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© RIA Novosti. Alexey Kudenko

Happy new cultural year: What’s in store in 2012

by at 03/01/2012 12:15

A new year has just begun, so unwrap those pristine 2012 calendars and start marking the dates of the year’s not-to-be missed events


Opera, ballet and theater

American dancer David Hallberg is the hot new star at the Bolshoi

© RIA Novosti. / Valeriy Melnikov

American dancer David Hallberg is the hot new star at the Bolshoi


Ballet fans are in for a treat on January 19, when American dancer David Hallberg performs the role of Siegfried in “Swan Lake” on the Bolshoi Theater’s stage. Other 2012 highlights anticipated at the Bolshoi are Yury Lyubimov’s staging of the opera “Prince Igor,” the theater’s first-ever staging of Strauss’s opera “The Knight of the Rose,” and the ballets “Balanchine Waltzes” and “Manon.”

Cirque du Soleil’s “Zarkana” premieres on February 4 and runs through April 8 in the State Kremlin Palace. Pre-premiere shows begin January 31.


Anna Netrebko’s fans were disappointed when the diva’s two December 2011 concerts were postponed due to illness. The concerts have been rescheduled, with the new dates being February 19 in the Conservatory and March 6 in the Moscow International House of Music.


In honor of two big anniversaries – 200 years since the French invasion of Russia, also known as the Patriotic War of 1812, and 120 years since composer Sergei Prokofiev’s birth – the Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Musical Theater presents the premiere of Prokofiev’s opera “War and Peace” on March 28, followed by further performances on March 29, 30 and 31.


The 18th Golden Mask Festival takes place in Moscow from March 27 to April 15, with the awards ceremony at the Bolshoi Theater on April 16. Highlights are expected to include Polish director Krystian Lupa’s play “Simone’s Body,” and ballet by St. Petersburg’s Mikhailovsky Theater at the Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Musical Theater on April 3. Under Spanish artistic director Nacho Duato, the Mikhailovsky’s ballet has been gaining strength; late last year it made headlines by luring two star dancers from the Bolshoi, Natalia Osipova and Ivan Vasiliev.


Don’t hold your breath, but the St. Petersburg Mariinsky Theater’s second stage could open some time in 2012. Optimists say the long-awaited opening could take place by the summer. Work has been underway since 2003 and has been repeatedly delayed, with choice of architect and design revised several times. RIA Novosti reported that the building had been estimated to cost 19 billion rubles (almost $620 million) – only a fraction less than the 21 billion rubles spent on renovating the Bolshoi.


Exhibitions, galleries and museums

See Henry Moore’s ‘Bird Basket’

© Photo / Courtesy of Jmgroup

See Henry Moore’s ‘Bird Basket’


Modern art occupies the Kremlin from February 22 to May 10, with an exhibition of Henry Moore’s sculptures, drawings and tapestries in the Assumption Belltower and Patriarch’s Palace. A number of the British sculptor’s works are coming to Russia for the first time, including “Bird Basket.”


The State Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts celebrates its centenary in 2012, and has ambitious plans for the jubilee. The main exhibition of the jubilee year is to be “Voobrazhaemy muzei” (“Imaginary Museum”) from April to June, for which major museums around the world are to lend masterpieces by artists who are not represented in the Pushkin Museum’s collection. Other major exhibitions include the architect Le Corbusier in September-November. Meanwhile, the centenary year may see the start of a massive reconstruction project to build a “museum city” complex, with new buildings, underground space, a restored park and an entrance directly from the metro.


The Garage Center for Contemporary Culture is reopening this year in a new location -- Gorky Park – where two currently derelict buildings are to be renovated to accommodate it. First, Garage is teaming up with Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas to transform the 1960s Vremena Goda (“Seasons”) restaurant into two levels of gallery space, a creative centre for children, a rooftop terrace, book shop, café and lecture hall – due for completion in the second half of 2012. The second stage is the reconstruction of the Shestigrannik pavilion, built in 1923. Its six sections and central courtyard are planned to become one of Russia’s most important noncommercial exhibition spaces. In the meantime, Garage is to operate in a temporary pavilion by Japanese architect Shigeru Ban.



