The 19th International Conservatory Week Festival will be held from 19th October to 2nd November at the St. Petersburg Conservatory and other top concert venues around the city. The festival was established in 2001, and has been the only one of its kind ever since in the music world. In 2019, St. Petersburg will become home to many young musicians and established professors from 18 music schools in 16 countries.
This international music forum comprises a concert section and a research section. Special programmes of the International Conservatory Week Festival will commemorate significant events in the history of Russian and world music culture, including the UK-Russia Year of Music and the Year of Theatre in Russia. On October 20, the Mariinsky Theatre Concert Hall will host the Russian premiere of the opera Where the Wild Things Are by the British composer Oliver Knussen.
The opera is based on the book of the same name, written by the American author and artist Maurice Sendak. Published in 1963, this book instantly became a classic of children's literature in the United States, and a year later it was recognized as the best picture book worldwide. In the late 1970s, on commission from Brussels National Opera, Maurice Sendak, together with Oliver Knussen, composed an opera libretto and designed costumes and sets for the production.
The production of this fantasy opera will be presented by the composer's compatriots: Rhian Lois (soprano), Claire Barnett-Jones (mezzo-soprano), Robin Bailey (tenor), Nicholas Morris (baritone), Benedict Nelson (baritone), Thomas Bennett (bass), and the Shadwell Opera Symphony Orchestra, whose members are students and graduates of higher music schools in the UK. Finnegan Downie Dear, an ardent proponent of contemporary music, will be on the conductor’s podium, while Jack Furness will be the director.
The premiere of the Opera is held as part of the UK-Russia Year of Music 2019 with the support of the British Embassy in Moscow and the British Council.