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Passport Picks

Editor’s Choice

Cossacks Are in Town

W
hatever songs are currently top of the hit parade, the melodies this choir presents seem eternal. These are Cossacks’ songs, which are a lively mix of Russian and Ukrainian melodies and poems. Cossacks, living in separate settlements in the southern steppe regions of Russia since ancient times gradually formulated their songs about freedom and love and grievances about the very land they inhabited. These are harsh, wind-swept and bountiful landscapes. This is one of the oldest folkloric ensembles in Russia. Its history dates back to 1811 when the Cossack army created a military choir. The Kuban Cossack Choir’s original repertoire consisted of religious chants and folk

Kuban Cossack Choir
State Kremlin Palace
February 20, 19:00
www.gkd.ru  

songs. Somewhat surprisingly, this ensemble survived Soviet times, to revive in full glory in the 1990s when it gained international fame. Victor Zakharchenko, a Cossack by birth and passion, has directed the Choir for thirty years, combining his musical career with a university professorship. Revival of folk music, the applied arts, costumes and Cossack spirit; that is what Victor Zakharchenko and his wonderful singers brings to life in these concerts.

Maxim Vengerov

M
axim Vengerov is a Novossibirsk born violinist, nowadays considered as one of the world leaders in his field. Brought up in a musical family, Vengerov revealed his talents as a performer at an early age. He gave his fi rst recital when only five. His first professors were Galina Tourchaninova and Professor Zakhar Bron, whom he and his family followed to Moscow when Maxim entered the music school at the Moscow Conservatory. Vengerov won his first music prize when he was ten at the Junior Wieniawski Competition. In 1990, his victory at the Carl Flesch International Violin Competition confirmed his reputation as a top-flight musician. We are so used to seeing Maxim amongst Stradivari violins and professional prizes; that his performances as a conductor have been overlooked. Vengerov is

Moscow Conservatory, Grand Hall
February 21, 19:00
www.meloman.ru

here to give concerts, and to congratulate his colleagues from the Virtuozy Moskovy Chamber orchestra on their jubilee performance; a program which highlights compositions by Tchaikovsky, Mozart and Mendelssohn.

Ulyana Lopatkina, Dmitry Gudanov “Nijinsky – Pavlova Gala”

Photo by Natalya Razina
courtesy of Mariinsky Theatre

U
lyana Lopatkina, prima ballerina from the Mariinsky theatre and Dmitry Gudanov, premier dancer from the Bolshoi theatre, present a new ballet production dedicated to two great ballet stars of the 20th century – Anna Pavlova and Vaslav Nijinsky. Especially for this premiere, they have selected scenes from the brightest productions and repertoires of the Ballets Russes. Among other soloists who are participating in this tribute, are Lopatkina and Gudanov’s colleagues from the leading Russian ballet troupes; Ekaterina Krysanova, Andrian Fadeev and Vladimir Shklyarov. One-act

Operetta Theatre
February 10, 19:00

ballets Scheherazade and Le Spectre de la Rose will be performed as originally choreographed by Michael Fokine together with other short ballets that made the Russian ballet famous abroad a century ago.

James Blunt, Physics and Lyrics

A
s a proverb says “never say never.” You would never expect that aerospace manufacturing studies could turn into gold and platinum discs on a different continent. That is what happened to James Blunt, a young and already popular music star from United Kingdom. Originating from a family which had for centuries served in the army, Blunt chose a path that led him from his aerospace studies to international musical success with his debut album “Back to Bedlam” and his single “You’re Beautiful” in 2004. James was a schoolboy when he first started to play the guitar; something which his father disapproved of. Of course nobody could tell what successes were awaiting his son in a non-military field. Later, the young man entered the British Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, and served in the army in Central Europe for four years, before returning to his musical vocation. James was fortunate to meet Linda Perry, the legendary US producer who had worked with Pink, Christina Aguilera and Gwen Stefani, and his first single “High” was released in 2004. MTV, Brit Awards and thousands of fans were already there for Blunt. To repeat the success of his first album which was sold out in eleven million copies all over the

B1 Maximum
February 12, 21:00
www.b1club.ru  

world was of course difficult. But this was something he wasn’t striving for. “I was only trying to make music that I would like myself,” Blunt said in an interview. Judging by the contents of his next album “All the Lost Souls,” released in 2007, Blunt has not only pleased himself, but thousands and thousands of people who are in love with the melodies of the 1970s.

Glass Heart on Zemlinsky’s Sleeve

G
lass Heart was recently premiered at the Mariinsky Ballet Festival. The ballet has already been performed abroad, and has now come to Moscow. Kirill Simonov, a winner of the Russian Golden Mask theatrical award, staged this performance in St. Petersburg. He based this production on several compositions by an Austrian composer Alexander von Zemlinsky (“Triumph of Time” and others) and a new libretto. When Zemlinsky wrote the score in Vienna at the turn of the 19th century, he fell in love with Alma Schindler, one of his composition students. The young lady responded to

Bolshoi Theatre
February 28, 19:00

his feelings, but then broke off their relation and married composer Gustav Mahler, a friend of Zemlinsky. That this heart-breaking story took place in the center of the Art Nouveau world in Vienna, could not but inspire choreographers of the time; hopefully to the delight of the audience.

Eugene Onegin at the Galina Vishnevskaya Opera Centre

Photo by Alexander Gayduk

W
hen Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky was conceiving the idea of staging “Eugene Onegin” on stage he invited young students from the Moscow Conservatory to perform, not experienced soloists. That is the tradition Galina Vishnevskaya, artistic director of the Moscow Opera Centre has maintained and staged with her students, inviting Andris Liepa as director and Anna Nezhnaya to design scenes and costumes. “Eugene Onegin” is one of Russia’s most beautiful and well-known operas, and one of Tchaikovsky’s own favorites. “I composed this opera only because I felt strongly that everything in Pushkin’s ‘Onegin’ should be in music,” the composer wrote. For Galina Vishnevskaya, an opera star who now has a world-wide reputation “Eugene Onegin” has an important personal significance, and this is felt by her students. “It is through the part of Tatyana that my career with the Bolshoi theatre began, and it was in the Paris Grande Opera where I sang in ‘Eugene Onegin,’ that I said farewell to the stage. Now my students sing

Galina Vishnevskaya Opera Centre
Building 1, 25 Ostozhenka street
February 10, 19:00

Tchaikovsky’s music, and I am happy to pass on my love for the great Maestro to them.” Tchaikovsky called the opera “Eugene Onegin” as consisting of modestly lyrical scenes. There are no common scenic effects, but performing the opera demands sincerity and simplicity. Vishnevskaya has handled these challenges in a masterful way.







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