MOSCOW – When a coincidence occurs more than once, it ceases to be a coincidence. When it takes place for the third time in a row, then it takes on a whole new dimension. In a glamorous ceremony at the Stanislavsky Theater in Moscow last week, the jury of the Golden Mask Performing Arts Festival bestowed a Golden Mask on Theodoros Kourentzis for his contribution in the promotion of old music interpreted via period instruments. This is the third time a national award has been given to the Greek maestro and artistic director of the Novosibirsk Opera and Ballet company. Besides winning distinctions, the Greek maestro is also preparing for his upcoming appearance in Paris – in early June; Kourentzis is scheduled to commence a collaboration with the Bastille Opera. Also on the conductor’s plate is the imminent release of a CD featuring Henry Purcell’s opera «Dido and Aeneas,» a project carried out in collaboration with the Musica Aeterna orchestra. The annual Golden Mask award includes categories such as opera, ballet, drama, operetta, puppet theater musical, direction, maestro and soloist. This year’s awards featured a pleasant surprise: Besides more-or-less-expected awards won by the major theaters of Moscow and Saint Petersburg, the jury honored smaller companies too. Theaters such as those of Habarovsk, Yekaterinburg, Irkutsk and Nizhny Novgorod were top winners, attesting to the high quality of the Russian cultural scene.