Voices from Russia

Thursday, 24 April 2008

Poll Says that a Majority of Russians shall Celebrate Easter

Filed under: Christian,Orthodox life,religious,Russian — 01varvara @ 00.00

President Vladimir Putin, a devout Orthodox Christian, crossing himself at liturgy

This year, only 7 percent of all Russians said that they are not going to celebrate Easter. This data comes from a poll conducted by the Yuri Levada Analytical Centre from 11 to 14 April, using a sample of 1,600 people drawn from regions throughout Russia. Amongst those planning to go to midnight Easter services, the largest numbers are found in the North-western Federal Region, inhabitants of smaller cities, and young people aged 18 to 25.

The most popular way of marking the holiday, according to the data collected, is the colouring of Easter eggs, 73 percent of all respondents plan to do such over the next few days. Next in popularity were the purchase or baking of Easter cakes (43 percent and 32 percent respectively), going out visiting and receiving guests (29 percent and 26 percent respectively), visiting family graves (28 percent), having Easter cakes blessed at church (24 percent), sending out Easter greeting-cards (13 percent), going to Easter divine services (10 percent), and giving gifts to families and friends (8 percent). On the whole, women are more apt than men to celebrate Easter in one way or another. An exception is the practise of going out visiting others, which is more characteristic of the “sterner sex”, the Levada Centre noted.

24 April 2008




Orthodox Christians in Russia celebrate Holy Thursday

A kulich, a traditional Russian Easter cake, normally baked on Holy Thursday

Today, Orthodox Christians in Russia celebrated Holy Thursday. Patriarch Aleksei Rediger of Moscow and all the Russias served the traditional liturgy at Christ the Saviour Cathedral. On Holy Thursday, with three days to go before Easter, Christians think of the Gospels’ most important event, that is, the Lord’s Supper involving the Apostles, and the sacrament that Christ ordained during the Supper that we know as the Eucharist. The disciples ate bread and drank wine that Christ said were His Body and Blood. According to the Church’s teaching, the rite makes it possible for believers to draw on the saving Grace of Christ martyring Himself to redeem our sins. On Holy Thursday, many believers also make their Easter cakes.

24 April 2008

Voice of Russia World Service


St George Ribbon Action kicks off in Russia

Filed under: inspirational,patriotic,Russian,Soviet period — 01varvara @ 00.00

A veteran of the 2nd Great Patriotic War hands out St George ribbons to two young women

A St George Ribbon Action timed for the 63rd anniversary of Victory over Nazi Germany is now underway in Russia. Passers-by across Russia are being presented with orange and black striped ribbons in memory of the heroic deeds done by our soldiers for the salvation of our Motherland and as tokens of our never-dying gratitude to the veterans who fought to liberate the world of the Nazi plague. People wear the ribbons on their clothing and attach them to car antennas. The action is being held for the third time. Last year, 10 million St George ribbons were distributed throughout Russia and in other countries, including the United States, Britain, and China.

23 April 2008

Voice of Russia World Service


The Bolshoi Theatre Presented a New Version of Bizet’s “Carmen”

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

A scene from the Bolshoi Theatre’s production of Bizet’s Carmen

The Moscow Bolshoi Theatre presented Georges Bizet’s famous opera Carmen in its original version with spoken dialogues. The performance is expected to become the most momentous event of the current season at the Bolshoi. The opera was staged by prominent Russian conductor Yuri Temirkanov and his British colleague David Pountney. The troupe features actors not only from the Bolshoi but also from Great Britain, Austria, Germany, and the USA. It was the first time that David Pountney worked at Russia’s most prestigious musical theatre. He said that he had had “a great time while working with the professionals of the Bolshoi troupe”.

The famous mezzo Tamara Sinyavskaya (widow of the late great Muslim Magomayev) sings the Gypsy Song from Carmen in Russian with the Bolshoi troupe.

Mr Pountney explained the conception of the new production of Carmen in the following words. “Bizet’s Carmen is one of the most popular operas of all time. Over the past 100 years, it has been performed thousands of times worldwide. The Bolshoi has done seven productions of Carmen, based on an eponymous story by Prosper Merimee, which premiered in Paris in 1875. Now, the eighth production offers the opera with spoken dialogue in place of recitatives. This version was not a success during Bizet’s lifetime. So, one of the librettists replaced the spoken dialogue with recitatives, and although the brilliant musical pieces remained unchanged, the story of life and death of the freedom-loving gypsy Carmen became less realistic”.

At last, the Bolshoi decided to stage Carmen as it was written by Bizet. However, it is not a reconstruction, but, rather, a brand new look at Carmen. The production is full of modern realia; the scenographic decisions make the performance very dynamic and breath-taking. For the first-night performance, the title role will be sung by Nadia Krasteva, a native of Bulgaria and a leading mezzo-soprano of the Vienna State Opera, and Irina Dolzhenko, a soloist of the Bolshoi Theatre.

23 April 2008

Voice of Russia World Service


Editor’s Note:

The Bolshoi is taking a similar take on the production of Carmen as the Met did recently with Donizetti’s La Fille du Régiment. The Russian production is set in modern times, whereas the Met updated La Fille from the Napoleonic period to World War I. God willing, the performance of Carmen at the Bolshoi shall be as exciting as the staging done by the Met of La Fille, especially the bravura encore of Ah, mes Amis by tenor Juan Diego Flórez (a friend who heard it said that he nailed those high Cs spot-on! Good-oh!).


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