Mariinsky Orchestra to perform in Saudi Arabia with support of the Russian Direct Investment Fund and Saudi Aramco

Press release, 13.06.2018

Moscow, June 13, 2018 - The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) is collaborating with Saudi Aramco, the world’s leading energy company, to host the first ever Russian symphonic orchestra in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The Mariinsky Orchestra, conducted by world-renowned maestro, Valery Gergiev, will be performing in Dhahran on June 16 and 17, 2018.

The concert will also be the first endeavor in cultural cooperation by RDIF and Saudi Aramco, through its flagship social-responsibility initiative, the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra). Ithra is a major initiative aimed at spreading creativity and knowledge, building cultural bridges with the world, and promoting a lifestyle in line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.

The development of arts and culture is one of the cornerstones of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, led by HRH Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The program considers culture indispensable to the quality of life of Saudi people and aims to bring the best of world art and culture to Saudi Arabia.

In 2017, the two companies signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for a $1bn joint fund to invest in the energy sector. Bilateral relations between Russia and Saudi Arabia have further developed in recent years thanks to support from the leadership of both countries.

HRH Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to Russia in 2015 saw Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) announce its intention to invest $10bn in Russian projects, through a partnership with RDIF. This was followed by a visit to Russia by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud in October 2017, which gave powerful impetus to a further strengthening of bilateral ties. At present, the PIF has invested $2bn in 13 joint projects with RDIF.

Furthermore, Russia’s cooperation with Saudi Arabia and OPEC in the energy sector has helped to stabilize global energy markets.

The Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra, conducted by Valery Gergiev on June 16 and by Lorenz Nasturica-Herschcowici on June 17, will play Sergei Prokofiev’s Symphony No.1 and Edvard Grieg’s Holberg Suite, excerpts from Antonio Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No.5, and Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker ballet, and arias from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s The Magic Flute, Giacomo Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi and Giuseppe Verdi’s Rigoletto. Soloists: Lorenz Nasturica-Herschcowici (violin), Oleg Sendetskiy (cello), Timur Martynov (trumpet), Aigul Khismatulina (soprano), Evgeny Akhmedov (tenor).

Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund and member of the Mariinsky Theatre’s board of Trustees, said:
“The Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra’s concert at the King Abdulaziz Centre for World Culture opens the gate for the best of Russian culture to be introduced to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. RDIF is proud that Saudi Arabia’s most modern theatre will open with a performance by Russia’s oldest orchestra. This historic event marks the strong cultural dialogue between the Middle East and Russia. The fund sees Saudi Arabia as an important strategic partner and will continue to contribute to building cultural and investment bridges between our countries in the future”.

Amin H. Nasser, President and CEO of Saudi Aramco, said:
“Saudi Aramco is delighted to collaborate with RDIF in bringing the world-renowned Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra to the Kingdom for the first time and to host its inaugural performance at the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture’s Ithra Theatre. This is a great example of businesses going beyond corporate and economic cooperation, demonstrating that cultural exchange can build bridges, strengthen bonds and foster people-to-people engagements through shared cultural experiences.
With its 200-year history, the Mariinsky Orchestra is one of Russia’s most established musical institutions. Ithra, however, is at the beginning of a promising future—a future that will contribute to the Kingdom’s artistic and cultural scene with unique showpieces, such as the concert from the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra.”

Ali Al Mutairi, the Director of the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture, said:
“In its mission to broaden horizons and provide its visitors with a cultural window to the world, the Center is proud to host the world-renowned Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra for the first time in the Kingdom and the Gulf region, particularly during the Eid Al Fitr holiday—a time of great celebration. The Mariinsky Theatre, one of Russia’s most prominent and historic theatres, has wowed audiences the world over, and will bring its talents to the Ithra stage and Saudi audiences. We would like to extend our gratitude to RDIF for helping bring this first of its kind event to the Kingdom. This will be the start of a new cultural era for visitors who make their way to Ithra.”


Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) is Russia's sovereign wealth fund established in 2011 to make equity co-investments, primarily in Russia, alongside reputable international financial and strategic investors. RDIF acts as a catalyst for direct investment in the Russian economy. RDIF’s management company is based in Moscow. Further information can be found at

Saudi Aramco is the national oil company of Saudi Arabia. It is one of the largest integrated oil, gas and chemical companies in the world, engaging in the production and processing of oil and gas, as well as their by-products. Further information can be found at

The Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra is the oldest orchestra in Russia, dating back over 200 years to the first St. Petersburg Imperial Orchestra. According to a survey of leading international music critics the Mariinsky Theatre orchestra is one of the top twenty orchestras in the world. The artistic and general director of the Mariinsky Theatre, Valery Gergiev, has been conducting the orchestra since 1978.

The King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) was inaugurated in 2016 by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman Bin Abdulaziz. Ithra is a creative and cultural hub that empowers human development in Saudi Arabia and beyond by inspiring people to learn, create and collaborate. Ithra is a Saudi Aramco citizenship initiative, offering programs and initiatives that provide compelling experiences while enhancing and showcasing local and global talents. Ithra's facilities include the Idea Lab, Library, Theatre, Cinema, Museum, Energy Exhibit, Art Gallery, Children’s Museum, Great Hall, Archives, and Knowledge Tower. In line with Saudi Vision 2030, Ithra supports the Kingdom’s transformation and the fostering of a knowledge-based economy, in addition to improving the quality of life of its visitors.

For additional information contact:
Gleb Bryanski
RRussia Saudi Investment Fund
Head of communications
Tel: +7 495 644 34 14, ext. 2395
Mobile: +7 903 774 45 10

Andrew Hayes / Andrew Leach
Hudson Sandler
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7796 4133

Arseniy Palagin
Russian Direct Investment Fund
Press Secretary
Tel: +7 495 644 34 14, ext. 2395
Mobile: +7 916 110 31 41