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SOFIA, May 23. /TASS/. Mariinsky Theater symphony orchestra under the baton of maestro Valery Gergiyev on Monday opened the Sofia Music Weeks 48th international festival.
The audience that included Bulgarian President Rumen Radev gave a standing ovation to the Russian musicians and the conductor who is also Mariinsky Theater’s artistic director.
The orchestra performed three encores to show its gratitude to the audiences.
This was Mariinsky orchestra’s first performance in Bulgaria in over 45 years. Today’s offerings to the audiences included Prokofiev, Debussy, Stravinsky, and Tchaikovsky. As for Gergiyev, this was his first concert in Bulgaria after a break of almost thirty years.
Earlier on Monday, Rumen Radev decorated maestro Gergiyev with a Presidential Badge of Honor for his contribution to promotion of spirituality and Bulgarian culture and the Council of the Pancho Vladigerov National Music Academy made him Doctor Honoris Causa.
"I’m very glad to be here in the Bulgarian capital together with my orchestra," Gergiyev said at a gala ceremony. "Frankly speaking, I can’t make out why I didn’t come here for about thirty years. I have so many friends here. I promise you won’t have to wait long for our next meeting."
"I hope we’ll establish fruitful cooperation between St Petersburg and Sofia," he said. "Surely we’ll be able to organize mutual performance tours. Let’s meet as often as possible."
The Mariinsky Teather symphony orchestra’s concert was organized by the Bulgaria-Russia foundation.