FAQs

Valery Gergiev in concert

Valery Gergiev in concert

Mariinsky Theatre

Mariinsky Theatre

The Mariinsky Label

The Mariinsky label, launched in May 2009, draws on the theatre's rich legacy and historical ties to the great Russian composers. It showcases the extraordinary talent within the theatre and orchestra, presenting new recordings of works that are both familiar and less well known to the widest possible audience. Each recording is made using high-definition technology in the new Mariinsky Concert Hall, which has been widely acclaimed for its exceptional acoustic. Recording commenced in July 2008 during the annual White Nights Festival and are available on SACD from the Mariinsky label website and all good retailers. Downloads are available from all digital music stores including iTunes, Amazon, Google Music and eMusic.

The Mariinsky Theatre

The Mariinsky Theatre can trace its origins back to 1783 when Catherine the Great issued a decree that led to its formation. It has staged the premieres of operas by Verdi, Borodin, Mussorgsky and Tchaikovsky as well as many of the great ballets including Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker, La Bayadere and Raimonda. The company remains committed to presenting new opera and ballet, most recently Smelkov's The Brothers Karamazov and in 2009 will premiere three new mono-operas based on works by Gogol. Under the leadership of Valery Gergiev its international reputation has blossomed with frequent touring and recordings. It recently reverted to the Mariinsky name, having previously been more widely known outside Russia by its Communist-era name of Kirov.

Valery Gergiev

Valery Gergiev became Music Director of the Mariinsky Theatre in 1988 and has since led an extraordinary renaissance at the theatre in the post-Communist era. He has overseen the development of the Mariinsky Concert Hall and is the driving force behind a new project to build a second theatre. He has also led the Mariinsky Orchestra, Opera and Ballet companies on numerous international tours. Since 2007 he has also held the position of Principal Conductor with the London Symphony Orchestra. To keep up to date on the latest information about forthcoming releases, news and more from the Mariinsky label please sign up to our e-newsletter.


The Mariinsky Label and LSO Live

The Mariinsky is working closely with the London Symphony Orchestra's label, LSO Live, to support the development of the Mariinsky label and distribution of its recordings. Mariinsky label recordings are made available by LSO Live.


FAQS

How do I find what I want?

Using the catalogue link, our current and future releases are visible. Next to each record cover, information showing you what is available for that release:

SACD - this album is available to buy on SACD
Download - this album is available to buy from digital music stores
Clicking on more info or the record cover will take you to a more detailed page. From there you can find out more about the recording, listen to samples, download a digital booklet and choose how to buy the recording. Please note that clicking on a download will take you outside of the Mariiinsky website in a new window.

Buying a recording

Once you have added a title to your basket, you will be asked to log in if you have previously bought from us or to enter your contact details and payment details.

How soon will my order arrive and how are they sent to me?

Your order would normally be shipped on the same or next working day. Depending on which country the order is sent to,
the postage and approximate delivery times are as follows:
UK - Royal Mail First Class - 1 to 3 days
Europe - European Small Packets Airmail - 3 to 10 days
USA - Small Packets Airmail - 3 to 14 days
Rest of World - Small Packets Airmail - 5-20 days
If you do not receive your order within these periods please email info@mariinskylabel.com
Please be aware that orders sent by airmail can occasionally be delayed for security inspections and please allow extra time for orders placed during December to arrive.

What happens if I order a title that has not been released yet?

If you order a recording that has not yet been released, the order will be shipped to you 7 days before the release date. Your credit/debit card will be debited when your order is placed. If you order a combination of currently available titles and forthcoming releases, we will ship the current releases on the same or next working day after you order and send the forthcoming release 5 days before the release date.

How will my order be packaged?

We send orders in tough corrugated cardboard CD mailers. We pack a maximum of 4 titles (sometimes less) in each package. Therefore if you place a large order, your order may be sent in several packages. Please note that these would all be sent on the same day although they may arrive separately. We do not charge extra for shipping in more than one package.

How much does postage and packing cost?

UK = 75p for the first item and 25p for each item thereafter
EU = £1.50 for the first item and 50p for each item thereafter
Rest of the World = £2.00 for the first item and £1.00 for each item thereafter

Can you ship my order by courier?

We do not offer this service as the cost often far exceeds the price of SACDs. In our experience, post and airmail are very reliable and often surprisingly quick.

What should I do if my order arrives damaged or defective?

Email info@mariinskylabel.com or call +44 (0)20 7588 1116 immediately. Do not return any orders to us without contacting us first so that we can arrange for the return postage.

Who should I contact with any queries regarding my order?

