Moscow Kaleidoscope:
from past to future

Cultural life in Moscow is booming even during the summer. In July, major premieres are expected in the capital, and a lot of people are excited about them. And even if things calm down a bit in August, a new wave of events is surely coming in the fall.

The Bolshoi Theatre is hosting a major event on July 11th. The art director of Gogol Center Kirill Serebrennikov will be staging a new ballet about the fate of the dancer Rudolf Nureyev. This production will complete another theatre season. Those who can not attend the first premiere shows will have to wait for the fall, as the Bolshoi Theater is on vacation in August. Rudolf Nureyev is a well known international figure. A talented artist who danced in the troupe of the Kirov Opera and Ballet Theater (now the Mariinsky Theater), he decided not to return from the tour in Paris in 1961, asking for political asylum. He became one of the first known artists who emigrated to the West from the USSR. Of course, Rudolf was declared a traitor in his homeland and sentenced to 7 years in prison in absentia. But his career outside the USSR was very successful: he was admitted to the Royal Ballet Company in London, where he performed for 15 years. Nureyev became a regular partner of the famous ballerina Margot Fontaine. By the way, today the personality of this dancer is attracting a lot of attention. The British actor and director Ralph Fiennes, for example, is also preparing a biopic about the dancer.

The ballet at the Bolshoi Theater will feature music by the contemporary composer Ilya Demutskiy from St. Petersburg. Right now the new stage of the Bolshoi is showing a joint production by Serebrennikov and Demutskiy, “A Hero of Our Time.” Last year this ballet received the prestigious "Golden Mask" award. “Nureyev” promises to be an even more ambitious and important project.

“This will be a story about the whole life of Nureyev - from childhood to his last days,” Serebrennikov explains. Nobody knows who is going to get the main role for the ballet yet.

If the “Nureyev” ballet is something absolutely new, “Swan Lake” is a well-known brand all over the world - a real classic that has stood the test of time. By the way, this ballet just had an anniversary! March 2017 marked 140 years since the ballet from the great Russian composer Tchaikovsky first graced the stage of the Bolshoi Theater. To date, it is one of the most popular and successful ballets in history. It was first shown in New York in 1911. It hit the stage in London in 1934, and came to Budapest in 1951. 9 years later it was at the Paris National Opera, then in Santiago, Zagreb, Stuttgart, Havana, Berlin, Hamburg, Stockholm and many other cities.

In Moscow, this cult ballet can be seen not only on the historical stage of the Bolshoi Theater, but also in the Kremlin Palace of Congresses on September 9, for example.

There will also be an important event this season at the Chekhov Moscow Art Theater. Here, the actress and director Renata Litvinova has completed work on a new project. Known as the “style icon” of Russia, Litvinova turned 50 this year. Renata's new project is the play “North Wind,” featuring music written by her friend Zemfira. The Russian designer Gosha Rubchinsky, who is now working on the collections of the brand owned by Kim Kardashian's husband, rapper Kanye West, is making the costumes. Renata wrote the play for specific actors.

There is another theatre project that deserves attention - a play with the intriguing title “A man’s most important dream is for her to get up and go.” There are only two people on the stage: he and she. One is the star of Russian TV shows - the 28-year-old, unmarried Maria Shumakova. The other is a popular showman, an actor, musician, a father and already a grandfather, 55-year-old Nikolai Fomenko. He knows the answers to all questions about relationships between men and women. Why do husbands cheat on their wives? How to understand that a serious relationship has begun? Is it necessary for a woman to change, adjust for her beloved? There are many questions. And it all started when a few months ago Maria was asked to interview Nikolai for one popular glossy magazine. After this, the idea of ​​a theatrical production was born. And a very unusual production at that. Nikolay Fomenko and Maria Shumakova just read stories of the modern Russian writer Alexander Tsypkin and others on stage. Then, they discuss what they’ve read and laugh. The audience loves it.

