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Russian Theatre Digest - December 2012

Galina Vishnevskaya Has Passed Away The Golden Sofit Award Presented in St.Petersbourg Culture Workers Stand for the Theatre Academy The International Contemporary Dance Festival TsEKh-12 A Puppet Production Finishes the Year of Gabriel Garcia Marquez in Russia Dina Goder's Book Painters, Vision Artists, Circus People Is Out of Print

Galina Vishnevskaya Has Passed Away

At the age of 86 on December 2012 the great opera singer Galina Vishnevskaya passed away in Moscow.

Galina Vishnevskaya was cherished in Russia as the pride of the national opera scene.

Shortly before her death the Russian president signed a decree on awarding Galina Vishnevskaya with one of the top state awards, the first degree Order of Merit for the Fatherland “for the outstanding contribution to the development of the national culture and the music art.”

The singer made her Bolshoi theatre debut in 1952, singing Tatiana in Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin. Throughout her more than 20 years in Bolshoi she created more than 30 stage images, many of which were acknowledged the masterpieces of the operatic art. Galina Vishnevskaya was known aside from Russia as an artist who sang at the world’s best opera stages.

In her final days she totally gave herself to the Moscow Opera Centre she had created Moscow Opera Centre. Starting from 2006 the Open International Competition of Opera Singers is held in the Centre, and Galina Vishnevskaya had chaired the panel of judges.

Galina Vishnevskaya was buried December 14, 2012 at the Novodevichy Cemetery next to the tomb of her husband, the famous cellist and conductor of the world renowned Mstislav Rostropovich.

The Golden Sofit Award Presented in St.Petersbourg

The Golden Sofit is the top theatre award in St.Petersbourg, annually summing up the results of the theatre season. It was established in 1995 as an independent award of very high profile.

The Golden Sofit presentation ceremonies take place at various St.Petersbourg stages. This year such a stage was the Bryantsev Young Spectator’s Theatre, the first Russian children’s theatre which celebrated its 90th anniversary in 2012.

The award is given to three theatre sections, including drama, music and puppetry. In 2012 it was given to 23 winners with the biggest number of awards (4 awards) won by the Boris Eifman’s ballet production of Rodin.

Culture Workers Stand for the Theatre Academy

In November of the passing year the RF Ministry of Education and Science published on its website the results of The Monitoring of the Activities of the Federal Institutions of the High Professional Education.

The monitoring was held with an eye at disclosing “the ineffectively operating” state high education institutions requiring reorganization.

136 national education institutions were recognized ineffective. That number included the St.Petersbourg State Theatre Arts Academy.

The management of the academy, which is regarded as one of the world’s major theatrical education institutions viewed this as an insult hurting the academy’s business and creative profile.

According to experts, the monitoring had been carried out with the lack of competence, as the degree of efficiency of the educational institution was assessed by summing up such statistic indices as a median of the state examination of the high school leavers having enrolled the academy, wages of the lecturers, the per cent component of foreign students, the square meters of space of educational buildings per student and so forth. At the same time the specificity of the institution was not taken into account.

The Russian cultural workers immediately stood up for the protection of the St.Petersbourg State Theatre Arts Academy, sending an open letter to the Russian president with close to 4,000 signatories. The letter said in particular:

“The History of the St.Petersbourg State Theatre Arts Academy is of 233 years. This famed high education theatre school should be protected from non-professional accusations and “transformation” invasions. The glorious profile of the theatre school should be restored and excuses should be given it.”

The International Contemporary Dance Festival TsEKh-12

The 12th International Contemporary Dance Festival TsEKh-12 was held in Moscow December 7 to 16. In line with the set tradition the festival is held in two cities. In 2012, aside from Moscow the second city was Krasnoyarsk (Siberia) which hosted the festival November 28 to December 2.

TsEKh-12 was in part linked to the Year of Germany in Russia, so its programme was worked out together with the Goethe Institute in Moscow.

The bill featured three German productions:

TsEKh positions itself as more than a festival, having plenty long-term projects, including educational programmes for young choreographers and dancers.

In particular the TsEKh Centre annually arranges the Summer School with master classes taught by dancers and pedagogues from different countries.

A Puppet Production Finishes the Year of Gabriel Garcia Marquez in Russia

Gabriel Garcia Marquez celebrated several jubilees in 2012 starting from his 85th birthday, 45 years since the first publishing of One Hundred Years of Solitude and 30 years since the presentation to him of the Nobel Prize.

Russians cherish both jubilees and Marquez himself. The author has a great following here, and the passing year was announced the Marquez Year.

With the assistance of the Colombian Embassy, a series of exhibitions, conferences and tours of Colombian musicians were arranged in Moscow, St.Petersburg and Vladivostok. One of the final events of the Marquez Year was the debut performance of An Old Senior and… staged by the Moscow-based Sergei Obraztsov Central Puppet Theatre puppet.ru/?pageId=389 with director and designer Viktor Nikonenko whose selection of the stage version of Gabriel Marquez writing included three stories: A Very Old Man with Enormous  Wings; The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World;  Nabo: The Black Man Who Made the Angels Wait.

“I wanted to stage this production to prove that a puppet can do much and it should be believed in. - says Nikonenko, - I wanted to show that the puppet is capable of exhibiting its emotions on a par with the man. And I wanted to make it understood that what is in the power of the puppet theatre cannot be done in a drama theatre,” Viktor Nikonenko said in one of the interviews.

Dina Goder's Book Painters, Vision Artists, Circus People Is Out of Print

Together with the festival Golden Mask the New Literary Review Publishers released the book Painters, Vision Artists, Circus People. Essays of the Visual Theatre by theatre critic Dina Goder (ISBN 978-5-86793-933-9).

The author’s understanding of the vision theatre is a phenomenon of the affair existing on the borderlines of various types and genres, which she links with the present-day fine arts, dance, the circus, street shows as well as video and media technologies.

The book offers an analysis of productions by such luminaries of “the visual theatre” as Philippe Genti, Romeo Castellucci, Francois Tangi, Andrey Moguchy, Dmitry Krymov and many others.

The book is printed in 2,000 copies with a CD containing excerpts from different productions. A significant portion of video material has been supplied by the Chekhov International Theatre Festival.

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