The Mariinsky Theatre is one of the oldest cultural institutions in Russia, tracing its history back to 1783 when it was founded by decree under Catherine the Great. With a new theatre opened in 1860 it became the preeminent music destination of late 19th century Russia. Today the Mariinsky is acknowledged as a global leader in its respective art forms as well as an important cultural ambassador for Russia.
With BP's support the Mariinsky has performed at, among others, London's Royal Opera House, Barbican Centre, London Coliseum, Royal Albert Hall, Theatre Royal Drury Lane and the BBC Proms. Further afield it has visited the Edinburgh International Festival, Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff and leading concert halls in Glasgow, Belfast and Birmingham.
The Mariinsky Theatre has enjoyed a high profile in the UK for the past three decades under its artistic and general director Valery Gergiev, whose international career has included positions with New York's Metropolitan Opera, the London Symphony Orchestra and the Rotterdam Philharmonic. He is currently music director of the Munich Philharmonic and honorary president of the Edinburgh International Festival.
BP has worked in Russia for over 25 years in collaboration with leading Russian oil and gas companies. The commitment to Russia goes beyond the development of oil and gas reserves, with its support for local cultural, educational and technology projects being the largest among foreign companies. Its partnerships with leading institutions include the Hermitage Museum, the Moscow Conservatory and 12 preeminent universities across the country.