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Passport Picks

USSR in black and white

Nikolay Drachinsky
Photo Gallery of the Lumiers Brothers

Nikolay Drachinsky took his first photos back in the 40's and 50's. They perfectly depict those times. World War II is just over, people are full of enthusiasm, building a new future, having strong faith in a joyful and happy life. Drachinsky liked to pay attention to the composition and small details of the surroundings, people’s expressions and emotions. Looking at his photos can be compared to reading a book full of true stories. In the 1950s Ogonek – the Soviet Union’s most readable magazine, published his photo-reports. Nikolay was sending his works from all over the vast motherland as well as Africa, the Far East and Middle East, Asia and Europe. In the 60’s he became the curator of the biggest (for those times) photo exhibition: “USSR – the country and people in artistic photography”. There were as many as 500 photographers participating and over 1,000 works. The exhibition was allowed to cross the iron curtain and visited more than 50 countries. Drachinsky own works was never exhibited while alive. This is the first time ever. That’s what Gallery Lumier is trying to do – to revive Soviet artistic photography, which is so poorly known and understood. They bring new offerings of much forgotten masterpieces almost every season. The best works of Nikolay Drachinsky is the latest from their ongoing project.

Nikolay Drachinsky
Photo Gallery of the Lumiers Brothers

Central House of Artist, hall A 51
Krymsky val, 10
M. Park Kultury, Oktyabrskaya

Animal Kingdom

Every theater opens up a new season in September. L. Durov Animals’ Theater is no exception. It is also known as “Grandpa Durov’s Corner”, “Grandpa Durov’s Wonderland,” etc. As obvious from the name, the celebrities are the animals. The Durovs are famous for their incredible love for our little brothers. Ninety years ago Lev Durov founded a theater called “Little Thing.” Adjacent to the stage, the House had a natural-science museum. Moreover, it had a laboratory to study animal psychology. It never allowed any cruel experiments. Lev Durov believed that cruelty is humiliating and only kindness can work wonders. He developed his own method of training animals for which the theater is famous for. They never use sticks or whips while working with their actors. It is hard to believe the variety of their animals: snow-white horses, Afgan wolfhounds, boxer dogs, monkeys, Dasha the elephant, hippopotamus Mukha together with the poodle Arthamon, and don't forget the tigers and chimpanzees. The Theater has Large and Small Stages, a Mice Railway and museum. It seems quite enough for every kid (even a grown up one) to get over excited.

Durov Animals’ Theater
Durov Street, 4
M. Prospect Mira, tram 7
M. Tsvetnoy Bulvar, bus 24
7 (495) 631-30-47
regular performances

New Photo Gallery Opens

One more gallery moves into the Winzavod Contemporary Art Center; – Gallery - The Its opening exhibition presents the works of Australian Trent Park. It is the first time that Park has exhibited in Moscow, He is one of the world’s leading photographers, and a member of the prestigious Magnum Photo Agency. Project “Dream/Life” is the result of five years work. Trent was making a sort of photo diary about Sydney and its inhabitants. He created a new image of the city, “woven of sun, rains and endless loneliness.” His works capture the city which is completely different from the one on the tourist ads and glamour post-cards. His Sydney is full of shadows, strangers and unexpected revelations. After the diary was complete, he published the album investing his own funds. Fortunately, it brought him a bigger fortune. In 1999 Park got one of the most prestigious awards in the USA, “Photo of the Year.” That’s how Magnum Photos came to know about him. He became their first honorary member from Australia. The promises to introduce Moscow to both Russian and foreign photographers, who work in the genre of the documentary photo; Alexander Gronsky, Valery Nistratov, Alnis Stakle, Dmitry Orlov and others.

“Dream/Life” Trent Park
4 Syromyatinsky per, 1/6
M Kurskaya, Chkalovskaya
7 (495) 228-11-70
September, 22 – November 4

Sacred History

The Kremlin Museums reveal rare examples of XVIIth century icons. Early in the XVIIth century Russia went through the “dark times”, there were several invasions, and a change in the Royal dynasty. In 1612, when Michail Romanov was finally crowned Tsar of Russia, the country revived. The Kremlin cathedrals and chambers required restoration. Many great artists and artisans were brought to Moscow for this work. The result, a new style inside the Kremlin walls. It embraced the Russian traditions of the XVI century along with the styles and elements of western art. The icons on show belonged to the “Chudov” monastery and other Kremlin Cathedrals. Some are painted by the famous Savins (father and two sons), among whose clients were the Moscow Patriarch Phelaret and Tsar Michail himself. At that time the icon painters were involved in many works, they even made drawings for the embroiderers and workers of the Silver Chamber. The icon painting contributed to the production of book illustrations. Books, like icons, were the most typical donations to the monasteries. That’s what makes the exhibition especially interesting, as it offers a glimpse not only into the spiritual art of the country but its society, the people’s moods and thoughts, and various aspects of their every day life.

“The Icon Painters of the Tsar Mikhail Romanov”
Patriarch’s Palace of the Kremlin Museums
until October 29
M. Biblioteka im. Lenina, Borovitskaya,
7 (495) 203-86-04

Rojdestvensky premiers in Moscow

It is not an overstatement to say that Gennady Rojdestvensky is the most intellectual Russian conductor. His repertoire knows no limits either in style or in genre. He is excellent at interpreting contemporary music (from Prokofiev to Shnitke). In his career he followed his father, also an orchestra conductor. Born in 1931, Rojdestvensky spent much of his life in the Bolshoi Theater; as its Chief Conductor, and in 2000-2001 as its Chief Art Director. It is Rojdestvensky who constantly applies all his efforts for contemporary Russian music to be known abroad, even the pieces that were prohibited by the Soviet censorship. Many composers admit that they were influenced by cooperation with him. “Interactions with Rojdestvesnky shaped a lot of my compositions, as many of them came to me during our conversations,” said Shnitke. He published several books on music and one of his memoirs. These days it is a rare chance to see the maestro perform in Moscow. it is for the very first time that he is conducting the Russian National Symphonic Orchestra. Traditionally, his program is far from the so-called popular classics: Jean Sibelius, Saint-Saens and Shnitke (a piece from the music for the “Dead Souls” play staged by the Taganka Theater). This is a real treat which opens the new season of the Moscow House of Music.

Opening of the Season
National Philharmonic Orchestra
conducted by G. Rojdestvensky
Moscow House of Music
Svetlanovsky Hall
M. Paveletskaya
7 (495) 730-43-59
September, 19

Knight’s night

Sir Elton John – UK singer, composer, pianist and international star since the 1970’s, is returning to Moscow. On the 6th of July, 20 000 people were exhilarated by his show in the Palace Square in St. Petersburg. Now Moscow has its turn. Elton visited Russia for the first time in 1979. Hardly anyone in the USSR knew who he was, but the concert was a success. In 2001 Sir Elton performed in the Catherine Palace of the Tsarskoe Selo (where else would a knight perform?) Many of the guests were invited by the musician himself. Among them were Prince Albert of Monaco, Georgio Armani, and the Queen of Spain Sophia. What else to expect from such a music prodigy? He freely played the piano at the age of four. At eleven he was accepted into the Royal Music Conservatory, where he devoted himself to the classics. But soon rhythm-and-blues took over. The talented student spent most of his time listening to his idols and tried to imitate them on his piano. That looked like a tragedy to his professors, but turned him into a real treasure of contemporary music.

Kremlin Palace
M. Borovitskaya, Bibilioteka im. Lenina, Okhotny Ryad
September 18

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