Email info@mariinskylabel.com

What is VAT and do I have to pay it?

VAT (Value Added Tax) is the UK sales tax and applies to many consumer products including SACDs. The price you are quoted will include VAT at the rate of 20% if you live in, and the SACDs are sent to, any address in the UK or EU. VAT does not apply on orders sent to addresses outside of the EU and VAT will be deducted from your order. Please note that VAT does not apply on postal charges.

Do I have to pay duty when orders are sent to the country where I live?

For some countries you may very occasionally have to pay duty on SACDs when you receive them although this is rarely applied.

Are your release dates the same for all countries?

The release dates given apply to UK stores and orders made directly with us on this website irrespective of which country the SACDs are sent to. Release dates may be different for stores in some countries.

Which stores stock Mariinsky SACDs?

Our SACDs can be purchased (or ordered) from all good music stores in countries where Mariinsky is distributed (see distributors list). However, you can order directly from us on this website for shipping worldwide.

How can I order a title featuring the Mariinsky that is not available on this site?

On this website we only sell titles issued on the Mariinsky's own label.

Are these new recordings?

The first release on the Mariinsky label was recorded in 2008. Every recording is made using the very latest 'high density' recording technology.

If I would like to return my order, will I be refunded?

If for any reason you are unhappy with your purchase, please contact Florence Eves via email at info@mariinskylabel.com, or call +44 (0)20 7588 1116. You can return the item to us in its original condition within 30 days of the date you received the item, unopened (with any seals and shrink-wrap intact) and we will issue a full refund for the price you paid for the item. Please note: we can only accept the return of opened items if they are faulty.

What is SACD?

Super Audio CD is a new format created by Philips and Sony. It looks like a CD but the audio is of much higher quality and is captured through a new process called Direct Stream Digital (DSD).

There are three main types of Super Audio CD:

Single layer disc - contains one high density layer of audio information
Dual layer disc - contains two high density layers
Hybrid disc - contains one high density layer and one standard CD layer

Mariinsky SACDs are hybrid discs containing a high density stereo mix, a high density multichannel (surround) mix and a standard CD layer. The CD layer will play in any standard CD player but the high density mixes can only be heard using an SACD player.

How does SACD work?

SACD works by using a method of capturing the audio signal called Direct Stream Digital (DSD). The process eliminates many of the steps previously used to get audio on to a standard CD. These stages resulted in the waveform of a sound being 'translated' into a digital interpretation which led to nuances and details of sounds being lost. DSD eliminates these stages and produces an audio signal that is true to the original sound.

How can I listen to an SACD?

To play an SACD high density stereo or multichannel mix you will need an SACD player or another device that supports SACDs. As Mariinsky SACDs are hybrid discs that contain the standard CD layer as well as the high density stereo and multichannel mixes, you can play them in a standard CD player, however you will only be able to hear the standard CD stereo mix.

What are the benefits of SACD?

The DSD process used for producing SACDs captures more of the nuances from a performance and reproduces them with a clarity and transparency not possible with CD. This pure and natural sound also has a much greater dynamic range than CD, allowing you to experience the full range of emotions and energy only previously possible in a live performance.

A single, hybrid SACD disc can have a high density stereo mix, a multichannel (surround) mix and the standard CD layer. This means you have three different versions of the same music on one disc and can listen on any standard CD player or SACD player. However, on a standard CD player you will only hear the standard CD mix.

Can I play SACDs on a standard CD player?

Hybrid-SACDs, such as those issued by Mariinsky, will play on your normal CD player, but you will only hear the CD mix and not the high density SACD mixes. You need an SACD Player to hear the high density SACD mixes.

Can I play CDs on an SACD player?

Yes, an SACD player will play standard CDs, but you will only hear CD quality sound.

Can I hear multi-channel (surround) sound on my SACD player?

The majority of SACD players support multichannel sound. If used in conjunction with a surround sound amplifier and speakers (such as those used by many home cinema systems) you will be able to enjoy multi-channel sound when playing an appropriate SACD.

Where can I buy an SACD player?

SACD players are available from many manufacturers and specialist retailers. In addition, a large number of DVD-Video players are now capable of playing SACDs:

Please note that DVD-Audio is another distinct although less common format. Dedicated DVD-Audio players will not support SACDs. However many of the latest DVD-Audio players will also play SACDs.

Information on downloading

What does download mean?

Download means to get music from the internet and save it on your computer. You would normally download music from a 'digital music store'. These are online shops where you can usually listen to the music before you buy, get recommendations from experts and other customers and choose music from a vast catalogue of recordings across different genres. Nothing ever runs out of stock and digital music stores are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Isn't downloading just for kids?

