th anniversary of the founding of St Petersburg, and was a time of very special celebrations for the Mariinsky Theatre. The ‘Stars of the White Nights’ Festival ran for three months throughout May, June and July, with a mixture of prestigious visiting companies and performances by the Mariinsky.

Following a devastating fire at the Mariinsky Theatre’s scenery store on 5 September 2003, the Mariinsky Theatre Trust launched a fund raising appeal to rebuild lost sets. The appeal received a magnificent response.

On 7 November 2004 the Mariinsky Theatre Trust brought the Mariinsky Orchestra to London Coliseum for a concert in memory of the tragedy in Beslan, North Ossetia. Violinist Nikolaj Znaider and Dmitry Hvorostovsky, baritone, joined Valery Gergiev and the Orchestra in this memorable concert in the presence of HRH The Prince of Wales. The concert was broadcast on BBC2 on 13th November.  The funds raised from the concert were used to help and support the people of Beslan and North Ossetia through the Mariinsky Theatre’s programme for the Caucasus.

In 2005 the Mariinsky Theatre Trust celebrated 10 years of the Trust’s activities in the UK. The Mariinsky Orchestra and soloists gave three concerts at the Barbican, including a performance of the Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh, which marked the 10th anniversary. (The first major presentation was a legendary concert performance of this opera in 1994 at the Barbican Hall. This was the first London performance by the complete Kirov Opera.)

Among the Mariinsky’s many performances in Europe and elsewhere in the world, there was the Ballet’s residency at the new Wales Millennium Centre, 19-30 April 2005. This was the first time ever that a major international classical dance company had appeared in Wales.

There was a three-week residency of the Mariinsky Opera & Ballet at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, 18 July-6 August 2005.

In 2006 the Mariinsky Theatre Trust sponsored a new production of Benjamin Britten’s The Turn of the Screw premiered on 17 April 2006 at the Mariinsky Theatre by the Mariinsky Opera. This production forms part of the ‘new face’ of artistic endeavour at the Mariinsky. It is the first ever Britten opera performed at the Mariinsky and is a truly Anglo-Russian enterprise as the production team are all British.

From 20 to 29 July 2006 the Mariinsky Theatre Trust presented the Mariinsky (Kirov) Opera and Ballet in Shostakovich on Stage, a centenary festival of performances of staged works by Dmitry Shostakovich. The range of works presented works which had either not been seen in the UK or very seldom and displayed an exuberant, comic, witty and irreverent side to Shostakovich. Works included the operas: The Nose, Moscow Cheryomushki, Katerina Ismaylova; and the ballets: Leningrad Symphony, The Bedbug, The Young Lady and the Hooligan and The Golden Age. The festival featured Mariinsky stars Uliana Lopatkina and Igor Zelensky amongst others. The season was generously supported by: Peter Moores Foundation; Access Industries; White Nights Foundation of America; Scottish & Newcastle; Renaissance Capital; Sistema JSFC; Yoko Ceschina; Marriott; Classic FM; Government of the Russian Federation.

In November-December 2006 the Mariinsky’s only UK staging of its spectacular Ring Cycle was presented by the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff, in association with the Trust.  Valery Gergiev brought all the forces of the Mariinsky Opera Company to perform a single Cycle, the first complete Russian Ring since the Mariinsky’s pre-revolutionary staging of 1913.

In December 2006 there were three concerts of Shostakovich symphonies performed by the Mariinsky Orchestra as part of the Complete Cycle of Shostakovich Symphonies at the Barbican Hall, presented by the Barbican in association with the Trust.

In 2008 the Mariinsky Theatre Trust sponsored the new production of Wagner’s Der fliegende Holländer, premiered on 25 February 2008 at the Mariinsky Theatre by the Mariinsky Opera. This Anglo-Russian enterprise had a production team which included British professionals.

In 2008 the Trust also supported the appearance of the international artists during the 8th International Mariinsky Ballet Festival (13-23 March 2008) at the Mariinsky Theatre.

The Mariinsky Opera, a resident company during the 2008 Edinburgh International Festival, was presented by the Mariinsky Theatre Trust in association with the Festival, performing Rachmaninov’s Aleko and part of Prokofiev’s Semyon Kotko at Usher Hall, and Szymanowski’s King Roger and Shchedrin’s Enchanted Wanderer at the Festival Theatre.

