Mariinsky Theatre Appoints New Principal Guest Conductor

By Francisco Salazar

The Mariinsky Theatre has appointed a new Principal Guest Conductor.

The Austrian-Iranian Alexander Ali Rahbari took to Instagram to announce the news stating that he was appointed by Putin supporter Valery Gergiev and will conduct 10 performances next season.

The news comes following Rahbari’s July 15 concert at the Russian opera house in which he conducted an evening of music by Tchaikovsky and Rimsky-Korsakov, among others.

In anticipation of the concert, which saw Rahbari become one of the first international artists to perform in Russia since the invasion of Ukraine, the conductor defended his stance saying, “I am strongly convinced that I am doing the right thing. I go to Russia with pleasure and the greatest respect to Valery Gergiev and I hope that others will follow. The invitation of maestro Gergiev means a lot to me. As a professional, especially an opera conductor, I know that Gergiev is a fantastic and unique conductor. People can like or hate him, but he deserves great respect. If I compare him to politicians, I can’t see a single one being in the same league as Gergiev regarding merits and achievements. And, one should not forget, Gergiev was already Gergiev, one of the greatest artists of our time, long before many of the political leaders of today even appeared on the scene.”