ED2011 News

EIF to announce new Honorary President

By | Published on Thursday 1 September 2011

Valery Gergiev

Edinburgh International Festival Director Jonathan Mills will tonight officially announce Russian conductor and opera company director Valery Gergiev as the new Honorary President of the festival. Gergiev succeeds Charles Mackerras, who died last July, in the honorary role, and is only the third person to be awarded the title.

Mills will confirm the appointment ahead of a performance of the opera ‘Die Frau ohne Schatten’ by Gergiev’s company, the Saint Petersburg based Mariinsky Theatre, at the Festival Theatre tonight. It is just the latest of a string of appearances by Gergiev at the EIF, he having first appeared when his company, then known as the Kirov Opera, performed ‘Khovanshchina’ in 1991.

Confirming Gergiev’s appointment as Honorary Director, Mills told ThreeWeeks: “Valery Gergiev has brought the Festival many outstanding performances with the Mariinsky Opera, London Symphony Orchestra and Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and is hugely popular with Festival audiences. In honour of his dedication and enthusiasm for the Festival, and because his artistic values parallel those of the Edinburgh International Festival, I am very proud to announce Valery Gergiev as the Festival’s Honorary President, and we are delighted that he has accepted this position. Not only is he a superb talent, he is a truly international figure and a great humanitarian”.

Mills continued: “I am certain that the Mariinsky Opera’s stunning production of Strauss’s epic ‘Die Frau ohne Schatten’ will move and entertain audiences. The opera continues till Saturday and there are still a very few tickets remaining. I urge everyone to get along and enjoy this wonderfully sung, spectacularly staged, huge production. The Festival very much looks forward to continuing and developing our relationship with Valery Gergiev into the future”.

Gergiev himself added: “I am delighted to be named as Honorary President of the Edinburgh International Festival Society. I can easily celebrate my 20 years with the Edinburgh International Festival, it is a wonderful place to visit. We artists come here with a tremendous sense of responsibility and excitement. I very much hope that the Festival continues to thrive and flourish and I am very privileged to be part of its future”.

While most of Edinburgh’s other summer festivals have now wound down, the International Festival continues through to Sunday, when the city’s festival month climaxes with the Virgin Money Fireworks Concert. The final allocation of tickets for access to Princes Street Gardens during the concert and display go on sale on Saturday morning.