Gergiev takes Mariinsky on tour

Gergiev takes Mariinsky on tour


norman lebrecht

August 12, 2020

Ignoring reports of a high number of Covid infections in his company, Valery Gergiev today took his Mariinsky orchestra on a two-week tour of the Russian regions.

It’s a celebration of the end of the second world war. ‘The choice of places will depend on the epidemiological situation in each specific city,’ the press department said.

Gergiev said: ‘More than 60 regions have hosted the Easter Festival and this is where its strength lies. It starts and ends in Moscow, but covers a huge number of regions where people love music and are waiting for these performances.’

Gergiev has admitted in an interview to ‘2 or 3’ Covid cases at his theatre. Our sources say it could be more than 50, mostly in the ballet.


  • Gregor Tassie says:


    • True North says:

      Why “bravo”? Does this sound like a good idea right now?

      • Vladimir Federov says:

        Gregor Tassie appears to be unaware that there is a DEADLY global pandemic that is just waiting to claim all of our lives the moment we enter a concert hall. The Vienna Philharmonic is now extinct after their non-distanced concert in June.

        • Dennis says:

          I do hope this was meant sarcastically.

          SARS-COV2 is no more deadly than flu (Its IFR is in the same range of a severe flu season) and should be treated as such. It is not even significant enough to rank among the top 10 worst pandemic disease outbreaks in history. Only this one virus has been seized upon and weaponized by media and politicians to manufacture a “crisis” to destroy everything.

          • Nick says:

            Whatever you said here is highly arguable! It is better to be on the safer side until medicine brings the verdict.

        • Mock Mahler says:

          For an “extinct” orchestra, the Vienna Philharmonic played Mahler 6 very effectively on August 8 in Salzburg. (Not that this was a good idea. . . .)

        • Drew Barnard says:

          “… there is a DEADLY global pandemic that is just waiting to claim all of our lives the moment we enter a concert hall.“

          Seriously. This kind of hyperbole just gives fodder to those who want an excuse to react the other way. Of course not everyone who enters a concert hall is at risk for their lives.

    • Kyle says:

      I think there is cause to celebrate that some groups have found ways to responsibly perform with live audiences. But having spent the last number of months working from home while listening to my wife in the next room plan such events for one group in one venue, I am skeptical that a tour in multiple venues could possibly managed the risks appropriately.

      I hope they prove my skepticism unwarranted.

      Mr. Tassie, I have read and enjoyed your books on Kondrashin, Mravinsky and Myaskovsky.

      • Gregor Tassie says:

        An article in The Times on 12 August stated that the flu is more dangerous than Covid-19, perhaps people here should read it. I believe the situation in Russia is not so bad as in some other countries as I understand that many ensembles are beginning to restart planning for concerts. Thank you for reading my books and am glad that you enjoyed them. Stay well.

        • Kyle says:

          It may be true that a given individual, or even most individuals, if given the choice, would be better off with COVID-19 than the flu, though the long-term effects of COVID-19 are unknowable. That seems to be the basis of attempting to create an equivalency. I think most people would prefer neither, which is possible given economic and other sacrifices, a trade-off that naturally must be weighed.

          So, yes, the flu may be more dangerous to an individual. However, in the U.S. COVID-19 deaths exceed average annual flu deaths by about 4 times despite tremendous economic trade-offs, and we have very little idea of how the virus will or will not circulate in the future.

          By that measure, even if COVID-19 is less dangerous to an individual, it is unquestionably more dangerous to the population as a whole.

          Naturally, there is unresolved (unresolvable?) conflict between person rights, freedom, and choice v. the common good. (I think it too extreme to argue that all personal freedom enhances the common good.) It seems to me that acknowledging this root issue is more useful than the less dangerous/more dangerous argument that can easily be spun in either direction.

          I don’t think believing that protecting those person freedoms we have left is more important than protecting as many people as possible makes the believer a bad person. In fact, I acknowledge that the existence of that belief is one of the primary reasons I can tend to disagree.


  • Elizabeth Owen says:

    Apparently it is the Mariinsky ballet who sadly have some Covid 19 sufferers.

