Voices from Russia

Friday, 18 July 2008

18 July 2008. A Shot of Culture, if you please…

Irkutsk State Musical Theatre begins tour in Minsk

The Old Town of Irkutsk

The Irkutsk State Musical Theatre began its tour in Minsk, Belarus. On the first day, the troupe will perform a gala-concert “We are from the Baikal shores”. A performance “We part to meet again” will close the programme. Government sources in Irkutsk confirmed information about reciprocal performances by the Belarusian State Musical Theatre in Irkutsk next year.

16 July 2008


Big Book Prize short-list announced

The Organisation Committee of the Russian National “Big Book” Prize has published the texts by all authors of the 2008 short list on its website so that readers could familiarise themselves with all the runners-up. The laureates will be announced in November.

16 July 2008


New translation of Solzhenitsyn’s The First Circle to appear in 2009

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1918- ), honoured author, Nobel Prize laureate, and Russian patriot

The New-York based Harper Perennial publishing house will release in 2009 a full version of Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s The First Circle in English. The translation was made by Harry Willetts, who already translated Solzhenitsyn’s The Gulag Archipelago.

16 July 2008


Bolshoi Ballet opens Dutch tour

The Amsterdam tour by the Bolshoi ballet opened with Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake on Wednesday. Dutch audiences had been looking forward to welcoming the famous Bolshoi Ballet, whose last visit was 22 years ago. Besides Swan Lake, the Bolshoi ballet is performing Spartacus by Aram Khachaturian and The Limpid Stream by Dmitri Shostakovich. All in all, there shall be 13 shows and the tour will end on 27 July.

17 July 2008


World Children’s Theatre Festival in Moscow

The 10th World Festival of Children’s Theatres kicks off in Moscow today. The programme will include bright firework performances and clownery. The “Mister Pageot’s Travelling Puppies” street performance is expected to draw much attention. In all, 54 theatres from 20 countries will perform in Moscow. The audience will also have a chance to enjoy stage productions with teenage actors.

17 July 2008


Yevgeny Yevtushenko turns 75

Yevgeny Yevtushenko (1933- ), Honoured Artist of Russia

One of the best known Russian poets, Yevgeny Yevtushenko, turned 75. A leading member of the post-Stalin generation, he remains a leading author in Russia. Yevtushenko will long be known as a critically-minded political poet. The best members of Russian society have always heeded his voice. He has written 19 epic poems, two novels, and thousands of short poems. He still loves reciting his poetry before all kinds of audiences because, he said, that enables him to feel a part of the life surrounding him. President Dmitri Medvedev said, in his letter of birthday greetings, that Yevtushenko challenges indifference and the humdrum of routine life.

18 July 2008


Russian musicians to play at the BBC Proms

Valery Gergiev (1953- ), Russian conductor and musician

Russian musicians and conductors are to play at the world’s biggest festival of classical music, the London-based BBC Proms, which kicks off today to continue until 13 September. The BBC festival highlights two contributions from the London Symphony Orchestra. Valery Gergiev will lead it in Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty on the 20 August, and listeners will be treated to a concert suite from Rimsky-Korsakov’s rarely-staged Kashchey The Immortal on 3 September.

18 July 2008


Voice of Russia World Service

Archaeologists find 600-year-old chess-piece in northwest Russia

Archaeologists in northwest Russia discovered a chess-piece dating back to the late-14th century, a spokesman for local archaeologists said on Friday. “The king, around several centimetres tall, is made of solid wood, possibly of juniper”, the spokesman said. The excavations are being carried out at the site of the Palace of Facets, in the Novgorod Kremlin in Veliky Novgorod. The palace is believed to be the oldest in Russia.

According to the city chronicles, chess as a competitive game emerged in Veliky Novgorod, the foremost historic city in northwest Russia, in the 13th century, but, was banned in 1286 by the church. However, besides the king, archaeologists in the region have found a total of 82 chess-pieces dating back to at least the 14th century, showing that the game remained popular among the local population despite the church ban. In late May, archaeologists in the ancient city uncovered a number of medieval baby bottles. Medieval Slavs made feeding bottles by attaching leather bags to the wider part of a cow’s horn. The babies drank milk from holes made in the tip of the horns.

The first historical mention of Veliky Novgorod was in 859 AD. City chronicles say that by 862 AD it was already a stop on the trading route between the Baltics and Byzantium. The city will celebrate its 1150th anniversary in 2009.

18 July 2008



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