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Previews by Aline Kalinina

Master of light

his year in Moscow we witnessed many cultural events for the year of Italian culture and language in Russia, and numerous exhibitions are still on in the city. Following the presentation of masterpieces of Botticelli, Raphael and Bernini and at the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, a large-scale exhibition of another Italian artist is about to open. The “genius of light and rebels”, Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio was the instigator of a revolution in art at the beginning of the 17th century, and in many ways he influenced visual art’s later evolution. There are a total of eleven works by the painter on display. And even this quantity was difficult to collect in one place and one time as Caravaggio’s paintings are scattered around various Italian museums. As the coordination work is tricky, involving many different museums, the presence in the Moscow exhibition of one of Caravaggio’s masterpieces, The Entombment of Christ, for example, was not confirmed until very recently. It almost never leaves the Vatican. Another symbolic picture, A Boy with a Basket of Fruit, will arrive in Moscow from the Borghese gallery. This will be the biggest exhibition of Caravaggio’s paintings ever organised outside Italy, according to the curators of the show. The Moscow event follows last year’s celebrations of the 400th anniversary of his death in Italy.

December 1-February 19
Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts,
Main building
Open: 10:00 - 19:00,
except Mondays

Dance in Vogue

The core of the exhibition, “Dance in Vogue”, held at the Multimedia Art Museum Moscow are the 120 photographs that were selected from the bottomless archives of Condé Nast. An attraction, even a passion has always existed between fashion and ballet. But even more intriguing was the romance between ballet and fashion photography. Prima ballerinas were often the idols of style; fashion designers sought inspiration in the works of great choreographers; great fashion designers made sketches for ballet scenography. This exhibition has all the ingredients for success: master dancers photographed by equally great masters in photography, and the magic world of ballet with its festive facade and mysterious backstage intrigues.

From the archive were selected photographs by Adolph de Meyer and Horst P Horst, Cecil Beaton and Richard Avedon, Helmut Newton and Arthur Elgort. These pictures cover one hundred years of glamour and almost ninety years related to ballet: the earliest shot (circa 1920) features Anna Pavlova as an exotic Czarina with an unknown slave following her on points, the latest present Mariinsky’s current prima Alina Somova.

One floor higher in the darkened space—as if in contrast to the

December 1-January 15
Multimedia Art Museum Moscow,
16 Ostozhenka street
Open: 11.00 - 20.00,
except Mondays

Vogue exhibition but in logical continuation—there’s another exhibition: a one-man show by Vladimir Fridkes. a Russian photographer, the F in the famous AES + F art group, shares his look at the last ten days of the Bolshoi theatre before its long-lasting renovation. The glamour of the Swan Lake against the background of walls, disfigured with time, the red and gilt curtain weighing 20 tons with the USSR symbols on it, the old stage with tiny pieces being regularly pilfered by Bolshoi people about to retire.

Music for New Year

nna Nettebko is always an anticipated guest in Moscow. Together with her husband Ervin Shrott, they are putting on a Christmas gala concert. Together with Vladimir Spivakov’s National Philharmonic Orchestra of Russia the duet will perform pieces from operas by Mozart, Verdi, Donizetti, Puccini, Mascagni and Gershwin.

On New Year’s Eve, the House of Music traditionally prepares a special programme. This year this is a concert by three American singers, the Three Mo’s Tenors. Victor Robertson, James Berger and Duane A. Moody feel at ease in most different vocal genres. Either singing opera hits or jazz, blues, soul music, rock, Broadway hits, spirituals, they display impressive musical skills. The Three Mo’s Tenors project was initially aimed at presenting the possibilities of the Afro-American vocal. It united those three musicians, all tenors but each with his own manner of performance. They all have degrees in the classical conservatory musical education. So everything they sing relies on their solid classical training. Each of the three regularly performs in opera theatres with leading parts and are highly praised by musical experts.

December 28:
Anna Netrebko, Ervin Shrott
December 31: T
hree Tenors House of Music ,
Svetlanovsky Hall

Christmas Fair

Photo by Aline Kalinina

n Moscow, unfortunately unlike in other cities, there are not so many open-air Christmas fairs, maybe due to the very cold weather that is not too friendly to winter open-air events. But if you are interested in local crafts and hand-made things, you should surely pay attention to one of the New Year fairs.

Drugie Veshi (Other Things in Russian) are a group of independent designers who knit, sew, craft metal or fashion wood. The group were the first in Moscow to make small boutique- like parties with hand made things fashionable in 2005. Drugie Veshi organises a cozy home-like festival where one can try whimsically ornamented shawls and scarves from wool or silk, mosaic vases, felt toys, silk postcards, heart-shaped pillows, vanilla- scented candles, lacquered earrings made from oranges, beads etc., all hand-made, all unique.

Photo by Aline Kalinina

December 24-25 White Gallery,
4, Bolshoi Ordynsky Pereulok
Free entrance,

During the time of their existence there have been held a hundred thematic shows in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Krasnodar, and also workshops for anyone who wants to relax and express themselves making something with their own hands. This winter session takes place in the White Gallery, turning it into a fairy-like house for toys and Christmas decorations.

