W, Giant steppes ;

With both the Kirov Opera and the St , Petersburg Philharmonic performing in Edinburgh this week, Trevor Johnston assesses a great Russian musical tradition in turmoil.

inspirational standards they've achieved

in their successful CDs and videos for Philips Classics. showcasing the superlative soprano Galina


lfthe Kirov will be playing to their

undoubted strengths. the two concerts by the St Petersburg Philharmonic

" - display the relative widening of their

' repertoire since the mercurial Yuri Termikanov succeeded the legendary

disciplinarian Yevgeny Mravinsky in

_ Mariss .lansons: ilamboyant ; be the case: quite simply. these musicians and singers go for it as if

. their very lives depend on it. Here

While the continuing political and economic uncertainty that has dogged their homeland in recent years shows little sign of going away. these days your chances of seeing the magnificent St Petersburg Philharmonic and the Kirov Opera company of the Maryinsky theatre actually playing in the same city at the same time are almost as high abroad as they are in their home town.

Touring. for both these organisations. has become a basic fact of life. given the virtual collapse of the state subsidy that maintained them for decades under the old Soviet regime and the lure of hard foreign currency. For the performers. this means a gruelling travel schedule. which. you would imagine, might result in a diminution of ; standards. but the opposite appears to


Margarita 3


Back In the 60s, Village Voice writer liichard Goldstein beautifully described iiico’s velvet tones as being “like a cello getting up in the morning’. What he would make oi Margarita Pracatan we can only guess. A bassoon having its ieet tickled? A soprano sax subjected to a controlled explosion by the bomb squad?

The Cuban-born cabaret perionner has broadcast her own show on Manhattan’s Public Access iietwork tor the past iour years, and was seized upon by Clive Jellies like nothing since the sadistic Japanese game show Endurance- which isn’t necessarily a compliment, whatever the resulting exposure. For ten weeks, irorn behind an electronic keyboard with the cheesiest oi backing tracks, Pracatan cieeed Jenna’s l‘l’V show with her own inimitable takes on such sacred cows as ‘I Will Survive’ and ‘I Want To ilold

you'll find a special kind of Russian

soul to match the passion and yearning

! in the music of their homeland that they P perform with unique emotional authority.

The visit ofthe full Kirov company is

: enough tojustify the existence ofthe Festival Theatre in itself. Although the

concert performance of Glinka‘s Russ/an And Ludmilla promises a treat for Russophiles. the major event of

' their Edinburgh sojoum is the only

chance in the UK this year to see their

2 fully staged and justly renowned

traditional productions of two magical

Rimsky-Korsakov operas. The Legend A Of The Invisible City Of K itezh and

Sadko. Under Artistic Director and

{ Principal Conductor Valery Gergiev,

this will be a chance for lucky ticket- holders to sample in person the


Your iiand’ (including the ‘I get high’ line that Bob Dylan believed he heard

the post of Music Director back in

W88. While his rather flashy colleague

Mariss Jansons will be on the podium for their first of their two concerts.

combining Dvorak's sunny .S'ymphony

No 8 and highlights from Prokofiev's Romeo And Juliet. it's the ever— fascinating Termikanov‘s appearance with the orchestra two nights later which offers an even more enticing prospect. , Russ/an And l.udmilla (Festival) Kirov ()pera. Usher Hall. 225 5756. I7Aug. 7pm. [.5—[25

The Legend ()f'l‘he Invisible City Of Kitezh (Festival) Kirov Opera. Edinburgh festival Theatre. 225 5756. I8 and 1‘) Aug. 630an £5—£45. Sad/(o (l'estival) Kirov Opera.

lidinhurgh Festival Theatre. 225 5756. . 2/ and 22 Aug. 6.30pm. £5—f45.

. St P'let'slmrg Philharmonic Ore/lestra 1 (Festival) Usher Hall. 225 5756. 20

and 22 Aug. 8pm. £5--£25.

Galina (iort'llttkova (Festival) Queen 's 1 Hall. 2255756. 28 Aug. llanl.

(«l—[l 4. 50.

5 branding herseli on the consciousness ; oi a nation. An exotic, exuberant and

Margarita Pracatan: big hair, big heart

. underwear-fitter and indelibly

in "'0 8009. thou!" ""8 may hallo irrepressible riot oi hair and ieather mom t0 ‘0 With "8 PMWII’S ; boas, the ‘incurably happy’ chanteuse "COW": P'Dflllllflaflon than POP i is already on her way to pop icon culture trivia)- ; status. (Alastair Mabbott)

‘I measure hees DEEIB-A-lEEiiG!’ she ; squealed excitedly. explaining how ; Margarita Pracatan (Fringe) Palladium she lost her job as a gents’ 1 (Venue 26) 556 6969, 20 and 22Aug, l 7m, £7.50 (£6. 50).


There’s raw meat tor the culture vultures this week, with plenty oi

3 musical delicacies.

Galina Gorchakova I St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra ()ne of the world's most

celebrated orchestras. the St Petersburgh Phil has coaxed superlatives from the critics. Here. they

present Prokofiev‘s Romeo And Juliet and Dvorak's Symphony No 8 in (I.

St Petersburg Phil/ulrmonie ()rehestra (Festival) Usher Hall. 225 5756. 20

Aug. 8pm. £5--£25.

7 I Boys 0i The Lough Long-established

Festival favourites. Aly Haiti and the

I Boys have as their guests this year

= leading Gaelic singer Flora MacNeill and her daughter Maggie. adding a

Hebridean dimension to their lrish.

Scottish and Northumhrian synthesis. , Boys 0] The [.oug/l (Fringe). Queen 's 2 Hall (Venue 72) 668 20/9. 18-20 Aug. E 7.30pm. £8.50 (£7.50).

; I iiank Wangiord England‘s favourite ' cowpoke takes up residence with his

; health and happiness show.

T Hank 's Health and Happiness Show

(Fringe) Mansfield l’lal‘e Chureh

(Venue 90) 557 8330. I8 Aug-2 Sept.

7.30pm. £8 (£6). I Robert Mazurek Quintet Saxman

Eric Alexanderjoins this hard-driving

Chicago outfit for their remaining

j dates. Absolute Blues: Jazz. Chicago Style

(Fringe) Tron la;~ Cellar (Venue 9) 667 9390. 18-26 Aug (not Tues). 8pm. [8—20. 25—26 Aug. 2pm. [5.

I Acoustic Music Centre Apart from the hundreds of mainly folk and roots music shows. the two basement bars.

with food till late, function as informal

venues. with weekend sessions. midweek cabaret and open stage. and free weekend lunchtime sessions and song with Jim Knight

Acoustic Music Centre ( Venue 25) 220 2462. until 2 Sept. 8pm—lam. free before 8pm. £2 thereafter. fl .S'undays. I Sadko The only chance for British opera-goers to see the stunning 275- member Russian company perform Rimsky-Korsakov's fairy tale.

Sad/(o (Festival) Kirov Opera. Edinburgh Festival Theatre. 225 5756. 2] and 22 Aug. 6.30pm, £5—£45.

72 The List 18-24 Aug 1995