  • Gustavo says:

    The super-spreader unleashed.

  • Amos says:

    Perhaps this is the ultimate test for the efficacy of the Sputnik V vaccine phase 3 study.

  • The issue of the tournée will be very important during the next months. I’am afraid that in Europe only the concerts with local orchestras will be done.

  • John Borstlap says:

    Irresponsible & egocentric.

  • Chad Cruft says:

    This will be a mass death event… Putin will undoubtedly be pleased.

  • sam says:

    Hey, in case you haven’t heard Putin announced that Russia invented the first vaccin against Covid 19 (that they swear they did not steal the technology from Oxford).

    All Russians are now immune!

    (Or are guinea pigs, serving as the de facto phase 3 clinical trials for the rest of the world, lol)

  • SaxophonePlayer says:

    putin pappeti with extended shelf-life covid19

  • Le Křenek du jour says:

    Know the difference between Sputnik 2 and Sputnik V?
    Sputnik 2 had Laika aboard.
    Sputnik V has the entire Mariinsky crew aboard.

    Is there a difference between Laika and the Mariinsky crew?
    Regarding their viability aboard their respective Sputniks, we’ll know in a couple of weeks.

    Or maybe we won’t, this being Malinki Iossif Vissarionovich’s Brave New Russia.

  • Vaquero357 says:

    Russians tend to be more fatalistic about things like Covid-19 – maybe because the country’s suffered so much loss and privation over the centuries, like World War II. They tend to be more willing to take risks and tough it out.

    In the West, we’ve generally led safer lives, at least for the last century or so, and we’re more frightened by such things. A lot of Russians look upon Westerners as, well…. pansies.

    Trying to be neutral here – not saying one mindset is better than the other.

  • Dennis says:

    Are these alleged “cases” actually symptomatic people suffering from illness, and if so what degree of severity? or are these among the millions of “cases” that are really just positive test results (unreliable, and indicative perhaps of past infection but not active in absence of symptoms, and bound to rise as we approach herd immunity and mass testing of asymptomatic people continues out of control), that are being reported by hyperventilating media as “Covid cases” (against all normal medical practice, in which you are not a “case” if you are not sick) in order to continue pushing the mass hysteria and phony “crisis” the media so clearly enjoy?

  • Alex says:

    Now they’re crammed on a train touring in Russia!

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      They’re obviously expecting herd immunity, not like many countries where their economies have been trashed in order to save dementia cases in nursing homes. Warehousing your old people comes at a cost. I’m betting that if most of them were coherent they’ll tell you to bugger off with trying to save their lives.

  • Greg Bottini says:

    That’s all that needs be said about this poser and tool of Putin.

  • Nikolai Kapustin says:

    They pack flights with people removing masks every time food/drinks are served in a recycled ventilation limited space, yet when somebody does socially distanced concerts everyone complains. Ekaterinburg Phil has been doing open air concerts for at least a week. Yes, we could wait for years until vaccine is as safe as could possibly be, and administered to enough population to ensure it’s under control (and that will take a while with all the anti-vaxxers/Bill Gates 5G doomsday crowd), problem is there will be no economy neither classical music left. Sometimes you just gotta take risks and they are willing to take them. If in the end it turns out Russian vaccine will prove effective, that’ll literally save the world and eventually keep musicians from becoming plumbers. If not – at least they tried.

  • J.Bond says:

    Superspreader Tour

    If you think the virus is harmless, please go and get it and then close the door and wait.

    Patience is needed. Careful, but not hysteric actions are ok
    Not so difficult
    (I’m not talking about the financial perspective)

  • Alex says:

    They are traveling by train – cooped up is not good.

  • Lars says:

    Just saw this –

    Looks like most of the audience are not in masks nor socially distanced, and the orchestra too…

  • Joss says:

    Humankind has nothing to lose. Reality has always been buzzing with covido-forms whose third eyes are engulfed in intention. Neo-liberalists, throughout history, have been interacting with the universe via super-positions of possibilities. If you have never experienced this osmosis at the speed of light, it can be difficult to vibrate. Child, look within and unify yourself.