13 november / 2017

Ambassador Anatoly Antonov's Opening Remarks on the Occasion of Performance by V.Gergiev at the Washington National Cathedral

Dear friends,
It is a great honor for me to participate in this evening’s opening ceremony and personally give you a warm welcome. Concerts like this – in the halls of such a magnificent cathedral – are a rarity in this world, which instantly makes them historical.

Tonight we will witness the world-renowned musical genius of our great performers and People’s Artists of Russia – Artistic director of the Mariinsky theatre, maestro Valery Gergiev and virtuoso pianist Denis Matsuev.

While introducing maestro Gergiev, I cannot but show him my deepest respect. His last year’s performance with the Mariinsky orchestra in Palmira, ravaged and heavily mined by terrorists, was not only an example of courage and selflessness, but also a symbol of peace and hope for the long-suffering Syrian land. Millions of fans know and love Valery Gergiev as a genius conductor and a prominent cultural figure.

An outstanding representative of the Russian fortepiano school Denis Matsuev also leads an active life as a philanthropist, supporter of talented youth and promoter of music development in his homeland.

We are rightfully proud that Russia has such talents, whose performances are not only our national treasure, but also of the whole mankind.

The fact that tonight so many guests representing different countries have gathered under the same roof shows a great power of art in spiritual bonding of nations, and unbreakable ties between the Russian and world culture.

I would like to thank all organizers and sponsors of the concert, and above all – the relentless supporter of the Russian-American cultural relations, holder of the Order of Friendship of the Russian Federation Ms. Susan Carmel Lehrman. Tonight’s event would not have been possible without her creative vision and tireless support.

I wish you all a great show and unforgettable experience!

And now, ladies and gentlemen, please welcome maestro Valery Gergiev!