The award-winning ‘Shapito Show’ is expected to be one of the films of the year

© Courtesy of Sh-Sh.Ru

The award-winning ‘Shapito Show’ is expected to be one of the films of the year


Sergei Loban’s film “Shapito-Show,” which earned a Special Jury Prize at the 2011 Moscow International Film Festival, appears in local cinemas on January 26. The film stars Pyotr Mamonov and consists of four intertwined novellas about people journeying to Crimea.


The year’s most anticipated release comes on February 9 with Alexander Sokurov’s “Faust” – winner of the Golden Lion at the Venice International Film Festival in 2011. The German-language film is to be released locally in two versions – one with Russian subtitles and one with voice translation by Sokurov, RIA Novosti reported.


The comedy/melodrama “Mamy” (“Moms”), to be released on March 1 ahead of International Women’s Day, is expected to be one of Russia’s home-grown commercial hits of the year. The cast includes Anastasia Zavorotnyuk, star of the local version of “The Nanny” (“Moya Prekrasnaya Nyanya)”.


Tim Burton’s “Dark Shadows” – a gothic horror tale starring Johnny Depp as vampire Barnabas Collins -- hits screens on May 10. The Burton-produced film “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter,” directed by Timur Bekmambetov, follows on June 21. Later in the year, Burton fans get to see his comedy horror cartoon “Frankenweenie,” scheduled for local release in October.


Other major international releases for 2012 are Woody Allen’s “Nero Fiddled,” expected in Russia in early November, and Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” in December.


Rock & pop

Symphonic metal band Nightwish bring their show to Moscow in March

© Courtesy of Motley Concerts

Symphonic metal band Nightwish bring their show to Moscow in March


Moscow’s new mega-sized concert venue Stadium.Live opens on February 11, with a concert by Ukrainian indie-rockers Okean Elzy. The first big-name international act to perform in the 9,000-square-meter hall near Sokol metro station will be UB40 on February 16.


German industrial metal band Rammstein play Olimpiisky Arena on February 10, within their new tour “Made in Germany 1995-2011.”


The Wailers are to perform Bob Marley’s songs at Live Music Hall on February 18.


Hadouken! take the stage at Milk Moscow on February 24.


Kasabian are to perform at Moscow’s new concert venue Stadium.Live on March 8, as part of a world tour in support of their album “Velociraptor,” according to the concert venue’s press service.


Finnish/Swedish metal band Nightwish play Crocus City Hall on March 15.


April is a good month for heavy metal, with Judas Priest playing at Stadium.Live on the 18th.


Scorpions are bringing their “Final Sting” world tour to Russia, starting at St. Petersburg’s Yubileiny Sports Palace on April 17. There will be concerts in Novokuznetsk, Yekaterinburg, Chelyabinsk and Samara, before the band hits Moscow for two shows – April 26 and 27 at Crocus City Hall.


Garbage start their world tour with a May 11 gig at St. Pete’s Yubileiny Palace of Sports, followed by a show on May 12 at Moscow’s Crocus City Hall – their first concerts in seven years.


On May 18, Ozzy Osbourne and Black Sabbath are set to rock Moscow’s Olimpiisky stadium with an opening concert for their world tour. The show hits the Northern Capital with a show at St. Pete’s New Arena on May 21.


The Nashestviye rock festival is to take place from July 6 to 8 at its traditional location – Bolshoye Zavidovo in Tver region.


Kaiser Chiefs are scheduled to play at Stadium.Live on July 10, according to the concert venue’s PR service.


Afisha magazine has announced that Bjork will be the headline act at its July 21 picnic, which is to be held at Kolomenskoye. Other big acts are sure to be announced later.


Red Hot Chili Peppers play July 22 at Luzhniki in a concert within their world tour to support their 10th album, “I’m With You.” The concert is to follow a July 20 performance at St. Petersburg’s Petrovsky stadium.


The Kooks perform at Stadium.Live on September 28.


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