President Vladimir Putin awarded
Valery Gergiev, director of the Mariinsky Theatre in St.
Petersburg, a Hero of Labor award, a Soviet-era distinction
restored by the Russian leader this year.
Putin handed awards to Gergiev and four others, including a
neurosurgeon, at a ceremony in the Konstantinovsky Palace
outside St. Petersburg, the Kremlin said today on its website.
Moscow-born Gergiev, who turns 60 tomorrow, has led the
Mariinsky for 17 years and is also the chief conductor of the
London Symphony Orchestra. In January he was appointed chief
conductor of the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra for a five-year
term beginning 2015.
Putin will attend a gala evening featuring Placido Domingo
and other stars to mark the opening of the new $700 million
Mariinsky II opera house tomorrow, according to state news
service RIA Novosti.