"It is in the
boundless devotion to music that I find the purpose of my life"
The name of Victor Fedotov, an outstanding Russian conductor, one of the most
eminent figures in the Russian culture, is well known among the music-lovers all
over the world. The People's Artist of Russia, Professor Victor Fedotov is a
brilliant representative of the St-Petersburg school.
Victor Fedotov was educated at St. Petersburg Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatoire,
where he studied under Professor Ilya Musin. He graduated from the Orchestra
Department in 1956 and the Department of Opera and Symphony Conducting in 1963.
As a student, he already served as a conductor at the Conservatoire Opera
Studio, performing The Mermaide by Dargomyzh-sky, Evgeny Onegin and Queen of
Spades by Tchaikovsky and many others.
Since 1953 Victor Fedotov worked in the Mariinsky Orchestra as a member-artist.
In 1963 he made his debut there as a conductor with Carmen by Bizet. He
performed it by heart, without the scores; since then, maestro Fedotov kept the
tradition of conducting by heart during all his career.
All his artistic life was bound with the Mariinsky Theatre. An excellently
educated musician, possessing phenomenal memory and marvellous capacity for
work, he soon became one of the leading conductors of the Mariinsky Theatre. In
1964 together with Konstantin Sergeyev he took part in staging of the new
version of Sergei Prokofiev's ballet Cinderella. Later he worked with Natalia
Kasatkina, Vladimir Vasiliev, Oleg Vinog-radov and other prominent
During his work at the theatre the conductor's repertoire totalled over 60
classical operas and ballets. He performed all ballets by Tchaikovsky and
Prokofiev, ballets by Glazunov, Minkus, Asafiev, Glier, Shosta-kovich,
Khachaturian, Petrov, other composers. His opera repertoire included works by
Glinka, Tchaikovsky, Mussorgsky, Bizet, Wagner, Verdi, Rimsky-Korsakov, Shebalin,
Since 1964 he started touring abroad. His first tour was with the Mariinsky
Theatre to the USA and Canada. Later on, he toured as a guest conductor and
musical director of new performances in major opera houses of the world. Since
1966, he regularly worked in the Royal Covent Garden Theatre in London. In 1967,
he staged Evgeny Onegin by Tchaikovsky in Germany with the Dresden Staads
Orchestra and famous singers Vladimir Atlantov, Boris Shtokolov and Irina
Bogacheva as soloists.
He performed in the Metropolitan-Opera, Grand Opera, Royal Theatre in Sweden,
New State National Theatre in To-kyo and many others.
Victor Fedotov appeared also as a symphonic conductor. Since 1965 he played with
the world-famous Leningrad Philhar-mony Orchestra (Evgeny Mravinsky's
orchestra), Royal Orchestra of Covent Garden in London, London Symphony Or-chestra,
London Philharmony Orchestra, Orchestra of the Vienna Theatre, Liceo of
Barcelona, Gewandhaus in Leipzig, Japa-nese NHK, Tokyo Philharmony Orchestra and
many others. Every year he participated in the important music festival Music
Spring in Lenigrad and did a lot to revive an imperial theatre tradition of
symphony nights in Mariinsky. In 1973, a symphony concert commemorating Sergei
Rachmaninov's centenary was held on the initiative of Victor Fedotov and under
He made lots of recordings for CDs, radio and TV in Russia and abroad.
His interpretations were highly apprais-ed by the press. "For the connoisseur of
Tchaikovsky the opportunity to hear how the score of the Sleeping Beauty was
read by Victor Fedotov represents pleasure both extremely rare and really
fascinating", a Daily Telepraph critic wrote. "The Orchestra under Victor
Fedotov with his precise and broad gesture, has transferred with a rare
transparency all the charm of music by Rimsky-Korsakov", the Powery-ecko
newspaper observed in 1974. Sundy Telegraph wrote that "…a great skill of the
conductor Victor Fedotov in possession of the orchestra and his amazing
consolation with the musicians… became a practical lesson, how to conduct…"
Maestro Fedotov prepared and staged quite a number of contemporary performances,
many of them were world premieres. The composers he worked with paid a high
tribute to his professionalism, his enthusiasm in work. Andrei Petrov, a famous
composer, wrote about Victor Fedotov: "I had an opportunity to value many
remarkable qualities of this conductor… he always works very enthusiastically…
besides, he has a gift of "seeing" the music, not only hearing it; even during
the proof rehearsals, it sounds for him very theatrically and expressively".