In October 2008 the Mariinsky opera and ballet companies had their debut residency at Sadler’s Wells, presented by the Mariinsky Theatre Trust in association with Sadler’s Wells, in a programme of Forsythe ballets and a programme of ballets by Balanchine and Ratmansky. The Mariinsky opera also gave two performances of Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Tale of Tsar Saltan in what was the centenary year of his death.

From 30 January – 1 February 2009 the Mariinsky Theatre Trust, in association with the Barbican Centre, presented the Mariinsky Opera in Tchaikovsky’s Queen of Spades, Anton Rubinstein’s opera The Demon and the UK premiere of Alexander Smelkov’s The Brothers Karamazov, and at the Barbican Hall.

There was a residency of the Mariinsky Opera & Ballet at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, 29 July – 15 August 2009 when Wagner’s Ring Cycle was presented on four consecutive nights and there was a two week season of ballet including Romeo & Juliet, Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty and An Homage to Balanchine.

From 9 October–18 October 2009 the Mariinsky Theatre Trust presented the Opera, Chorus and Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre in a UK tour. The Mariinsky Opera and Valery Gergiev returned to the Wales Millennium Centre, 9-11 October 2009 for a weekend of performances that was one of the highlights of the Centre’s Fifth Anniversary celebrations this autumn. World-renowned bass baritone Bryn Terfel joined the Mariinsky for the Verdi Requiem and a concert performance of Die Walkure Act III, part of a specially created Opera Gala Concert. The third concert in the Mariinsky residency was a unique opportunity to hear Tchaikovsky’s complete Nutcracker and Iolanta performed together in one programme, as originally conceived for their 1892 world premiere at the Mariinsky Theatre. A unique collaboration brought together the CBSO and Chorus with the Mariinsky Orchestra and Chorus for two performances in one of the world’s great concert halls, Birmingham’s Symphony Hall. Berlioz’s Requiem and Prokofiev’s Cantata are rarely performed because of the huge forces involved but on October 14 and 15 Valery Gergiev, the Mariinsky and CBSO gave UK audiences two chances to hear both works performed together in one roof-raising concert! In Belfast Valery Gergiev and the Mariinsky gave the prestigious opening concert of the 2009 Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queens. This concert included a landmark – the first professional performance of Shostakovich’s Leningrad Symphony in Northern Ireland. Dutilleux’s Correspondences was also performed. For the closing concert of its tour, the Mariinsky Orchestra returned to Glasgow’s Royal Concert Hall, (LeningradSymphony and Correspondences), which launched 2009/2010 International Classical Season.

In October 2010 the Trust created a fund raising evening, A Gala Recital by Young Singers of the Mariinsky Theatre, held at Drapers’ Hall in the City of London. This was the tenth event of this type and featured two talented young singers from the Mariinsky Academy.

On 31 July and 15 August 2011 the Mariinsky performed at the BBC Prom Concerts at the Royal Albert Hall, London. The Chorus of the Mariinsky Theatre joined forces with the BBC Philharmonic for an all-Rachmaninov programme, featuring The Bells, conducted by Gianandrea Noseda. The Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre gave a complete concert performance of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake conducted by Valery Gergiev.

On 1, 2 and 3 September 2011 the Mariinsky Opera, conducted by Valery Gergiev, gave staged performances of Richard Strauss’s Die Frau ohne Schatten at the Edinburgh International Festival to capacity audiences. On the opening night of the performances Maestro Gergiev was appointed Honorary President of Edinburgh International Festival.

In February 2012 the Trust created a fund raising evening, A Gala Recital by Young Singers of the Mariinsky Theatre, held at Drapers’ Hall in the City of London. This was the eleventh event of this type and featured two talented young singers from the Mariinsky Academy.

From 31 March to 6 April 2012 the Mariinsky Theatre Trust presented the Opera, Chorus and Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre in a UK tour. The Mariinsky and Valery Gergiev returned to the Wales Millennium Centre (Cardiff) on 31 March and 1 April for two performances: Wagner’s Parsifal (concert version) and Mahler’s Symphony No 8 ‘Symphony of a Thousand’ when the Mariinsky was joined by the BBC National Chorus of Wales, and a children’s choir Only Kids Aloud brought together by Tim Rhys-Evans (Only Men Aloud). At the Barbican Centre (London) a performance of Parsifal (concert version) was complemented by Verdi’s Requiem featuring Olga Bordina and Ildar Abdrazakov, and was broadcast live on BBC Radio 3. The closing performance of the tour on 6 April, Good Friday, was Parsifal (concert version) at Symphony Hall (Birmingham).

