Who will gather the biggest crowd? Bon Jovi, Metallica?..
In recent years, all sorts of art exhibitions have been successfully held in Moscow, and many of them were received with unprecedented excitement. Three years ago, people waited in line for hours to look at paintings by the famous Russian artist Valentin Serov. The capital is expecting something similar to happen this spring and summer, as the number of interesting upcoming exhibitions is higher than ever. Still, there will be plenty to do in the capital if you’re not a big fan of art.
This spring’s art marathon will begin at the Moscow Kremlin museums, which have been displaying the treasures of Chinese emperors since March. The Forbidden City in Beijing, which is also the largest palace complex in the world, has brought around a hundred items to the Kremlin. They’ll tell us about the lives of Chinese emperors in the 18th century. A throne with carved dragons, luxurious ceremonial clothes of emperors and empresses, golden bowls, musical instruments — you can see all of this, along with other items that were essential to court life, through May 30th.
There will also be a major exhibition at the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts through May 20th. The famous Tate Gallery will be presenting works from one of the most important movements in 20th century British art. In the 1970s, when conceptualism and abstract art were in style, a group of British artists favored figurative art. But their work can’t be described as traditional, and what happens to human bodies and space in these works will definitely surprise the exhibition’s visitors. The two big names of this movement are Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud (the grandson of the founder of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud).
According to the experts, there will be unprecedented excitement around the works of Ilya Repin – one of the most famous Russian artists of the pre-Revolutionary era. The Tretyakov Gallery on Krymskiy Val will be housing 300 paintings by Repin across three floors through August 18th. The lines really might be outrageous, so it’s best to purchase the tickets on the website ahead of time. There will also be an opportunity to see the iconic works that are featured in school textbooks throughout Russia – “Barge Haulers on the Volga,” “They Did Not Expect Him,” “Reply of the Zaporozhian Cossacks,” portraits, and historical paintings. The Russian Museum in Saint Petersburg will send over a painting that us colossal in both size and concept – “Ceremonial Meeting of the State Council” is almost nine meters in length, and each portrait (there are 81 of them in the painting) is painted from life, as Repin and his two students were given permission to attend council meetings.
Another highly anticipated exhibition will feature works by the prominent Norwegian artist Edvard Munch. In mid-April, famous paintings by this artist, who lived a long life (80 years old) that was full of trials and hardships will be brought to the Engineering Building of the Tretyakov Gallery from Oslo. The artist’s childhood and young adulthood were filled with suffering, as he was plagued by illnesses, deaths in the family, loneliness, depression, psychiatric hospitals, jokes about his art, and romantic misfortunes from an early age. All of these things are reflected in his art. Both the public and his colleagues didn’t recognize him as an artist until he was in his 40s, although some of his most innovative works, such as “The Scream” (1910), were painted long before then. Today, Munch, who passed away in 1944, is among the top 10 most expensive artists in the world.
In 2012, one version of “The Scream” was sold at a Sotheby’s auction for nearly $120,000,000. The exhibition is expected to feature about 70 paintings, 30 graphics, along with photographs and memorial items primarily from the Munch Museum in Oslo, as well as from the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts. One of the more significant exhibits is “The Scream,” a version of which is kept at the Munch Museum. The exhibition will run through July 14th.
And there is another interesting exposition for Muscovites and the city’s guests this summer. There were a lot of art collectors in Russia during the pre-revolutionary era, and one of them is the Moscow merchant and philanthropist Sergei Shchukin. He was the first collector in Russia to start buying the works of Monet, Gauguin, Cezanne, and Picasso, and ordered the famous paintings “Music” and “Dance” from Matisse. There are a lot of real masterpieces in his collection, and the only collector who could possibly compete with him is the merchant and businessman Ivan Morozov. Their collections were nationalized and unified into a Museum of New Western Art after the revolution, and then split between the Pushkin Museum and the Hermitage. Now, several decades later, historical justice will be restored in Moscow and Saint Petersburg – the collections will be shown separately. Moscow will kick things off with a collection from Shchukin and his brothers, who also collected art, while the Hermitage will start with Morozov’s collection. “Shchukin. A Collection’s Biography” will run at the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts from June 17 to September 15.
