Kirov dancer Uliana Lopatkina with the key that will unlock the doors of the Wales Millennium Centre
To Russia with love – from Wales
The beautiful key that will unlock the doors of Wales Millennium Centre, the new international centre for performing arts currently under construction on Cardiff Bay waterfront, took the next step on its global journey today, when Judith Isherwood the Centre’s Chief Executive handed it to Kirov prima ballerina Uliana Lopatkina on the stage of the stunning Mariinsky Theatre in St Petersburg, Russia (see attached photograph).
The world-famous Kirov (known once again in Russia by its original name, Mariinsky), is one of the leading ballet companies in the world, with strict classical traditions of elegance and beauty. It gave the world premieres of such ballets as Tchaikovsky’s The Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker. Legendary artists who performed with the Company included Pavlova, Nijinsky, Nureyev and Baryshnikov. Today the Company is renowned both for its superb principal dancers and the breathtaking unity of its corps de ballet.
The Company will perform during the Wales Millennium Centre’s opening year in April 2005, performing two full ballets and one triple bill. Uliana Lopatkina and other stars of the Mariinsky, including Diana Vishneva, Igor Zelensky, Daria Pavlenko and Leonid Sarafanov will lead the Company for this important residency. In receiving the key Miss Lopatkina said “It is wonderful that the world is to have a new international stage for ballet. I am looking forward to visiting Wales and dancing at the Wales Millennium Centre in April next year.”
Judith Isherwood commented “The Kirov is undoubtedly one of the world’s leading ballet companies, and it continually delights audiences wherever the company performs. They will perform at WMC during its opening year, and I hope that their time with us will lay strong foundations for a lasting relationship between the Kirov and our audiences that we will develop over the coming years”. The Kirov Ballet’s residency at the WMC will be in association with The Mariinsky Theatre Trust, a UK charity.
During the coming months, the key will journey to New York, Saltzburg in Austria, Italy, South Africa, Japan and New South Wales in Australia before returning to Cardiff Bay on 26 November in readiness for the Centre’s opening. Information on each leg of the journey will be issued in advance.
Tickets for the Kirov and all other performances during the Centre’s opening seasons will go on sale in May 2004. For further information, please go to www.wmc.org.uk
o Wales Millennium Centre is the new international centre for performing arts currently under construction on Cardiff Bay Waterfront. It is undoubtedly the most exciting cultural initiative happening in Europe today. Not only will it be an international receiving house for opera, ballet, dance and musicals, it will also house under one roof seven diverse and exciting cultural organisations. When the Centre opens on 26 November 2004, it will quickly establish itself as one of the world’s leading performing arts venues.
o Wales Millennium Centre is supported with a grant of up to £37 million from the Welsh Assembly Government, a £30.7 million Lottery grant from the Millennium Commission and a £9.8 million grant from the Arts Council of Wales Capital Lottery Fund.
o Uliana Lopatkina
Uliana Lopatkina is prima ballerina of the Mariinsky (Kirov) Ballet and one of the most acclaimed ballerinas in the world today. She was born in the Crimea, and received her early ballet training there. She was accepted into the prestigious Vaganova Academy of Ballet in Leningrad (St Petersburg) at the age of nine and graduated with honours in 1991 to join the prestigious Mariinsky (Kirov) Ballet. In 1995 Uliana Lopatkina was made a Principal Ballerina of the Company.
Miss Lopatkina, one of the world's most elegant ballerinas, is the recipient of many honours, international awards and prizes for her artistry and her international appearances have been extensive; she has performed in Japan, the United States, South America, and throughout Europe.
Her varied repertoire includes Swan Lake, La Bayadère, Le Corsaire, Schéhérazade, Raymonda, Fokine´s The Dying Swan, Balanchine´s Symphony in C (2nd Movement), Serenade, Jewels (Diamonds), Robbins´ In the Night (3rd Movement); Roland Petit´s Le Jeune Homme et La Mort and, most recently, choreography by William Forsythe.
o Ann Catrin Evans
Metal designer Ann Catrin Evans was born in Bangor North Wales and studied at Brighton Polytechnic. She now lives and works in Caernarfon. Here she aims “to make useful and innovative sculptural objects for people to have and use. ”Deriving inspiration from many diverse sources, from mechanical to organic, she specialises in door furniture – knockers and handles – but also produces lighting, furniture, large public sculptures and jewellery. Using steel as her main medium, Ann Catrin constantly strives to find new ways to combine components. Existing work includes pieces for Gwynedd Council, the Deiniol Shopping Centre in Bangor, Caernarfon’s Celtic Hotel and the Museum of Modern Art in Machynlleth.
o The WMC Key began its global journey from Cardiff Bay on 27 March. It was taken on the first leg of its overseas journey by Welsh Assembly First Minister Rhodri Morgan to Paris for the St David’s day festivities on March 1. There he handed it over to international bass-baritone Gidon Saks.