On 30, 31 August and 1 September 2012 the Mariinsky Ballet gave four performances of Sergei Prokofiev’s Cinderella at the Edinburgh International Festival to capacity audiences. These performances were presented by the Edinburgh International Festival in association with the Mariinsky Theatre Trust. With choreography by Alexei Ratmansky, the performances were conducted by Valery Gergiev. The company’s principal dancers Diana Vishneva, Ekaterina Osmolkina, Igor Kolb and Alexander Sergeyev performed the roles of Cinderella and the Prince.

In March 2013 the Trust created a fund raising evening, A Gala Recital by Young Singers of the Mariinsky Theatre, held at Drapers’ Hall in the City of London. This was the twelfth event of this type and featured three talented young singers from the Mariinsky Academy.

On 4 November 2013 the Stradivarius Ensemble of the Mariinsky Theatre, conducted by Valery Gergiev, gave a concert of Grieg, Strauss and Shostakovich at Milton Court Concert Hall, one of London’s newest venues located within Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Twenty three Mariinsky musicians played on historic instruments by Stradavari, Amati, Guarneri amongst others.

On 19 February 2014 the Brass Ensemble of the Mariinsky Theatre, gave a concert at Milton Court Concert Hall, with a programme including arrangements of pieces by Rimsky-Korsakov, Mussorgsky and Bizet/Shchedrin. They repeated this programme on 20 February in the Dora Stoutzker Hall at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff. After the performance the sixteen Mariinsky musicians gave coaching sessions to brass and percussion students of the College during the afternoon.

On 20 March 2014 the Wind Quintet of the Mariinsky Theatre, gave a concert at Milton Court Concert Hall, with a programme including pieces by Taffanel, Ligeti, Milhaud and Mozart. They performed a shorter version of this programme on 21 March in the Dora Stoutzker Hall at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff. After the performance the musicians gave coaching sessions to students of wind instruments of the College during the afternoon.

In March 2014 the Trust created a fund raising evening, A Gala Recital by Young Singers of the Mariinsky Theatre, held at Drapers’ Hall in the City of London. This was the thirteenth event of this type and featured three talented young singers from the Mariinsky Academy.

On 28, 29 and 30 August 2014 the Mariinsky Opera, conducted by Valery Gergiev, gave staged performances of Hector Berlioz’s Les Troyens at the Edinburgh International Festival to capacity audiences.

From 2 to 9 November 2014 the Trust presented the Mariinsky Opera in a UK tour. The tour opened with a concert performance of Prokofiev’s Betrothal in a Monastery at Wales Millennium Centre, moving to the Barbican Hall in London to perform in concert Musorgsky’s Boris Godunov, and to give the UK premiere of Rodion Shchedrin’s The Left Hander (Levsha), a work extensively orchestrated and a dramatic tour de force. Directly after the London performances the Opera then resided in Birmingham to give staged performances of Wagner’s Ring Cycle at Birmingham Hippodrome. Concurrently with the main tour the Mariinsky Chorus gave concerts of Rachmaninov Vespers and Russian orthodox sacred choral works at Milton Court (London), Llandaff Cathedral (Cardiff) and Town Hall (Birmingham). In addition the Mariinsky Stradivarius Ensemble performed Elgar, R. Strauss and Tchaikovsky at Town Hall (Birmingham).

In March 2015 the Trust created a further fund raising evening, A Gala Recital by Young Singers of the Mariinsky Theatre, held at Drapers’ Hall in the City of London. This was the fourteenth event of this type and featured three young singers from the Mariinsky Academy.

In October 2015 the Trust presented the Mariinsky Orchestra conducted by Valery Gergiev in two concerts showcasing winners of the 2015 XV International Tchaikovsky Competition. The competition, held in July 2015, judged by an illustrious international panel, was in the 175th anniversary year of Tchaikovsky. The concert at Cadogan Hall, London on 26th October featured Andrei Ionu? Ioni??, (cello), Yulia Matochkina (mezzo-soprano), Ariunbaatar Ganbaatar, (baritone) (Grand Prix winner), and Dmitry Masleev (piano).  The concert at Symphony Hall, Birmingham on 28th October featured Lucas Debargue (piano), Ariunbaatar Ganbaatar (baritone), Clara-Jumi Kang (violin), George Li (piano), Yulia Matochkina (mezzo-soprano) and Alexander Ramm (cello).