The repertoires of Moscow’s theatres are including more plays that stress gestures and dance over the spoken word. This is a distinct trend of our time. The Chekhov Moscow Art Theatre recently hosted a premiere of the unusual play by the famous Russian choreographer Alla Sigalova “20th Century. Ball.” The play contains almost no words, but nearly everybody in the theatre’s troupe has a part in it. Channel One’s CEO Konstantin Ernst worked on Sigalova’s play with her, marking the first time a venerable TV producer has worked in theatre. He was the source of inspiration behind many of the project’s ideas. A whole century of Russian history is shown through the prism of music and dance – tsarist Russia, soldiers, sailors, the revolution, the thirties, World War II, the youth and students of the 1957 festival, Gagarin’s flight into space, and all the events leading up to President Boris Yeltsin’s farewell speech, during which he announced his early and voluntary resignation as Head of State on New Year 2000. The music selection for the the play features everything from Alexander Vertinsky’s romances to “Kalinka-Malinka” and songs by Vladimir Vysotsky. Actress Irina Pegova, who will be performing several roles in the play, can without a doubt be called the Queen of this ball. In the first part of the play, she appears spectacularly on stage as a female officer in a leather jacket.
The Bolshoi Theatre is waiting for the premiere of the opera “Mermaid” by the Czech composer Antonín Dvořák. The libretto was written by the Czech writer Jaroslav Kvapil. Dvořák’s only opera to be shown abroad is extremely popular in the post-Soviet space. It will be directed by Timofey Kulyabin, who already has experience at the Bolshoi: he directed “Don Pasquale” in 2016.
May and June will be a great time for fans of the opera. On May 23, renowned performers who have graced some of the best stages all over the world will join forced in Moscow. The talented and brilliant Aida Garifullina and Ildar Abdrazakov will be on stage together at the Crocus City Hall Concert Hall, accompanied by a symphony orchestra. Aida Garifullina is the voice of the Vienna State Opera. Ildar Abdrazakov is one of the most sought after operatic basses of our time. Since his successful debut on La Scala in 2001 at the age of 25, the Russian singer has been a regular participant in productions at the world’s leading opera houses – the Metropolitan Opera in New York, the Vienna State Opera and the Bavarian State Opera in Munich.
On June 4th, the State Kremlin Palace will host a joint concert by Anna Netrebko, Andrea Bocelli, Yusif Eyvazov, and Olga Peretyatko. Getting all of these opera stars to perform on one stage seemed impossible, because their schedules fill up years in advance. Still, the impossible happened: the concert will include both classical arias and popular melodies. This unique project will undoubtedly make history. The performance is already being compared to the concert by three legendary tenors Domingo, Carreras and Pavarotti, which took place in Rome in 1990. Andrea Bocelli is a legend — an Italian singer who has made it into the Guinness Book of World Records several times. He has recorded 16 solo albums that sold over 90 million copies all over the world. Anna Netrebko has won many titles and awards and is the uncontested primadonna of the modern opera scene who performs in some of the most famous concert halls all over the world. Her concerts are always some of the most highly-anticipated events of the season. Anna’s husband Yusif Eyvazov, a tenor, sings at the world’s leading opera theatres, such as La Scala, The Metropolitan Opera, Vienna State Opera, Covent Garden, Paris Opera, and others.
Music fans are also in for exciting concerts. In July, 27-year-old Ed Sheeran, who is one of the UK’s most commercially successful modern day singers, will be coming to Moscow. He has already received four Grammy awards, including Best Song of the Year (“Thinking Out Loud”), Best Vocal Pop Album (“Divide”), and Best Solo Pop Performance (“Shape Of You”). This song became a real hit, and Ed Sheeran was awarded the Member of the Order of the British Empire medal for his accomplishments on December 7th, 2017.
The Grand Sports Arena at Luzhniki will also be hosting performances by several legendary groups this season. On May 31st, Bon Jovi, a group that is known throughout the world for more than a dozen hits, will kick things off. The rock legends have already performed in Luzhniki back in 1989. Perhaps, just like 30 years ago, thousands of fans will sing along with Bon Jovi when he performs his famous hit “It’s My Life.” On June 13th, Moscow will once again be visited by KISS, the hottest band in the world. On June 15th, the famous rock band Muse from the UK will light the stage on fire with hits such as “New Born.” And on July 21, the US band Metallica will have their turn in Moscow, and will definitely be playing hits like“Nothing Else Matters” and “The Unforgiven.” The thrash metal veterans first performed in Moscow in 1991. So which concert will have the most spectators? keep in mind that about 103,000 people were at the Grand Sports Arena during the 1980 Olympic Games. In 1990, the last concert of the then-popular Russian singer Viktor Tsoi, which was attended by 72 thousand spectators, was held here. After the reconstruction, which was specially conducted for the 2018 World Cup, the capacity of the stadium in Luzhniki is 81,000 people. Which of the western stars will be able to pack the stadium to full capacity this year?