“Glory to the generation of creators, to those who preserve the Beauty in
this world, the Beauty the can and must help to save the spiritual world of the
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 Mermaid by Dargomyzhsky, 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 marvelous 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 Vinogradov and other prominent ballet-masters.
During his work at the theatre the conductor's repertoire totaled over 60
classical operas and ballets. He performed all ballets by Tchaikovsky and
Prokofiev, ballets by Glazunov, Minkus, Asafiev, Glier, Shostakovich,
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 Tokyo and many others.
Victor Fedotov appeared also as a symphonic conductor. Since 1965 he played with
the world-famous Leningrad Philharmony Orchestra (Evgeny Mravinsky's orchestra),
Royal Orchestra of Covent Garden in London, London Symphony Orchestra, London
Philharmony Orchestra, Orchestra of the Vienna Theatre, Liceo of Barcelona,
Gewandhaus in Leipzig, Japanese NHK, Tokyo Philharmony Orchestra and many
others. Every year he participated in the important music festival Music Spring
in Leningrad 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 appraised 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 Telegraph 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. Sunday 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. Julia Makhalina, a famous ballerina and a star of the Mariinsky
Theater, said: “I will always admire Maestro Fedotov. I dance under his musical
directorship since 14; I am sure that all performances he conducts are always
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)
Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 1998, he got the Evening Standard award for
outstanding achievements in classical music performing. One of the small planets
of the Solar System was called “Fedotov” in his honor.
Ludwig Minkus (Aloisius Ludwig, 1827 - 1907) was a violinist and a composer.
Born in Vienna, he spent most of his life in Russia. Worked in several
orchestras (including the Bolshoi Theater orchestra in Moscow), was a professor
of the Moscow Conservatoire since its foundation until 1872. Since 1872, he
occupied the official post of a “ballet music composer of the State Emperor's
Don Quixote was staged by Marius Petipa in 1862 in Bolshoi Theater in Moscow and
later in St.Petersburg. 50 years later, Alexander Gorsky made a new version.
Many eminent dancers and ballet masters took part in the ballet’s history,
changing, adding, staging new scenes etc.
The music that was written by Minkus, gave life to a wonderful chef-d'euvre of
the Russian ballet art. The libretto, based upon the immortal creation of
Cervantes, lacks its origin's wisdom and deepness, but the ballet proved to be
brilliant and doesn't leave the stage for 150 years; became famous everywhere in
A ballet by Ludwig Minkus
Don Quixote, who is a great lover of tales of chivalry, decides to set off on
his travels in order to achieve great feats, which will bring glory to his name.
As his sword-bearer, he chooses the loyal Sancho Panza.
A street festival in Barcelona, in front of the tavern kept by Lorenzo. Kitri,
daughter of the innkeeper, is flirting with Basil, the barber, who is in love
with her. Finding them together Lorenzo, Kitri's father, chases Basil away: the
barber isn't a good match for his daughter. Lorenzo intends Kitri to marry
Gamache, a rich nobleman.
Everybody greet the torero, Espada, and a street dancer. Don Quixote appears in
the square, accompanied by Sancho Panza. Lorenzo invites Don Quixote into the
inn. Sancho Panza is left in the square. But when young people in street deride
Sancho, Don Quixote immediately hurries to his sword bearer's rescue.
Don Quixote is astonished by the beauty of Lorenzo's daughter, Kitri. In his
mind, she becomes Dulcinea, "the lady of his heart". But Kitri disappears. She
has run off with Basil. Lorenzo, Gamache and Don Quixote set out to look for
Kitri and Basil are hiding in a gypsy's camp. Near to the gypsies, a group of
vagrant actors prepare for their show. Soon, Don Quixote appears. He watches the
puppet show, and, led away by the visions of chivalry tales, rushes to the
rescue of the theater shows’ heroes. The theater, the decorations and the
puppets are destroyed. After that, he catches the sight of the windmills that
are seen in the neighborhood and mistakes them for evil magicians. He rushes to
Don Quixote, wounded after falling from a windmill, is in the forest,
accompanied by Sancho Panza. He falls asleep. In his dreams, Don Quixote sees
Dulcinea surrounded by dryads and fairies.
In a tavern, the young people are dancing, Kitri and Basil among them. Suddenly
they are found by Lorenzo and Gamache. Lorenzo wishes to make an immediate
announcement of the betrothal of Kitri and Gamache. But Basil, by agreement with
Kitri, pretends to take his life. Kitri begs Don Quixote to persuade her father
to bless her love with her dying sweetheart. As soon as Lorenzo does that and
agrees to their marriage, Basil jumps to his feet. There is no point in his
pretending to be dead any longer.
At Kitri and Basil's wedding, Don Quixote occupies a place of honor. He wishes
the young couple happiness and sets off to his travels again.
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. Petersburg 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 Borodin's opera
Prince Igor, and wrote down the first movement of his Third Symphony.
Two Concert Waltzes were composed in 1893-94. This was the time of a fresh
upsurge of the composers' activity after a crisis in 1890-91. At the same time,
several important works were written, including the 3d and the 4th symphonies.
In the waltzes, Glazunov develops the tradition of this genre that descends from
Mikhail Glinka's Waltz-Fantasy.