In April 2016 the Trust presented the Mariinsky Ballet in a residency at Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff. Two programmes were performed: Five Tangos / Infra / In the Night and Concert DSCH / Sacre. The Orchestra of the Mariinsky joined the ballet for the second programme and was conducted by Valery Gergiev. The orchestra also gave a performance of Peter and the Wolf conducted and narrated by Valery Gergiev. Following the Cardiff performances, the Ballet returned to St Petersburg and the Mariinsky Orchestra then gave a concert performance of the complete ballet score of Prokofiev’s Romeo & Juliet at Cadogan Hall.

On 15th August 2016 the Mariinsky Opera, conducted by Valery Gergiev, appeared at the Edinburgh International Festival giving a concert performance of Wagner’s Das Rheingold at the Usher Hall. Mariinsky opera singers were joined by Vitalij Kowaljow as Wotan.

On 26-28th September 2016 the Trust presented the Mariinsky Orchestra at Cadogan Hall, London in The Complete Cycle of Prokofiev Symphonies which was in celebration of the 125th anniversary of the composer’s birth. In addition to the complete cycle of seven symphonies, conducted by Valery Gergiev, the Orchestra were joined by violinist Kristof Barati to perform the two violin concerti, and by cellist Alexander Ramm to perform the Sinfonia Concertante.

The Mariinsky Ballet gave a three-week residency at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, in July and August 2017.

The Mariinsky Orchestra and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra joined forces in a concert on 23 August 2017 at the Usher Hall as part of the Edinburgh International Festival.

Through the Trust the Mariinsky Orchestra and Chorus performed a concert on 3 September 2017 at the Royal Albert Hall as part of the BBC Proms 2017 with a programme marking the centenary of the Russian revolution.

The Mariinsky Orchestra visited the UK in October 2017 to perform a series of concerts as part of a UK tour created by the Trust. The concerts took place at Cadogan Hall (London), Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama (Cardiff), Ulster Hall (Belfast) (as part of the Belfast International Arts Festival), and Symphony Hall (Birmingham). As part of the visit to the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama an educational masterclass was given to students at the College.

A further fund-raising event, A Gala Recital by Young Singers of the Mariinsky Theatre, the fifteenth of its kind, was held at Goldsmiths’ Hall in the City of London on 23 November 2017.

On 5 November 2018 the Trust presented the Mariinsky Orchestra at Cadogan Hall, London in an Homage to Tchaikovsky and Petipa. In this concert the Mariinsky Orchestra under Artistic Director Valery Gergiev gave a performance of the late Tchaikovsky Symphony No 5 in E minor complemented by excerpts from Tchaikovsky’s much-loved ballet The Sleeping Beauty, associated with the choreographer, Marius Petipa, and St Petersburg.

A further fund-raising event, A Gala Recital by Young Singers of the Mariinsky Theatre, the sixteenth of its kind, was held at Goldsmiths’ Hall in the City of London on 13 November 2018.

On 4 & 5 March 2019 the Trust presented the Mariinsky Orchestra at Cadogan Hall, London in a continuation of an Homage to Tchaikovsky and Petipa. In these concerts the Mariinsky Orchestra under Artistic Director Valery Gergiev gave performances of late Tchaikovsky symphonies paired with music from Tchaikovsky’s best-loved ballets associated with the choreographer, Marius Petipa, and St Petersburg. The Symphonies were No 4 in F minor, and No 6 in B minor Pathétique, complemented by excerpts from Swan Lake and The Nutcracker.


Past sponsorships of major new Mariinsky Theatre productions

Year         Production or event

1997        La forza del destino

2001        The Invisible City of Kitezh

2002        Eugene Onegin

2003        Etudes

2003        The Rite of Spring

2004        Ariadne auf Naxos (made possible by a donation from the Clore-Duffield Foundation)

2006        The Turn of the Screw

2008        Der fliegende Holländer

2009        Der Ring des Nibelungen

2014        War & Peace  (made possible by support from BP plc)

2014        Les Troyens  (made possible by support from BP plc)



Xander Parish OBE


Xander Parish has been supported by the Mariinsky Theatre Trust at the Mariinsky Ballet since 2010. From that that time his career developed consistently until his promotion in July 2017 to the role of Principal Dancer.

He was awarded an OBE in the 2019 New Year’s Honours List for services to dance and UK/Russia cultural relations.





The Mariinsky Theatre Trust is particularly grateful to BP for its nine-year support of the Mariinsky UK touring programme. This partnership builds on the strong relationship already established between BP Russia and the Mariinsky Theatre in St Petersburg and forms part of BP’s cultural programme in the UK.