Northern Lights Festival Opera
Under the guidance of Musical Director Gavriel Heine of St. Petersburg's Mariinsky Theatre, the Northern Lights Festival Opera has become the cornerstone of the Northern Lights Music Festival.
What began as an effort to involve the community in a wildly successful production of Britten's Noyes Fludde in 2007, led to annual mainstage productions of Hansel and Gretel, Carmina Burana, Gianni Schicchi and Pagliacci.
In 2013, Northern Lights reached another landmark when it staged its first full-length, four-act opera, Puccini's La Bohème. Bizet's Carmen followed in 2014.
Last season Northern Lights presented the popular operetta The Merry Widow by Franz Lehar.
Our 2016 Production
Learn about the opera and meet the cast. READ MORE
Over the years, the Festival Opera has featured established international stars, as well as young and emerging artists.
Cast members have appeared on the stages of the Metropolitan Opera in New York, the Houston Grand Opera, the Opera Company of Philadelphia, the Royal Opera Covent Garden, the Bolshoi Opera, the Weiner Volksopera, the Glyndebourne Opera Festival and La Scala.
One of the most exciting conducting talents of his generation, Gavriel Heine is currently a resident conductor at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia and Music Director of Northern Lights Festival Opera in Minnesota, USA.
Born in the United States and educated in Moscow and Saint Petersburg, he was one of Ilya Musin's last pupils at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory and follows a long line of conductors who were deeply influenced by the legendary professor. In 2007, Valery Gergiev invited Heine to make his debut at the Mariinsky Theatre, resulting in his appointment to the conducting roster. He is equally at home in symphonic, operatic and ballet repertoire, and has since led nearly 400 performances at the Mariinsky, where his repertoire includes the operas Le nozze di Figaro, Die Zauberflöte, Il barbiere di Siviglia, Macbeth, La bohème, Tosca, Il Trittico, Pelléas et Mélisande, Jenůfa, L'heure Espagnole/Gianni Schicchi, Bluebeard's Castle, Turn of the Screw, Pagliacci and La forza del destino, special versions of The Tale of Tsar Saltan, A Love for Three Oranges and Wagner's Ring cycle, as well as the ballets The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, Sylvia, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Firebird, Rite of Spring, Apollo, Le Spectre de la Rose, The Swan, Paquita, Jewels, Bambi/In the Jungle, Chopiniana, Carnaval, Scheherazade, Cinderella and Raymonda. At the Mariinsky Theatre he has premiered Robert Carsen's production of My Fair Lady (co-production with the Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris), Delibes/Ashton's Sylvia and Bambi/In the Jungle.
He received unanimously stellar reviews from the critics for his work as conductor on the most recent Mariinsky Ballet and Orchestra tour to the USA, leading performances of Raymonda at the Segerstrom Center in Costa Mesa and Cinderella at both Zellerbach Hall in Berkeley and the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles. Earlier in 2015 he led performances of Swan Lake with the Mariinsky Ballet and Orchestra (Brooklyn Academy of Music) and Rite of Spring with the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra (Kennedy Center, Washington DC). Heine conducted Apollo/ A Midsummer Night's Dream on the 2014 Mariinsky Ballet tour to London (Royal Opera House, Covent Garden), has led the Mariinsky Orchestra in concert at the Gergiev Festival in Mikkeli, Finland and made his Bolshoi Theatre debut conducting the Mariinsky's production of Bartok's Bluebeard's Castle during the Golden Mask festival in Moscow - all to great critical acclaim.
Heine was a co-author of the Mariinsky's first subscription series for young people - the very popular Academy of Young Theatre-Goers - where he created and conducted special versions of The Tale of Tsar Saltan, Love for Three Oranges and Wagner's Ring for younger audiences. He served as Artistic Coordinator/Assistant Conductor of the Mariinsky's New Horizons Festival of Contemporary Music, conducting works by Pierre Boulez, Henri Dutilleux, György Kurtág, Rodion Shchedrin, Vladimir Tarnopolsky and Boris Tishchenko.
As a guest conductor, Heine has appeared with the Sinfonieorchester Basel, La Verdi Orchestra of Milan, Orchestra of the Teatro Comunale di Bologna, Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra, The Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra, the Symphony Orchestra of New Russia (Moscow), the St. Petersburg State Cappella Symphony Orchestra, Tatarstan National Symphony Orchestra (Kazan, Russia), Samara Philharmonic Orchestra (Russia), Mikkeli Chamber Orchestra (Finland), and has led rehearsals with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra.
From 2003-2007 he served as Principal Guest Conductor/Acting Music Director of the Kharkov Symphony Orchestra – Ukraine's only orchestra for emerging professional musicians - and has held the position of Assistant Conductor of Center City Opera Theater (Philadelphia). He has held the position of Music Director of Northern Lights Festival Opera (Minnesota) since 2011, where he has conducted new productions of Gianni Schicchi, Pagliacci, La bohème, Carmen and The Merry Widow.
Gavriel Heine is the first ever American citizen to have graduated from the Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory. He did his post-graduate studies in conducting with Ilya Musin and Leonid Korchmar at the St. Petersburg Conservatory, and holds a master's degree in conducting from Indiana University, Bloomington, where he studied with Imre Palló, Thomas Baldner and David Effron. He has taken part in master classes with Michael Morgan, Carl St. Clair and Colin Metters, including a televised masterclass with Valery Gergiev and the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra at De Doelen in Rotterdam. He was chosen by the League of American Orchestras as one of six rising conductors to lead the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra at the 2013 Bruno Walter National Conductor Preview in Jacksonville, FL, USA.