This documentary of Valery Gergiev, made originally for New York’s public TV station WNET, does a fine job of presenting a portrait of the musician the personality, and the man. It describes his origins, his devotion to the music and culture of Russia, his rehearsal style, and his hectic professional life. There are many clips of rehearsals and performances including concert performances of Mussorgsky’s Russian Easter and excerpts from much other Russian music by Stravinsky, Rimsky-Korsakoff, Prokofiev and Tchaikovsky. There are commentaries by his manager, members of the London Symphony, soprano Anna Netrebko and others.
The visual aspects of this DVD are beautiful. There are subtitles for the non-English portions of the film. The film includes scenes with London Symphony Orchestra, the Metropolitan Opera, as well as places such as Valery Gergiev’s boyhood home in the Caucasus mountains, Moscow, and of cities along the Volga river. Other participating performers are Yefim Bronfman, Renée Fleming, Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Leonidas Kovakos, and Uliana Lopatkina.
Here is Gergiev conducting an extract of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition: