Voices from Russia

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

4th International Rakhmaninov Competition Opens in Moscow

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

Sergei Rakhmaninov (1873-1943), great Russian composer, conductor, and pianist

“The world demonstrates a great interest in the work of the great Russian composer Sergei Rakhmaninov”. This topic was the leitmotif for a press conference in Moscow that preceded the Rakhmaninov competition. Rakhmaninov’s works are pearls in the repertoire of practically all the stars of pianistic art. Besides, they are very popular amongst the younger generation of performers. Suffice it to mention that 64 pianists applied to participate in the contest. On the results of preliminary auditions, 34 musicians from 11 countries were admitted to the first tour.

the vids showcase music from the competition programme

The Moscow Rakhmaninov competition is not the only contest in the world named for Sergei Rakhmaninov. A similar contest is held in the USA. A youth contest named after Sergei Rakhmaninov is held in Tambov (south of Moscow). ”Rakhmaninov is a great ambassador of the Russian culture. We must do all in our power to preserve his musical heritage”, said Viktor Merzhanov, the honorary president of the Rakhmaninov Society, the chairman of the competition jury, and Professor of the Moscow Conservatoire.

To confirm his words, Professor Merzhanov gave an historical example. Once, in France, the great Russian basso Fyodor Shaliapin was asked which books he would recommend so that one would be able to understand Russian culture better. He replied, “You should listen to Rakhmaninov’s music every day. There’s no other source that could provide more information about Russian culture”. “This is what the name of Rakhmaninov means for Russian culture”, Professor Merzhanov concluded.

Another member of the jury, Professor Michael Kryst from Vienna, said, “Rakhmaninov does not mean only the Russian soul. Likewise, Chopin does not mean only the Polish soul. And Brahms… means not only the German soul. For example, the wonderful Polish pianist Christian Zimmerman performs Brahms brilliantly. There are quite a number of such examples. Rakhmaninov is one of the world’s great composers; he is not merely a composer of his country and of his time”. Professor Kryst emphasised that he teaches his students to love and understand the priceless wealth of Rakhmaninov’s music, which is heard more and more in the world today.

Rakhmaninov’s music is popular amongst the new generation of Korean musicians, said Daijin Kim, Professor of the Seoul Conservatoire, stressing that the “leader of sales” in the musical shops in Korea are CDs with Rakhmaninov himself as the performer. “Rakhmaninov’s emotional music, coming from his very heart, delights Asian musicians, who praise his performance technique highly for its virtuosity, Professor Kim added. By the way, five pianists from Asia are taking part in this year’s musical competition. One more thing… at the contest last year the Japanese pianist Sadakazu was rated as the best interpreter of Rakhmaninov’s works.

10 June 2008

Natalia Viktorova

Voice of Russia World Service

http://www.ruvr.ru/main.php?lng=eng&q=28222&cid=62&p=10.06.2008 (in English)


Russian Preservationist Receives European Award for Restoration of the Königsberger Dom

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

Königsberger Dom (Königsberg Cathedral), a monument of world culture in Kaliningrad

Igor Odintsov was the winner of a contest for the preservation of cultural heritage organised by the European Union (EU). The “Europa Nostra” federation for cultural heritage, with headquarters in Brussels, invited Mr Odintsov to an award ceremony in London from 11 to 13 June. Western Europeans praised his efforts to rebuild the Königsberger Dom (Königsberg Cathedral), a monument of world culture, situated in the most westernmost Russian city, Kaliningrad (formerly Königsberg in Germany, before 1945).

For more than 15 years, Mr Odintsov, a builder by profession, headed the office supervising the work to restore the Königsberger Dom. When he first saw the historic building, heavily damaged by RAF and USAAF bombing during World War II, it was in ruins. The Cathedral, built in the 14th century, had no vaults or roof. Painstaking work involving experienced restorers from Russia and Germany lasted 15 years. Now, one can see the Cathedral in all its glory. There is a museum, dedicated to the great German philosopher Immanuel Kant, whose grave is located near the Cathedral. The world-famous Wallenrod Library was restored as well.

The Königsberger Dom is now one of the best-known musical venues in the city. World stars regard it an honour to perform there. Orchestras directed by Yuri Temirkanov, Valery Gergiev, and Vladimir Spivakov were amongst those that performed at the Dom. Of course, since it is a former Catholic church, one can hear masterpieces played on its pipe organ. Actually, there are two pipe organs in the Königsberger Dom, one of which is one of the largest in Europe…

10 June 2008

Natalia Viktorova

Voice of Russia World Service


International Russian Theatre School

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

Oleg Tabakov (1935- ), honoured Russian actor and prominent theatre director

120 budding actors from 29 countries are set to arrive in Russia to study at the 2nd International Summer School for Young Actors, which began classes in the old Russian city of Zvenigorod near Moscow. “Theatre is a living organism.  That is why it, more than any other art, needs changes and a new generation of talented people to introduce new ideas”, said Aleksandr Kalyagin. Mr Kalyagin is the art director of the summer theatre school; he is a popular Russian actor and stage director. He believes that a new theatre aesthetic emerges only when there is a close link between the continuity of tradition and an inspired search for the new. The best way to realise this is to unite prominent masters with budding actors.

Oleg Tabakov was one of the stars of Moscow Doesn’t Believe in Tears…

Taking part in the school’s work this year are well-known Russian stage directors of various schools, including Lev Dodin, Pyotr Fomenko, Galina Volchek, and Oleg Tabakov. All shall give master-classes. Lessons in acting, scenic speech, and movement shall be open to students under 30. For this purpose, experienced teachers from Moscow theatre institutes have been invited to the summer school. It is planned that the lessons shall lead to the presentation of 6 productions of various genres, which shall be staged in Moscow theatres at the end of this month. All productions and lessons shall be recorded on video, enabling them to be used as teaching aids in future.

10 June 2008

Natalia Viktorova

Voice of Russia World Service


Jubilee Tour of the Bolshoi Drama Theatre

Filed under: performing arts,Russian,theatre/circus,USA — 01varvara @ 00.00

Temur Chkheidze, chief director of the Tovstogonov Bolshoi Drama Theatre of St Petersburg

One of the best Russian theatres, the Tovstogonov Bolshoi Drama Theatre (BDT) of St Petersburg, is marking its 90th anniversary with an extensive tour of Russia and abroad. On 23 May, it began a 2-week tour of American cities. Theatre-goers in Boston, New York, and Chicago shall be the first to see Friedrich Schiller’s tragedy Maria Stuart, which comes first on the tour programme. This production of Maria Stuart won the prestigious St Petersburg Golden Sofit award and was staged by BDT chief director Temur Chkheidze. What added more polish to this production was its use of Russian and Austrian classical music by Gustav Mahler and Alfred Schnitke. This music strengthens the lofty dramatic tone of Chkheidze’s production. Another production by Mr Chkheidze on the BDT tour programme is Michael Frayn’s play Copenhagen, whose main characters are Dane Niels Bohr and German Werner Heisenberg, two brilliant physicists, the developers of the atomic bomb. All of the action is concentrated in their dialogue, which is full of disputes about the meaning of science and the responsibility for the consequences of scientific discoveries. Audiences in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco will see Mr Chkheidze’s second production.

A clip from the Berliner Staatsoper production of Prokofiev’s The Gambler

In recent years, the BDT repeatedly gave guest tours in the United States. These performances, graced by the acting of luminaries of the troupe such as Oleg Basilashvili and Alisa Freindlikh, were a great success. BDT chief director Temur Chkheidze is not a stranger to the American audience either. This spring, together with prominent Russian conductor Valery Gergiev, he staged Sergei Prokofiev’s opera The Gambler.

10 June 2008

Natalia Viktorova

Voice of Russia World Service


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