In little more than half a decade, conductor Valery Ryvkin has proven himself an Artistic Director on the move, aligning the creative talents of artistic planning, and superb music-making alongside an extraordinary insight into administration, fundraising, and incorporation of an arts institution into the fabric of the community. In other words, Ryvkin has become the Maestro for the next generation! As Artistic Director of Opera Santa Barbara from 1999 until 2008, Maestro Ryvkin moved the company from a classy 'mom and pop' effort to a respected and highly cultivated institution with a budget of $1,200.000 - while also bringing to the company the concept of a Festival Season: a Puccini Festival in 2006 and a Verdi Festival in 2007. His organizational impact was equally felt as the new Artistic Director of the Greensboro Opera, when, during his first season in 2005-06, he was personally instrumental in bringing the company it's very first $1,000,000 donation - a hallmark in the company's 25 year history. Given today's financial environment, an achievement of envious proportions! As a result of his creative leadership, Opera Santa Barbara recently was able to make the extraordinary announcement that composer Stephen Schwartz of Broadway fame - Wicked, Godspell, Pippin, Pochahontas, Prince of Egypt - has been commissioned to write his very first opera, Séance, for the company, to be conducted by Maestro Ryvkin in a world premiere in the Fall 2009.
On the guest conducting front, Valery Ryvkin yet again made a huge impression leading the 2007 season debut of Boris Godunov for San Diego Opera while featuring no less than the Italian bass Feruccio Furlanetto as the Czar. "Under the loving and sympathetic conducting of Valery Ryvkin, a native of St. Petersburg . . . the work took on an almost chamber opera quality . . . revealing how Mussorgsky used his palette of orchestral colors sparingly and tellingly, with a sense of theme and character appropriatness" noted the Los Angeles Times. He returns to San Diego Opera in April of 2008 for a production of Aida. Meanwhile, his conducting activities in Santa Barbara take him on a varied journey in the operas Rigoletto, Un Ballo in Maschera, Romeo and Juliette, Otello, Turandot, La Boheme, Hansel & Gretel, as well as an Opera Gala Concert celebrating the 25th Anniversary of his Greensboro Opera. During the 2005-06 season, Maestro Ryvkin conducted the Grand Finale Concert of the famous Merola Program at the San Francisco Opera, followed by a Night of Rising Stars concert at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. During the 2001 season, he led the North American premiere of Rimsky-Korsakoff's opera May Night at the Sarasota Opera, while taking on the huge responsibility for the complete preparation at the Metropolitan Opera of the production of Shostakovich's Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk at the personal request of Valery Gergiev.