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Weekend in Moscow: A Festival at VDNKh, Movie Nights at Muzeon and More

Francisco Bonilla / Reuters

Weekend plans looking a thin on the ground? We've got it covered. From Moscow's pioneering music festival to an opera under the stars and the start of musical movie nights at Muzeon, here's where's hot in Moscow over the next few days. You can thank us later.

Petrovsky Palace Concerts 

Opera under the Stars 

On Wednesday evenings for the rest of the summer — and perhaps into September if the weather is cooperative — the Petrovsky Palace is hosting open-air concerts by the stars of the Bolshoi Theater. The Palace, a round neo-gothic brick and stonework castle that was once on the outskirts of the city, was built in 1780 as a luxurious rest stop for monarchs. The royal families traveling from St. Petersburg would stop here to refresh themselves before their ceremonial entrance into Moscow and the Kremlin. A part of the Air Force Engineering Academy in the Soviet period, it is now part of the Moscow city administration and an event venue, with a hotel and restaurant. Opera Wednesdays begin at 7 p.m. with champagne and snacks followed by the concert at 8 p.m. It’s pricey at nearly 5,000 rubles a ticket, but the setting and singers are a rare pleasure. 

Petrovsky Palace 

40 Leningradsky Prospekt

Metro Dinamo

Theater, Dance and Music Festival at VDNKh 

Quirky celebration of the arts 

This weekend “Vdokhnoveniye” (Inspiration) festival kicks off at VDNKh. Last year the event attracted more than five million spectators and with American guitar virtuoso Steve Vai and Finnish band Apocalyptica confirmed for this year, it’s set to be bigger and better than ever before. Each day of the festival is dedicated to a different art: theater, dance and music. Visitors can visit sets, watch performances, participate in flash mobs and enjoy a huge closing concert on Monday night. 


199 Prospekt Mira

Metro VDNKh 

July 30–Aug. 1

Laughter Wellness Workshop 

Laughology teacher training 

All the smog getting you down? Have an interest in therapeutic practices but want to learn something new? Sebastien Gendry, the creator of the Laughter Wellness method, will be running the first ever Laughter Wellness teacher training workshop in Moscow this weekend. Having starred on the Oprah Winfrey Show Sebastien is now out to bring the untapped force of side-splitting laughter to Russia. Corporate sessions will be available over the weekend — contact the organiser for pricing. The event is being organized by Moscow-based Rita Rozental, herself a laughologist 

+7 (926) 375 7002 

Workshop runs July 30-31

Afisha Picnic 

Dance until you drop 

Summertime institution Afisha Picnic comes to Moscow this Saturday. A one-day music festival that takes place in the beautiful grounds of Kolomeskoye park — a former tsar’s estate — headliners this year include English electronic music duo The Chemical Brothers and Russian rockers Leningrad. Watch out for Benjamin Clementine, who went from busking in the Paris metro to winning the prestigious Mercury prize last year. Tickets cost 4,000 rubles. 

Kolomenskoye Park 

39 Prospekt Andropova 

Metro Kolomenskaya 

July 30

Movie Night at Muzeon 

Before there were talkies 

During August Muzeon Arts Park will continue its tradition of showing silent films with new musical accompaniment provided by musicians from Russia and abroad. This year celebrates the avant-garde, beginning on Aug. 2 with “Storm Over Asia” (also called “The Heir to Genghis Khan”) directed in 1928 by Vsevolod Pudovkin and based on a script by Osip Brik and Ivan Novokshonov. And the program ends with the rarely shown “A Kiss From Mary Pickford,” made in 1927 by Soviet director Sergei Komarov with cameo appearances by Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks, who were visiting the Soviet Union. Among the accompanists will be the Swedish group Nacka Forum, Umberto from the United States, as well as Russian musicians Holypalms, Kate NV and Foresteppe. The performances begin at 9 p.m. on Tuesday evenings. 

Muzeon Arts Park 

2 Krymsky Val 

Metro Park Kultury, Oktyabrskaya

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