Completely the opposite is true. As you generally need a credit or debit card to download from a digital music store, almost all customers are over the age of 18 with the age groups being relatively evenly represented.

What do I need to download music?

To download music from the internet you need the following:

1) A computer, preferably not more than 5 years old and ideally running Windows XP/Vista or MacOSX. It is possible to use older machines and other operating systems but this will limit the range of digital music stores that you can use. If you want to listen to music from your computer you will need speakers, headphones or a cable to connect to a home stereo. Most tracks that you download can also be 'burnt' onto a blank CD provided you have a CD burner on you computer. You don't need digital music players such as an iPod, but it will increase the options you have for listening to music that you've downloaded (see below)

2) Broadband Internet access is very useful if you're going to download music. The files are not that large but using an old dial-up internet connection would still be very slow

3) A credit or debit card is essential when buying from most digital music stores. However a few stores support other methods of payment such as billing to your phone account, Paypal or prepayment cards

What are digital music players and iPods?

Digital music players are portable devices that store music that you have downloaded or copied from CDs. You simply transfer music from your computer onto the digital music player. Most people listen to them through headphones although you can also connect to a home stereo and in many cases connect to your car's stereo. iPods are digital music players produced by Apple but the word has become an almost generic term for any digital music player.

How can I listen to music that I've downloaded?

Most digital music stores will let you listen to the music that you've downloaded on your computer, transfer to a certain number of other computers, transfer to a certain limited number of digital music players and burn to a CD. However the exact limitations depend on the policy of the store and record company. And watch out which store you buy from if you intend to use a digital music player - most players only work with certain stores.

Some digital music stores also let you take out a subscription, which means you download as much music as you want but must keep paying the monthly subscription otherwise the music you downloaded will not play.

What about sound quality?

In theory the sound quality of music that you download from the majority of digital music stores is not quite as good as CD. It is 'compressed' so that it easier to download and takes up less space on your computer. However for most listeners in most situations it is absolutely fine and the sound is as clear as you would expect from a CD.

We would recommend that you invest in a decent pair of headphones if you're using a digital music player, as the ones that come with players don't tend to be very good and are the weakest link in the chain.

What is streaming?

Streaming is a method of accessing a file (music or video) via the Internet without it actually being downloaded to your computer; you are playing it across the Internet. The speed of your internet connection will determine how well streaming works on your computer. A good example of streaming would be listening to the radio using your computer.

What is Digital Rights Management (DRM)?

DRM is technology that limits what a user can do with digital content such as digital music. For instance, it is DRM that will restrict the number of times you can burn downloaded music onto a CD. More and more digital music stores are dropping DRM meaning files will work on more players. iTunes has recently removed DRM from its music so now you can play downloads from iTunes on any music player that supports AAC files.

What are formats?

This is the confusing bit. We are all familiar with listening to music on CD and expect a CD to work in whichever player we put it. The same is not true however of downloaded music, and if you have a digital music player it will normally only be compatible with music from certain stores.

You will most likely come across three music formats:

AAC: The only major store to sell music encoded in the AAC format is the iTunes Music Store.

WMA: Some digital music stores only sell music encoded in WMA (Windows Media Audio). WMA files are compatible with a wide range of digital music players but not Apple's range of iPods. Most music encoded in WMA includes digital rights management to ensure the music cannot be illegally copied.

MP3: This is becoming a more popular file format choice for digital music stores as most players support this file format. The leading stores selling music encoded in MP3 are eMusic and Amazon

FLAC: This is a lossless format which provides very high quality. However not all players support it and you may need to download free software to play them. Consult your manual or help pages of the digital music store that you are downloading these from.

What does Kbps mean?

This is the bitrate of the data in the music file. The higher the number the higher the quality. 128Kbps is standard and 320Kbps is considered high.

What is the difference between the digital music stores that Mariinsky titles are available from?

iTunes
- iTunes 256Kbps AAC files (plays on player that supports AAC files)
- Pay per download
- Available worldwide

eMusic
- 192Kbps MP3 (players on any player that supports MP3 files)
- Subscription service
- Available worldwide

Amazon
- 256Kbps MP3 (players on any player that supports MP3 files)
- Pay per download
- Available in the USA and UK

Passionato
- 320Kbps MP3 (players on any player that supports MP3 files)
- Lossless (high quality) FLAC (plays on some players. Can require special but free software. Please consult your device manual)
- Pay per download
- Available UK

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If you have any questions regarding Mariinsky titles and downloads please e-mail info@mariinskylabel.com



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