Valery Gergiev
(c) Cami/LSO/Alberto Venzago

Russian Mariinsky Orchestra played the inaugural concerts at the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra). The center, located in the eastern city of Dhahran, is to become a cultural hub for the Saudi Kingdom.

This was the first time the famed orchestra has ever performed in the kingdom, according to the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and oil giant Saudi Aramco, which helped organize the concert.

King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra)

« Ithra is a major initiative aimed at spreading creativity and knowledge, building cultural bridges with the world, and promoting a lifestyle in line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, » RDIF said in a statement, adding that « the development of arts and culture is one of the cornerstones of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, led by HRH Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The program considers culture indispensable to the quality of life of Saudi people and aims to bring the best of world art and culture to Saudi Arabia. »

The Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra, conducted by Valery Gergiev on June 16 and by Lorenz Nasturica-Herschcowici on June 17, played Sergei Prokofiev’s Symphony No.1 and Edvard Grieg’s Holberg Suite, excerpts from Antonio Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No.5, and Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker ballet, and arias from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s The Magic Flute, Giacomo Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi and Giuseppe Verdi’s Rigoletto.

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