 The Moscow Theater of Nations is also hosting interesting premieres. 73-year-old Inna Churikova (People's Artist of the USSR who is often called one of the most talented actresses in Russia) and her husband, the famous film director Gleb Panfilov, are presenting a play called “The Audience.” It is based on a play by British dramatist Peter Morgan, and the main character is Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The idea for the play was born in 2015. It was then that an agreement was reached on acquiring rights for staging the play in Russia, and its author Peter Morgan agreed to create an exclusive Russian version of his work. In the British version of the play, Elizabeth II is played by the famous actress Helen Mirren, born Elena Mironova. The play is based on the twenty minutes the Queen of Great Britain has with her prime ministers once a week. Nobody knows what happens at these meetings, so everything you see on stage is the author's imagination.

And another premiere at the Theatre of Nations. Incendiary music, starry sky, cosmic decorations, surreal events and real magic. You can find all of this in play called “Circus,” which is based on the 1936 Soviet film with the same name that features the brilliant Soviet actress Lyubov Orlova in the lead role. This blond movie star with a dazzling, almost Hollywood smile became a real sex symbol for several generations in the USSR. Every girl and woman in the country wanted to be like her. She was Stalin's favorite. He loved to watch comedies with her, and it was said that the leader was not indifferent to Orlova. She lived her whole life with her husband Grigory Alexandrov, the director of all her stellar films. The main role in the play “Circus” is played by Ingeborga Dapkunaite. The Lithuanian actress had to take lessons from circus performers in order to immerse herself in the image. “Of course, this is a fantasy about the film,” says Dapkunaite. The story of the American Marion Dixon, who came to Moscow on tour, and as a result found a home and love, has found its modern form. By the way, the authors of the production treated the lyrics of the songs from the film with special respect and tenderness. The lyrics of Lebedev-Kumach's poetry were fully preserved, but the young composer Ivan Kushnir rethought the music by Isaak Dunaevsky: “It is very important that the music sounded as modern as possible, but at the same time was in dialogue with a bygone era.”

Journeys into the past aren’t limited to theatre stages, and there is a reason for this. One of the most important dates of this year is the one hundred year anniversary of the October Revolution. And although not everybody in Russia and abroad has a positive attitude toward the October Revolution, it was undoubtedly one of the most important events of the 20th century. Western media has shown a lot of interest in the event, and many publications from different countries have been dedicated to it. Of course, an extensive program has been prepared in Moscow. The most ambitious events are planned for the fall. The most important art exhibition will open in September at the Tretyakov Gallery. The project will present different artistic representations of revolutionary events through different forms of painting. It will show not so much the events of the revolution as artistic disputes, the struggle between different artistic trends during those years. The exhibition will bring together about 120 works from the Tretyakov Gallery, the Russian Museum, regional collections, as well as private and foreign collections. Here you will see paintings from the most outstanding artists of the era: Petrov-Vodkin, Grigoriev, Kustodiev, Serebryakova, Malevich, Rodchenko, Kandinsky and many others.

In September, a large-scale exhibition called “Dream Energy. The 100th Anniversary of the Great Russian Revolution of 1917” will open at the State Historical Museum. The main idea is that energy has the power to both create and destroy. The exhibition will feature pieces from the first fifteen years after the revolution - the witnesses of a new era. The exposition will show how the Revolution contributed to breakthroughs in all spheres of public life, gave impetus to development in the economy, education and culture, helping to awaken the creativity in millions of ordinary citizens who participated in the elimination of homelessness and illiteracy, construction, creation of new artistic associations and theaters. The exhibition will run until January.

VDNKh will also be remembering the achievements of the Soviet Union. Every Saturday at 1.00pm, there are free two-hour tours called “VDNKh: from past to future.” Guests will learn about the history of the agricultural exhibition and the “exemplary Soviet village,” about projects that never came to fruition, interesting facts about pavilions, secrets and mystical coincidences, and artefacts from the 1930s and 1950s.

On September 10, there will be an event for music lovers in Moscow. The Olympic Sports Complex will be hosting a Robbie Williams concert. He has been called the most successful performer of the 21st century, the best pop singer in the world, and the most recognizable British musician. Williams is coming to Russia as part of his 2017 world tour, The Heavy Entertainment Show. The British electronic duo Erasure will be a special guest at all Robbie concerts. The opening of the world tour will take place on June 2, 2017 at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester. Robbie will visit Germany, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Poland, Lithuania, Czechia, Hungary, Austria, and Switzerland. The tour will end with a performance at Moscow's Olympic Sports Complex. The singer has especially warm feelings for Russia and his Russian fans, which he has talked about in several interviews. On September 30, 2016 the single called “Party Like a Russian” was released, and gained unexpected popularity. The song received a scandalous fame for its text, which talks about the indecently luxurious lifestyle of the Russian elite. In spite of this, the composition immediately hit the music charts around the world.

On October 3, Sting will be playing a concert in Moscow for the first time since 2012. The legendary British musician, singer and composer will be coming to Moscow as part of his “57th & 9th” tour. The long-awaited performance will be supported by a group of virtuosic musicians - guitarist Dominic Miller, drummer Josh Freese and guitarist Rufus Miller. Special guests will include Joe Sumner and accordionist Percy Cordon, who often performs with The Last Bandoleros. Sting will be performing favorite hits from The Police, famous songs from his solo career, as well as compositions from the new album “57th & 9th.”

World festival of circus art IDOL-2017 will take place between the 14th and 17th of September. Artists from Russia, China, Spain, Italy and many other countries will show their extraordinary skills. Spectators will enjoy real extravaganza performances.

On October 7, another world-famous British musician, singer and songwriter is coming to Moscow - Bryan Ferry. His performance at Crocus City Hall will be part of his big 2017 European tour, “Avonmore.” This elegant, refined and charming singer with a very recognizable voice will perform well-known hits and new songs. Brian gained popularity in the 70's as the frontman and the founder of the band Roxy Music, which released 8 albums and 24 singles. In 1973, Ferry began his solo career, which continues successfully to this day.

On October 10, the International House of Music will host an event for all organ lovers - a performance by the famous Italian organist and pianist Paolo Bachchanella, who is well known all over Europe. A graduate of the conservatories of Padua and Verona, a prize-winner of prestigious international competitions and participant of major festivals, he has repeatedly come to Russia for both solo concerts and to play with ensembles. Over the course of his career, Paolo Bachchanella has gained fame as a delicate interpreter of music from different styles and eras. Listeners are invariably captivated by the organic combination of the lyrical-philosophical origins and the natural liveliness of the Italian temperament. The evening’s program will include well-known works by Bach, as well as masterpieces by French composers Cesar Frank, Charles-Marie Vidor and Louis Vierne.

The Moscow Kremlin museums will be hosting an interesting exhibition devoted to gold coins in the history of the Romanov dynasty until the end of the year. As elements of the most important ceremonies that embody the wealth and charity of the royal family, gold coins were widely used in the palace. One of the important elements in weddings was the rite of showering the couple with gold coins, which came to Russia from the East and symbolized wishes for wealth, happiness, longevity. This is the purpose gold coins were used for. The exhibition features unique exhibits. For example, one of the coins has a silver plate with an engraved inscription indicating that Tsar Mikhail Fedorovich “applied this golden piece to the miraculous image” on February 14, 1616. There are also coins minted in 1716, during Peter the Great’s trip to Europe. These coins feature his portrait.



Founder: Department for External Economic and International Relations of the Government of Moscow

Address: Voznesenskiy Pereulok, 22, Moscow, 125009

Ph: +7 (495) 633-68-66, Fax: +7 (495) 633-68-65


Acknowledgements to:

PHOTO –,, ITAR TASS Agency, RIA-Novosti, Getty Images Russia, companies and organizations, represented in the issue.

If you wish to get new issues of Capital Ideas, please, apply to:

The magazine is registered with at the Federal Authority of Legislative Control in Mass Media and Cultural Heritage Protection. Media registration certificate ФС77-53716, issued April 26, 2013.

All reproduction permitted only with the Editor’s permission and reference to ‘Capital Ideas’.

Published with support from the Department for External Economic and International Relations of the Government of Moscow