Voices from Russia

Saturday, 29 March 2008

In Memory Of Natalia Bessmertnova

Filed under: ballet,biography,fine arts,performing arts,Russian,theatre/circus — 01varvara @ 00.00


Premier danseuse of the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, Natalia Bessmertnova

The outstanding Russian ballerina Natalia Bessmertnova has died. A classical lyrical-style dancer, Natalia Bessmertnova was the leading soloist of the world-famous Bolshoi Theatre for more than 30 years. Today, the Bolshoi Theatre mourns their tragic loss. Commemorating the famous premier danseuse, Aleksei Ratmansky, the artistic director of the ballet troupe of the Bolshoi Theatre, called her the “greatest poetic soul of the Bolshoi Theatre”. Her ballet style was a combination of romantic fragility and great inner force, and her polished technique enabled her to dance various roles. For many decades, Natalia Bessmertnova was one of the favourite ballerinas of ballet lovers all over the world. Her death is a great loss for world ballet.

Natalia Bessmertnova was also the wife and inspiration, and in the past few years the assistant, of the famous choreographer Yuri Grigorovich. For her, he created bright choreographic images in the most significant of his productions, including Spartakus by Aram Khachaturian, The Legend About Love by Arif Melikov, and Ivan Grozny, which was set to the music of Sergei Prokofiev. Ms Bessmertnova excelled in the performance of the leading parts in the famous ballets of Pyotr Tchaikovsky.

However, Giselle is considered to be her best role (a ballet by Adolf Adam). Ballet lovers link the role of Giselle with the image of this beloved ballerina, Giselle is a romantic ballet filled with estranged dreaminess. Giselle, as performed by Natalia Bessmertnova, was a great triumph all over the world. Critics wrote, “People need to believe in the triumph of spirituality as is shown by the convincing persuasiveness and beauty of Bessmertnova’s dance”. Natalia Bessmertnova was known for her romantic style, but, as it is well-known, it is impossible to teach students to interalise the romantic style. The romantic style, the organic quality of Natalia Bessmertnova’s talent, was praised during her first tours abroad as a member of the Bolshoi Theatre ballet troupe. This occurred in Britain in 1956 when the young dancer performed only small parts. However, acute connoisseurs of ballet art understood early enough that Natalia Bessmertnova would be one who would be able to realise and further develop the traditions of the Russian classical ballet, who would continue its glorious history, and whose name would be added to the list of the legendary Russian ballet-dancers such as Anna Pavlova and Galina Ulanova.

26 March 2008

Olga Bugrova

N. Viktorova

Voice of Russia World Service


The History of Russian Christianity at the Louvre in Paris

Filed under: Christian,fine arts,Russian — 01varvara @ 00.00


Holy Rus from the Adoption of Christianity to the Reign of Pyotr Veliki… such is the name of an exposition that will open at the Louvre in Paris. It shall concern itself with the history of the development and advance of Christian art in Russia. This exhibition in Paris, one that is expected to become one of the most significant events of the Year of Russia in France, will open in 2010. This monumental museum project shall give visitors a chance to learn more about the distant past.

After embracing Christianity at the end of the 10th century, Old Rus became a Christian state. The first blossoming of Christian art was during the time of 14th to the 15th-century. It is linked to the development of important centres of that time such as Novgorod, Pskov, Tver, and Moscow, where artists working in the monasteries later became well-known all over the world, including Monk Dionysius, Greek master Feofan, who lived and worked in Russia, and his great disciple St Andrei Rublyov.

The 16th century, when Russia became a powerful centralised Christian power, is regarded as the “golden age” of sacred art. Moscow, the capital of Russia, was often referred to as the “Third Rome”. Its historical mission in the world was the preservation of the Orthodox Church. The idea of the “Third Rome” found reflection in the architecture of churches. Besides, the exhibition provides information about the rule of Peter the Great, who carried out the radical reform of the Russian Orthodox Church, which led to other secular priorities in state policy. The opening of a “window into Europe” promoted the interaction between the Russian and the European cultural and spiritual traditions.

Russian and French representatives discussed the details of this project in the residence of the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia in Moscow. Patriarch Aleksei made a proposal to actualise the idea of the exposition. “The ideal of Holy Rus has not lost its actuality today. As before, it is regarded today as a moral and cultural landmark for millions of Russian Orthodox believers in this country and abroad”, the patriarch emphasised.

