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Editor's Choice

Coffee break

Music, written 250 years ago by a cantor at St. Foma Church, could be expected to be very religious and…boring. Obviously, not in this case, as the cantor was Bach and his Cantata is performed in one of the most interesting theaters in Moscow. The Helikon Opera invites you to participate in a charming performance, sorry, “ritual” (as the Helikon charmingly puts it), of the preparation of fragrant coffee. What’s the difference from having a cup of coffee in a coffee shop? No baristas, at least in Moscow, sing opera dialogues while preparing your espresso or cappuccino. Besides, it is the Helikon’s famous vocalizations that joyfully and heartily praise the incomparable qualities of the drink, its advantages sung in pleasurable comparison to life’s other joys, such as kisses and sweets. By the way, according to Bach, the joy that a cup of coffee brings to a young lady can be compared only with happiness in marriage. The whole performance of the Coffee Cantata doesn’t take more than 40 minutes, leaving you plenty of time to enjoy the other pleasures of an evening out on the town.

Helikon Opera. Novy Arbat, 11 Bldg. 2. M. Arbatskaya.
May 30, 19.00. Price 1500–2000 r.

Paying respect to the classics

It is a commonly held belief that almost all of Russian modern art is based on “fantasy”; very surreal, or all about lines and circles on abstract blank backgrounds. RuArts again proves that this is not the entire picture. Semen Agroskin, who is presenting his “School of Painting. Merciless Beauty”, is a painter who combines the best of the new and old. He doesn’t cling to the classical traditions of the Russian school, but rather extends and develops them. His works range from portraits, self portraits, still-life, to landscapes. His favorite color is grey, but there are dozens of shades of grey! His art speaks to that Russian philosophical attitude to life; making one think, ponder over, and meditate on the “issue”. Yet, Agroskin himself says that he never tries to “solve any life-questions. I just paint”. His specialty is thematic collections. “Picasso kept opening new worlds; I cannot do that, so I keep opening new themes.” The list is already quite large: the city at night, human figures without faces, a red café, and a list of belongings. His “Home Theater” and “Staircases” creates in the observer the feeling of “someone has just been here but now is gone,” that is so real, that he can sense the absence. His new inspiration are street dogs which are “not that easy to paint,” as he admits. It took the artist a year to get the collection ready for this exhibition. The three big halls of the gallery will be devoted to three sub-topics: the earlier mentioned home theater, the stray dogs and that of apprenticeship. This last theme will consist of several canvases, put into window frames, which Semen found at a garbage dump. The works depict plaster casts, some nude figures – what every artist has to master while at an art academy. Semen says it a tribute to the classics and an experiment in finding his place in art history.

Semen Agroskin “School of Painting. Merciless Beauty”.
RuArts Gallery. 1 Zatchat’evsky Per., 10. M. Kropotkinskaya, Park Kultury.
April 5 – May 25. Free Entrance

Mickey mouse goes skating

The famous “Disney on Ice” show has finally come to Russia. Why the show took more than 20 years to get to Moscow, considering the fact that every Disney performance team has Russian figure-skaters, is a mystery. Up until now Russian fans of “Disney on Ice” could go to the Baltic countries or Finland to enjoy the famous show and see their “ice” idols. This year they just need to get over to the sport complex Olimpisky. Staging an ice show based on Disney stories was the brainstorm of Kenneth Feld in 1981. The skating Disney cartoon characters quickly made their successful way around the whole world. Today, Kenneth Feld has 6 performing groups, reaching an annual audience of 25 million people. When Disney takes its show onto the ice, it gives the audience the best costumes, the best choreography, and the best combination of humor, hope and love…making the phrase “dreams always can come true” believable! Sport Complex Olympisky.

Olympisky Prospect, 16. M. Prospekt Mira.
May 16 – 20. Price 500–1500 r.

Made in China

Last year Chinese museums hosted the treasures of the Kremlin; this year Moscow gets paid back. The “Forbidden City. Treasures of the Chinese Emperors” is presented in one of the chambers of the Patriarchy Palace. This exhibit is the key to the Year of China program in Russia and a continuation of the long-term project of the Kremlin's “Royal and Imperial Treasure-Houses”. Chinese luxury is far different from the Kremlin’s glorious collections, just as Chinese culture and society is different from Russian. Instead of being impressed by Faberge eggs or the exuberant jewelry and dresses of Russian royalty, you will be touched by the delicacy of the collections of the Chinese Emperors. Among the items on display: The Stamp, the greatest symbol of the Emperor’s power, and an exquisite collection of items of everyday life in the Palace (paintings, scrolls, jade articles, bronze vessels, tapestries etc.). All the items are arranged in a way to evoke the atmosphere of the Emperor’s palace and allow the visitor a glimpse of the life style of royal China. An exhibit of China’s treasures cannot be complete without china. The “white gold” collection is so extensive that it is exhibited separately in the halls of the Tretyakov Gallery. The exhibition presents the evolution of the art of China from its starting point (thousands of years ago) to present day manufacturers. You will have a chance for a glimpse at calligraphy, poetry and tea ceremonies as evoked by Chinese china.

“Forbidden City. The Treasures of the Chinese Emperors”
The Patriarch's Palace, Kremlin. M. Alexandrovsky Sad
Through June 3. Price 150 r.
“White Gold: Classic and Modern Chinese China”
The Tretyakov Gallery. Lavrushinsky Per., 10. M. Tretyakovskaya
Through May 28. Price 200 r.

Spanish treat

Vicente Amigo has been called "the natural continuation of Paco De Lucia" for his outstanding guitar sound and vocals. In 1993 Guitar Player magazine called him the best Flamenco artist performing. In 1998 and 1999 he received the major Spanish music award (the Spanish Grammy) for Premios de la musica. In an interview Vicente Amigo expressed his deep understanding of the art of flamenco: “I believe that flamenco has always been something that only adults can understand. To understand flamenco, you need maturity. You can learn to play the guitar as a child; you can understand the technique. Also, of the singing, you can more or less master the technique. But, the essence of flamenco is something that requires maturity." Obviously, he knows what he is talking about, as Amigo got involved with the music at a very young age. His family claims that he fell in love with the guitar from the first sound, which he heard at the age of 5. He was so taken by the music, that having no instrument, he would play on a broomstick. Fortunately, the broomstick was soon replaced by a real guitar and he began his studies with influential flamenco guitarist Merenque de Cordoba. By the age of fifteen, Amigo was attracting attention as a protege of Paco Pena. But Flamenco is not the only source of his inspiration. He continuously experiments with a vast range of musical styles and performs with musicians David Bowie, Stanley Jordan, Al DiMeola, Keith Richards and Bob Dylan. Moscow has a chance to hear his latest Grammy nominated album, “Un momento en el sonido” (A Moment of Sound), which has been called a “masterpiece of composing talent and virtuosity of guitar playing”.

Concert Hall “Mir”, Tsvetnoy bulvar, 11 , Bldg. 2. M. Tsvetnoy Bulvar
May 22, 19.30. Price 1000-4500 r.

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