Ambassador Andrei Kelin’s speech at the Gala Recital by Young Singers of the Mariinsky Theatre, 3 March 2020

Dear Lady Solti,

Dear ladies and gentlemen,

Let me congratulate all of us on this magnificent cultural evening, which we are all part of today.

Spring has come and it seems as though it gave London a fresh coat of paint, which is exactly why the Young Russian Opera Singers of the Mariinsky Theatre appear on this stage since 1997. This concert opens the door for young talents at the start of their journey in the same way as spring gives new life to nature.

Not so long ago this concert hall saw artists which have now become world famous. Among them are Ildar Abdrazakov, Alexey Markov, Yulia Matochkina, Evgeniy Nikitin, Olga Pudova, Olga Trifonova, Dmitriy Voropaev and many more. I am confident that today’s singers will also reach at least the same level.

I would like to emphasise that none of this would have been possible without Sacha, Duchess of Abercorn, the Founder Chair of the Mariinsky Theatre Trust and all of us have to pay tribute to her.

Today the legacy of Sacha’s work lives on and I think you would agree with me that this would not have been possible without Lady Solti, her commitment and determination. She continues to support the Mariinsky Theatre and its artists with her heart and soul, and to organise performances for these young talents in Britain’s best operas.

In 2003 the funds raised by the Mariinsky Theatre Trust, which Lady Solti chairs, allowed to restore the Theatre’s stage prop and the equipment, destroyed in the fire, in 2008 the Trust sponsored the staging of Wagner’s opera “The Flying Dutchman” in the Mariinsky Theatre, and in 2014 the Trust organised the Theatre’s tour across the UK.


Dear Lady Solti,

Upon the assignment of the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, for your merit in strengthening the friendship and cooperation between our nations, as well as your fruitful activity in the mutual enrichment and bringing closer the culture of Russia and Great Britain, allow me to present you with a State decoration of the Russian Federation – the Pushkin Medal.

I sincerely congratulate you with this award and wish you good health, endless creative energy and every success in all your projects!

Thank you very much!