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.
The name of Victor Fedotov, an outstanding Russian conductor, Professor,
People’s Artist of Russia, is well known among the music-lovers all over the
world. The life and work of this brilliant conductor is bound to the Mariinsky
Theatre in St-Petersburg.
In 1963 the young conductor, a winner of All-Union Competition, made his debut
at the Theatre 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.
Since 1964 he toured in USA and Canada with the Metropo-litan-Opera orchestra;
he ap-peared with Mariinsky orchestra in Australia, Great Britain, Aus-tria,
Germany, Spain, Korea, Japan and other countries.
Since 1966, he regularly worked in the Royal Covent Garden Theatre in London. In
1967, he staged “Evgeny On-egin” by Tchaikovsky in Germany with the Dresden
Staads Or-chestra. At the same time, he gave numerous symphony concerts and
conducted the new versions of “Romeo and Juliet” and “The Swan Lake” in
Victor Fedotov’s repertoire included more than 60 operas and ballets.
New productions of “Ivan Susanin” by Mikhail Glinka and “Tzar’s Bride” by
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov under his conductorship, as well as “Boris Godunov” by
Mussorgsky that for the first time in its history was performed in the original
version, became great musical events. This opera was performed in Stokholm
during a tour to Sweden of the whole company of the Mariinsky Theatre.
"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. At that time, Maestro Fedotov was
the Principal conductor of the Mariinsky Theatre.
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 was one of the leading conductors of the Theatre and the art
director of all main ballet productions; all ballet stars of the Mariinsky
Theatre always felt greates respect and affection towards this outstanding
musician, and together they made more than a 30 years’ epoche in the history of
Andrei Petrov, a famous composer and the author of the ballet “Creation of the
World”, wrote about his work with 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... it sounds very theatrically and expressively".
Among the premieres staged under his directorship are works by contemporary
composers: “Left-hander” by B.Alexandrov, “Angara” by A.Eshpay, “Hamlet” by
N.Tchervinsky, “The Villain and the devil” by V.Kladnizky, opera “Interven-tion”
by V.Uspensky, “Pathetic Oratorio” by G.Sviridov, “Leningrad Symphony” by
D.Shos-takovich, “Cinderella” by S.Prokofiev, “Notre Dame de Paris” by M.Jarre
On the Lenfilm Studio, more than 30 films were made with the music recorded by
Leningrad Symphony Orchestra conducted by Victor Fedotov; among them - “Marriage
in Malinovka”, “Farewell to St.Petersburg”, “Green coach", "Snowgirl", "Silver
strings", "Snow Queen", "The farewell debut", “The Swan Lake”…
Maestro Fedotov’s more than thirty years long partnership with the Leningrad
Philharmony made a special chapter of his creative life. He gave dozens of
concerts in the Great Hall of the Leningrad Philharmony with the two world
famous Philharmony orchestras, collaborated with most eminent soloists and
composers, made lots of recordings.
As a symphonic conductor, Victor Fedotov toured with Covent Garden Theatre
orchestra, London Symphony and London Philharmony orchestras, Orchestra of the
Vienna Theatre, Liceo of Barcelona, Gewandhaus and MDR in Leipzig, Bratislava
and Brno Symphony Orchestras, Japanese orchestras - NHK, Tokyo Symphony...
Since 1972, Victor Fedotov was a professor of of opera and symphony conducting
at the St. Petersburg Conservatoire, gave master classes in Russia and abroad.
Appart from Mariinsky Theatre, he worked with many important theatres such as
Royal Stokholm Theatre (since 1994) Royal Covent Garden Theatre in London and
Grand Opera in Paris (since 1995) New National Opera in Tokyo (since 1996) as a
long term guest conductor.
Since 1996, he was a member of the Petrovskaya (Peter) Aca-demy of Arts and
In 1998, he got the Evening Standard award for
outstanding achievements in classical music performing Peter
Tchaikovsky (1840 - 1893), a great Russian composer, is probably one of the most
ingenious musicians in the world’s musical history.
He studied at the St. Petersburg Conservatoire; later, was a professor of the
newly founded Moscow Conservatoire where he was invited by Nikolai Rubistein.
Later, he spent a lot of time abroad (mostly in Italy, Switzerland). After 1885,
Tchaikovsky lived in Russia (in various country homes near Klin, outside of
Moscow; later, he bought a country house in Klin itself, which became his last
refuge). During those last years, he appeared as a conductor a lot; made several
concert tours in Europe and USA, performing his compositions with a great
success. In 1892, he was elected a corresponding member of Paris Academie des
Beaux-Arts; in June 1893, he accepted an honorary doctorate from the University
Tchaikovsky’s heritage is quite impressive. He is the author of numerous operas,
6 symphonies and other orchestral works, concerti, compositions for piano and
chamber ensembles, romances; an important part of his work - three ballets (“The
Swan Lake”, “The Sleeping Beauty” and “Nutcracker”) all three be-came extremely
po-pular. Tchaikovsky made a real revolution in the ballet art, reforming the
traditional divertisement type of ballet and turning it into a true musical
“The Sleeping Beauty” was composed by a commission of the Imperor Theatres
director Ivan Vsevolozhsky; Vsevolozhsky and Maurice Petipa were the authors of
the libretto (based on the fairy tale by Charles Perrot). The premiere took
place on January 3rd, 1890 in the Mariinsky Theatre in St.Petersburg.
In a magical kingdom, a Princess named Aurora is born. King Florestan calls for
a grand christening celebration to which all the fairies of the kingdom are
invited. As the fairies are granting gifts of grace, beauty, generosity, song
and temperament, they are suddenly interrupted by the arrival of wicked fairy,
Carabosse; the Master of ceremonies, Catalabute, forgot to invite her in midst
of the excitement. He begs to forgive him. With spite and rage, Carabosse tears
out his hair and throws it to the rats that are harnessed in her cart; the rats
devour it. Then she declares her curse on Princess Aurora: she will one day
prick her finger and die. Lilac Fairy casts another spell saying that she will
only fall asleep and that she will be awoken after a hundred years by the kiss
of a prince. The King orders that all sharp objects should be kept out of the
kingdom so Aurora could not hurt herself.
Aurora has grown up. On her twentieth birthday, peasant women come to decorate
the palace and garden, using neddles and pins; Catalabute, who discovers it,
reads an old edicte and sends them to prison. The King and Queen enter the
scene, accompanied by the four princes - suitors for Princess Aurora. They
decide not to spoil the Princess’s birthday, so poor women are forgiven.
Aurora appears to dance with the princes; suddenly, she notices an old woman in
the midst of the crowd holding a spindle. She clutches it and pricks her finger;
Aurora rushes about in panic and finally faints away. Carabosse reveals herself
in triumph; four princes rush to her with their swords, but she vanishes. At the
same moment, Lilac Fairy appears. She consoles the King and the Queen; Aurora is
carried inside the palace. The Lilac Fairy casts a spell on the entire family
and court to fall asleep. A magic forest grows around the palace.
One hundred years later, Prince Desire is out hunting with his companions. They
entertain themselves, dancing and playing blind-man`s-buff. Afterwards, the
Prince sends them away and remains alone. Lilac Fairy appears; she calls a
vision of Aurora, and the Prince is entranced by her beauty. He pleads with
Lilac Fairy to bring him to see Princess Aurora. The Fairy leads him to the
castle to rescue the beautiful Princess in her magic boat.
Inside the castle, every-thing is covered with dust. Aurora is in her bedroom,
sleeping on a bed under a ca-nope; the King and the Queen are sleeping in
armchairs near by, surrounded by their courtiers. Prince Desire enters, kisses
Aurora, and the spell is broken. Everybody wake up.
Prince Desire and Princess Aurora’s wedding. The guests arrive, among them -
fairytale characters: Puss in Boots accopanied by a White Cat, Little Red Riding
Hood and the Wolf, Cinderella and Prince Fortune, Blueburd and Princess Florina,
Tom Thumb and his brothers, and others. The Lilac Fairy bless the newly-weds.