For his part, Henri Loyrette, the director of the Louvre Museum, said, “I’ve been in love with Russia for many years now, and it is very important for me that I can offer information about a great world we know so little about. There are only a few Russian facilities in France, and the lack of Russian art in Louvre is a great shock to me”. M Loyrette said that the first step to fill the gap shall be the exposition, Holy Rus from the Adoption of Christianity to the Reign of Pyotr Veliki.

26 March 2008

Voice of Russia World Service


The Russian Film Rusalka (Mermaid) is a Prize Winner at the Berlin Film Festival


Russian film director Anna Melikyan (1976- )


The Russian film Rusalka, directed by the young film director Anna Melikyan, has won the Critics’ Prize at the 58th Berlin Film Festival. “The lucky placing of my film at the festival was a surprise for me”, Ms Melikyan said. “The point is that I wanted my film to be shown all over the country. By the way, it has been screened in Russia since last autumn and it has been a great success”.


A song from Rusalka by Yelena Vaenga


The most interesting things occur after the film ends, when the filmgoers are leaving the cinema halls, Ms Melikyan said. “Each viewer finds something in it… something which is not inherent in them. It’s always a shock to me. I understand that this is the main thing that you shoot your films for, to make people see the film and encourage them to think about something that is very important”.



Rusalka is a melodramatic story about a girl with green hair, who can realise people’s wishes. But, her unique talents, as well as her good soul, deplorably, were not estimated at their true worth. A sad fairy-tale for adults… this is how the film critics define the genre of Anna Melikyan’s work. In January of this year, this film won an award from the Sundance independent film festival in the United States.


Here’s another song from Rusalka sung by the popular singer Vitas


Anna Melikyan is 31 years old, and Rusalka is her second full-length film. She brought her first film Mars to the “Berlinale” in 2004. Her short films took part in prestigious Russian and international film festivals. The most well-known of them are Kontrabas and Do vostrebovaniya. Not only filmgoers, but, also professionals show great interest in her films. “Melikyan offers a new film-style”, critics say, stressing that her works are a mix of invention and reality, combined in a proportion one can characterise as “neither too sweet nor too bitter”.

26 March 2008

Olga Bugrova

Voice of Russia World Service


St Petersburg Invites Young Musicians to the International Sergei Prokofiev Competition

Filed under: art music,music,performing arts,Russian — 01varvara @ 00.00

Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953)

St Petersburg will play host to the Fifth International Sergei Prokofiev Competition from 10 to 22 April. The Prokofiev Competition is one of Russia’s major international music festivals; it is a member of the World Federation of International Music Competitions under UNESCO aegis. It was established in 1991 to mark the centenary of the birth of the Russian classicist composer Sergei Prokofiev. Since then, it has been held regularly in St Petersburg, a city where the composer studied and lived for many years.

Young musicians compete in three categories: piano, orchestral conducting, and composition. This year, conductors and composers will arrive in St Petersburg from 23 countries, including Great Britain, Germany, Spain, the United States, Japan, and China. They all won acclaim in their countries and hope for international recognition if they are a success in St Petersburg.

Participants in the “composition” category were selected last December by a jury that scrutinised the music they sent. The jury was headed by world-famous composer Rodion Shchedrin. Twelve compositions won the right to be performed in the concert programme of the competitions: five pieces for solo instruments and seven works for solo instruments with orchestra. Conductors were selected by the jury viewing video clips (of them directing). According to the prominent Russian conductor and composer Yuri Falik, who headed the jury in this category, there were many who proved worthy: 47 participants were allowed in the first round.

The Sergei Prokofiev Competition is a magnet for young musicians. The jury listened to over 130 video clips! There are brilliant maestros, bright interpreters of present-day and classical music among the participants. It is amazing, but, many young women are now active in conducting, and they look convincing. Let’s hope that the competition will reveal more talented musicians. Competitors will demonstrate their skill with the three leading orchestras of St Petersburg. In one of the three rounds of the competition, conductors are expected to perform parts from symphonies and piano concertos of Sergei Prokofiev.

Performance of Sergei Prokofiev’s compositions brought victory at the 2003 competition to a young resident of St Petersburg, Vasili Petrenko. At present, his name is world-famous. He has performed with many renowned symphony orchestras, and he has recently become the director of the Liverpool Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

21 March 2008

Larissa Roshchina

Voice of Russia World Service


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