Andrei Petrov's ballet Creation of the World, one of the most popular Russian
ballets in the end of the century, was staged under the directorship of Maestro
Fedotov in 1971.
Victor Fedotov was a professor of St. Petersburg Conservatoire, gave master
classes in Russia and abroad. Many of his pupils work successfully at musical
theatres and symphony orchestras all over the world.
Victor Fedotov worked for Lenfilm Film Studio. With his participation, music for
dozens of films of various cinema genres was recorded. In 1993 the film director
Oleg Yeryshev made a film dedicated to Victor Fedotov and his children -
talented musicians Polina and Maxim Fedotovs ("I live within Music, it is by
Music that I live" - the Fedotovs").
He was awarded the highest in Russia honorary title for artists: People's Artist
of Russian Federation. Since 1996, he was a member of the Petrovskaya (Peter)
Aca-demy of Arts and Sciences. In 1998, he got the Evening Standard award for
outstanding achievements in classical music performing.
Alexander Glazunov (1865 - 1936) is one of the most eminent Russian composers, a
brilliant symphonist and melodist, the author of numerous symphonic and
instrumental works. He was the favorite pupil of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov; on the
other hand, in his symphonic compositions, he became a successor of Tchaikovsky.
For many years, Glazunov was the director of the St. Petesburg Conservatoire
(later turned into Petrograd and then to Leningrad Conservatoire). He had a
phenomenal musical memory; using his unique abilities, he (together with
Rimsky-Korsakov) undertook the great task of finishing Alexander Boro-din's
opera Prince Igor, and wrote down the first movement of his Third Symphony.
Raymonda is one of the most popular works by Glazunov. It was first performed on
the stage of Mariinsky Theatre in St. Peters-burg on January 7th, 1898. Marius
Petipa, the great French balletmaster, was the choreographer.
The libretto, based on the medieval legend, was written by L. Pashkova. Despite
of the trivial story, the ballet became one of the most beautiful chef d'euvres
of the Russian ballet music.
Glazunov’s work with Petipa proved to be very fruitful. Petipa went in every
detail, discussing every bar, dictating his will; Glazunov followed his
instructions, changing, shortening, adapting the music to the needs of the
scene. But the composer himself acknowledged that this was useful not only for
the ballet, but also to all his future symphonic works. "I had to fulfil the
wishes of the balletmaster…, but these iron fetters concealed the best school
for developing the sense of the symphonic form", Glazunov recalled later.
Raymonda was staged on the scenes of many major Russian theaters; for more than
a century, it remains one of the most popular Russian ballets.
In a rich medieval castle, Raymonda's birthday is celebrated. The herald
announ-ces the arrival of noble guests. Rene de Brien, a Hungarian knight,
enters. He asks Raymonda to marry his son, Jean de Brien, and presents a
beautiful gobelin with his portrait on it.
A new guest rushes into the hall - Saracen Sheikh Abderakhman. He falls in love
with Raymonda, can't take his eyes off her. Abde-rakman wants to make her his
wife at any expense.
The celebration goes on until the evening. When everybody leave and Raymonda is
alone, she sits in an armchair and falls asleep. She dreams of Jean de Brien.
The young knight takes her in his arms and brings to his castle.
Suddenly, the castle disappears, and Ray-monda sees a Saracen tent. Abderakhman
takes the place of Jean de Brien. He pursues her. Raymonda is scared; horrified,
she loses her strength and faints.
When she awakes, she can't understand where she is. She sees the little
blackamoors - young Arabian slaves presented to her by Abderakhman and remembers
her nightmare. But when the ray of sun falls on the gobelin with Jeans de
Brien's portrait, she realises that it was just a dream.
In the castle yard, Raymonda awaits for her fiancee. Abderakhman appears again,
declaring his love, proposing to Raymonda and promising her power and wealth.
When she refuses, he tries to kidnap her, but at this moment Jean de Brien
appears and challenges him to a duel. The two men fight, and Jean de Brien wins.
Abderakhman is killed.
Jean de Brien marries Raymonda, their wedding is celebrated with great splendor.