The closing gala concert of the winners of the IVth International Performing Arts Festival and Contest Stars of the Albion, which took place at the Rudolf Steiner Theatre on February 19th, was a spectacular finale to a three-day celebration of talent. It united young and mature performers from all around the world: participants from Brazil, Portugal, Japan, Greece, Spain, Malta, Bulgaria, Germany, Russia, Armenia, Georgia, Latvia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and the United Kingdom all gathered in London to demonstrate their various talents.
Never before had the festival welcomed such a great diversity of performers who enriched each other with the opportunity to explore the cultural traditions of different countries, expressed in the universal language of music and dance. The level of the performers was very high, as most of them were already winners of international competitions.
The festival was organised by the International Music Academy Musica Nova, under the patronage of the World Association of Performing Arts and with the support of the Embassy of the Russian Federation in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and Rossotrudnichestvo in UK. The programme of the festival, apart from the competition itself, consisted of excursions, discussions and concerts. The festival opened at Rossotrudnichestvo in UK on February 17th with a beautiful solo concert by the opera singer Alfia Karimova (Kazakhstan), Honoured Artist of the Republic of Bashkortostan, and by the winner of international competitions Evgenia Terentieva (Great Britain).
The final gala concert of the winners at the Rudolf Steiner Theatre impressed the audience with its unique atmosphere, due to the unusual lighting with the use of projection and graphics and original music. The whole show looked very modern and in tune with major music festivals broadcast on TV, as the singers, musicians and dancers performed in the space created by the projection of planets, galaxies and stars, reminding us constantly of the main theme of the festival and contest. One of the most poignant moments was when eighty-five of the participants filled the stage holding the multicolured flags of their countries: this became a powerful metaphor of the unity of divided nations.
The performers were mainly quite young and were charming in their enthusiasm and professionalism. The warmest appreciation was given to the inspirational dancers from the Russian groups Solnyshko, Kazachok and Cherry Orchard, as well as from the Gypsy group Yagori. The smooth and lyrical dancing of the Georgian ensemble Pesvebi was very affecting and touching.
The vocal category was traditionally the strongest. Young female singers from different countries demonstrated great vocal technique and deep emotions. However, at times it seemed that the feelings they expressed in their songs were more suitable for older women. This is a major problem of the music industry and such competitions in general.
The Grand Prix of the festival was awarded to the nineteen-year-old singer from Armenia Mery Avetisyan, who won over the audience and the judges with her powerful and passionate rendition of Shirley Bassey’s song I Who Have Nothing. The most impressive classical singer was fourteen-year-old Alexandra Skachko, representing Great Britain, who brilliantly performed the famous and very complicated aria by Handel Lascia Сh’io Pianga; she was awarded 1st place in the second age category. Yury Verevkin, representing Russia, charmed the female part of the audience with his heart-warming performance of Russian romances and received 1st prize in the professional adult category. At the end of the concert the participants were given diplomas, memorable presents, trophies and money prizes; some of them also received invitations to other international competitions.
One of the most important and moving moments of the evening was when Evgenia Terentieva, the organiser of the project Stars of the Albion and singer, pianist, composer, teacher, producer and owner and founder of the International Music Academy Musica Nova, was awarded the Gold Medal of the World Association of Performing Arts for her outstanding contributions to world culture. This was a very well-deserved recognition of her mission to encourage and inspire young talents and to give them opportunities of a better future.