Sadko Russian Folk Orchestra and Ballet 1995 20 City American Tour

Sadko Russian Folk Orchestra and Ballet gained fame in 1991 in Russia and in Europe by presenting an adaptation of Rimsky-Korsakov’s opera “Sadko”. The opera is about the legend of Sadko, a rich merchant sea traveler who lived during the late 12th century, when Novgorod was an independent trade city. Sadko was taking one of his long voyages, which had already lasted twelve years, when his ship stopped in the middle of the ocean. The crew, after a while, believed the sea king wanted a sacrifice, and they drew straws to see who would be the sacrifice.  Sadko lost the draw.

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Sadko was one of the best Gusli (stringed instrument that has a similar tone like those of the Russian Orthodox Church bells) players anywhere. Sadko strummed his Gusli and the sea opened and he went down to the bottom of the sea to see the sea king. The sea king asked Sadko to play the Gusli and to sing for him. The king liked Sadko’s music so much that he asked him to stay in his kingdom and to marry his daughter, Princess Volkhva, who had already fallen in love with Sadko.Sadko had a faithful wife, Lubava, who had been waiting for him for many years. So, with the help of a fairy godmother, he was released and returned. The sea king’s daughter still wanted to be near Sadko, so she turned into the River Volkhva that runs right beside Novgorod, where Sadko lived.

“Sadko” orchestra is noted for its timbre variety. Its composition includes all Russian instruments: balalaika, dombra, accordion (“garmoshka”), folk wind instruments, which usually replace the flute and oboe in other orchestras.”Sadko” folk orchestra includes solo-vocalists and ballet group. The orchestra was founded in early 1991 by the famous promoter in the field of culture, Mikhail Serov, a professional musician and professor of the musical academy named by Gnesin-Valeriy Korostelev. Young professional musicians, postgraduates of several musical colleges make up this orchestra.

Sadko is the only privately owned folk orchestra and ballet company in Russia. The main purpose of this collective is to promote revival and popularization of the Russian musical culture. The orchestra has become a part of the “Center of Russian Culture “Darya””, headed by Michail Serij.In 1991 the first record of the orchestra was recorded by “Melody” firm. Russian television loved the orchestra and made the television show and repeated it several times. Nikoly Kalinin, the main manager of the famous orchestra named Osipov, admitted the artistic significance and value of the new group.In 1992, the ballet was founded by the famous cultural promoter, soloist of “Beryoska” (Birch Tree) group, Yury Chiviligin. Dances performed or original music is specially written for the group according to the original Russian folk music. They include Russian kadril, Kozak dance, “Gzel” dance (winded by the artistic images of the world famous Gzel china) and other dances.

The orchestra and the ballet group have original costumes, made according to the 12th and 13th century artists’ sketches. All musical instruments are made by special top Russian craftsmen. Popular and famous solo-vocalists perform with the orchestra.In recent time the following vocalists perform in the show: Julia Uchvatova, Russian folk songs singer, honored at the prestigious show “Voices of Russia”, held by Russian television and radio; tenor Vladimir Baka, soloist of Moscow Filarmony.

During the concert original Russian melodies, adapted by talented composers especially for “Sadko” orchestra, are played. The head of the orchestra is the honored conductor Valery Kazakov, famous student of Professor Vladimir Minin, the head of the Moscow Chamber Choir.”Sadko” is unique and is the only private folk music group in Russia. It is very popular among tourists from different countries, visiting Moscow. Its concerts along with the Bolshoy and Moscow circus performances are high on the list of cultural events for many tourists. The group is more knowable under the name “Folk group at “Uzkoye”. “Uzkoye” is a hotel, where the “Sadko” performance usually takes place. During the existence of the folk group more than 400 concerts have been performed. In October-November of 1993 a successful tour to Germany received wonderful reviews.

Produced by Samuel Roggers & Associates and Sirron Kyles

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