Introspettica by Riccardo Murelli

Riccardo Murelli is one of the most interesting exponents of contemporary Italian art. His first exhibition in Moscow is entitled “Introspettica” and comprises a series of works on oil paper, engravings of medium and large format, stainless steel sculptures and a site-specific project specially built on the spot in Siberian larch wood. Murelli was born in Rome in 1975. He studied philosophy at university, but started his career in sculpture at the age of twenty-one. Since then he has explored different techniques, such as sculpture, calcography, drawing in chalk, as well as alternating single art works with site-specific installations. Based on geometrical shapes, his work opens a discourse about the rhythm of human life as an allegory and has focused progressively on the concept

December 15-January 21,
Open: 11.00-20.00,
except Mondays
Gallery RuArts, 10,
1st Zachatievskiy Pereulok

of transparency, on the link between the two-dimensional and three-dimensional, on the mega and the micro. His sculptures try to identify the relationship between inner space and temporality, between the urban and utility, between the necessary and invasions. His artistic experience has enabled him to create works of different proportions and various environments-- from private to urban spaces. From 2003 Murelli has been working on “Introspective structures,” which became his first big series. From 2007 he has focused his research and activities mostly on the implementation of his sites and specific projects while continuing research in drawing and engraving. Among his first teachers were the Italian sculptor, creator of Futurism, Umberto Boccioni, and the Russian Constructivists. Works of Riccardo Murelli are displayed in art galleries in Italy, Holland, China, as well as in private collections in Europe and the USA.

Life lines—Valentin Serov’s graphics

Valentin Serov was one of the key figures in the history of Russian arts at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th. Serov was a painter, a graphic artist, a decorative and applied arts designer, a scene-painter and a pedagogue. He was a member of the Society of Traveling Art Exhibitions, a member of the New Artists’ Association of Munich and a member of the Academy of Arts. And though the

December 15-May 20,
Tretyakov gallery,
10 Lavrushensky Pereulok
Open: 10.00-18.00,
except Monday

artist is probably better known for his paintings that are symbols of the Tretyakov gallery, it is through his graphics—another genre he excelled at—that one can observe his artistic evolution, the way he absorbed new trends and styles of visual arts, revealing new forms not only for himself but for this genre. Parade portraits, theatre decoration sketches, book illustrations executed in sanguine, water colours, pastel, etching, around 250 exhibits in all. Many of those works were created while Serov lived and worked in Abramtsevo, near Sergei Posad, and together with other artists participated in the famous Abramtsevo Artists’ Colony.

Christmas Opera Gala

On the 25th of October Galina Vishnevskaya celebrated her 85th birthday. PASSPORT magazine congratulates Galina on her jubilee. Before Vishnevskaya starred in most world-famous opera houses, from Royal Opera House in London to the New York Metropolitan Opera and La Scala, she was a prima opera singer at the Bolshoi. Today her pupils from the Opera Centre she directs easily find their place in all those theatres. On the 23rd of December, soloists from the Galina Vishnevskaya Opera Centre present a magnificent concert programme of famous arias (Eugene Onegin, recently premiered Boris Godunov, Rigoletto,

December 23, 19:00
Galina Vishnevskaya Opera
Centre Building 1,
25 Ostozhenka street

Carmen) and romances by Russian composers. The musical institution that is at the same time a fully fledged opera house, is a unique place in many respects. Vishnevskaya and her renowned husband, Mstislav Rostropovich, opened it for young and talented singers graduating from conservatories. The aim was to provide a bridge to the world of big opera, equipping them with an assurance given by eminent singers at master classes and experience in big productions, polished acting and singing techniques. The young group of vocalists are often on tour either in Russia or abroad, so this concert is the perfect chance to see the future stars of La Scala or Bolshoi.

Suede in Moscow

last Fest is an international festival of Indie Music in Moscow. When it was first held three years ago, it proved of European class. This year the playlist is presented by several independent bands from Russia and UK, among which are Twiggys, Itamar, Blast, Krakatoa and S.C.U.M.

The headline act of the festival is the reunited and legendary Suede band. There is no need to introduce those heroes of the 1990s, who today sound as fresh as ever. Suede will play a concert in Russia for the first time in their career. The frontman, Brett Anderson, has recently released his solo album, Black Rainbows, and promises that after he completes his promotional duties for it, the band will be back into the studio to record a new album for which they have a lot of fresh musical material already. Meanwhile the group, Brett Anderson, Mat Osman, Simon Gilbert, Richard Oakes and Neil Codling, have all been working on an album of their best hits and re-mastering them with founder guitarist Bernard Butler. This expanded version includes previously unreleased demos and songs.

December 18
Club Milk Moscow 

Regarding the material for the brand new album, the musicians say that “there are people who will inevitably say it sounds too much like we did in the 1990s, others who will say it’s too modern,” in any way their come-back is one of the best pieces of news for some time.

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