Alexander Vedernikov, the previous Music Director and Principal Conductor, died on 30 October 2020 from Covid-19.
41-year-old Ioffe will continue her 10-year long collaboration with the Natalia Sats Children’s Musical Theatre, which specialises in opera, ballet and theatre for children. It is the world’s first professional theatre for children, and best known internationally as the birthplace of Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf.
Olga Lyubimova, the Minister of Culture of the Russian Federation, said,
Her rich experience in creating children’s repertoire will be particularly useful. Nowadays, theatres pay special attention to this sphere. I am sure that the Mikhailovsky Theatre is acquiring an excellent conductor, moreover a woman — a rare case for the profession — capable of preserving traditions and unlocking the company’s high potential.
For the first time in our theatre’s history, we will have a female conductor as our Musical Director. We count on this young, energetic, inventive musician. Alevtina Ioffe’s career is a breakthrough in the Russian ‘male’ world of music… A bright and original conductor like Alevtina Ioffe is a perfect fit for us.
Ioffe knows well that it is incredibly difficult for a woman to pursue a career as a conductor in Russia:
That is why I work a lot in Europe, and I am starting my American career. In Russia, for ten years, I have been working as Principal Conductor at the Natalia Sats Children’s Musical Theatre, where I have enjoyed excellent conditions for my creative work. Now I have accepted the invitation to become Musical Director of the Mikhailovsky Theatre. With its rich history, great architecture and mystic characters, St Petersburg has always appealed to me — it induces nostalgia and makes me proud of our cultural legacy. For me, it is a great honour and responsibility to work at a theatre with such rich traditions.
Another reason why I agreed to work here is because of Vladimir Kekhman’s willingness to experiment. I need to be able to realise my creative ideas, of which there are a lot!
Top photo by ВИКТОР ГОРЯЧЕВ
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano’) about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman’s Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia’ column for Dancing Times magazine.