If you’re going to celebrate New Year’s in Moscow — you are in luck! Moscow is a great place to ring in the New Year. If you’re a child, it’s sweets, treats, gifts under the tree and maybe a visit from Ded Moroz and Snegurochka (aka Uncle Pasha and the neighbor Valya). If you’re a teen, it’s fireworks in the park, skating, and staying out all night. If you’re young and energetic, it’s fancy clothes, great parties, and dancing all night. A bit older — or less of an extrovert — it’s a concert, fine dinner, and maybe a night in a fancy hotel. And for families and the older crowd, it’s a night at home with loved ones, watching classic television shows around the laden table. Here are some of our suggestions for a great night.
Around the New Year’s Table
Year of the fire rooster
Russians often say that how you see in the New Year is how the year will play out — so do try to ring in 2017 with people you love, with abundant food and drink on the table, and in good spirits. But it is also recommended that you honor the year of the Chinese zodiac that begins later in the month. Next year will be the year of the fire rooster, a hardworking, showy creature with particular likes and dislikes. To make him happy, be sure to put his image on the table — a little figurine will do the trick. Set the table with some red, gold and other bright colors. To avoid insulting the rooster, it’s better not to serve chicken, turkey or other fowl, and keep those deviled eggs for another time. You’ll make the rooster happy if you serve fish. For reasons known only to the fire rooster, you should not give presents of cats (live or otherwise); clocks and watches; knives of any sort (cold steel doesn’t mix well with the fiery rooster); or anything that is a “cold” color. Be sure to wear something gold, orange or red. Because, well, you just never know.
All the Shades of Fire
Fire rooster on the town
“All the Shades of Fire” is a New Year’s Eve celebration done in the entertainment format that’s been all the rage in Moscow for the last couple of years — a quest. Spread over nine floors of the trendy StandArt Hotel on Strastnoi Bulvar, “All the Shades of Fire” is produced by the people behind the most fashionable summer costume party — “Midsummer Night’s Dream.” The theme: the most important events of the last hundred years. The guests will start with performances devoted to the October Revolution of 1917 in the lobby, go up through the rest of the century, and finally meet the year 2017 on the ninth floor. There will also be three dance floors and a celebration dinner. Dress code? Revolutionary.
New Year’s Eve Among Land Art
New Year in the countryside
The popular Nikola-Lenivets Park in the Kaluga Region, 200 kilometers from Moscow, organizes a whole New Year’s Eve program, from Dec. 31 through Jan. 3. Bring your kids and enjoy huge expanses of snow-covered nature dotted with site-specific land art installations, including the famous Universal Mind and Beaubourg by Russia’s pre-eminent land artist Nikolai Polissky. On New Year’s Eve, expect dancing all through the night, champagne, and fireworks. Starting Jan. 1 there will be various activities available, including skiing, skating, games and even theater performances for kids. You will also be able to enjoy the natural, farm-grown food Nikola-Lenivets is famous for all through your stay.
Nikola-Lenivets, Kaluga region. +7 (499) 504 4333. nikola-lenivets.ru
New Year at the Gogol Center
Gogol Center, which is one of the most popular theaters in Moscow today, invites everyone to celebrate New Year’s Eve early at a concert on its main stage. Gogol Center presents Kukareku (Сock-a-doodle-doo), a band comprised of the theater’s actors who moonlight as singers and musicians. For two days in a row, Kukareku will perform covers of everything from Russian and Soviet classics by Lyudmila Gurchenko and Zhanna Aguzarova to modern hits by David Bowie and Radiohead. Each day organizers promise a surprise guest performance.
Where to see them, where to shoot them
For lots of people, particularly small people, the best part about New Year’s Eve is the fireworks display. Moscow puts on a spectacular show in the sky once the clocks strike midnight. This year Red Square is closed to all but ticket holders, so you’ll have to abandon your idea of drinking champagne under the Kremlin towers. For the best view, head up to Sparrow Hills. Several parks are having their own New Year’s parties and fireworks, including Gorky Park, Park Pobedy, Sokolniki and the Hermitage Garden. If you want to shoot off your own fireworks, you have to go to one of about 200 legal sites. Most of them are on the outskirts of the city, but two are in the center: Tagansky Park (40-42 Taganskaya Ulitsa) and Krasnaya Presnya Park (5 Mantulinskaya Ulitsa, Bldg. 1). You can fire away from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. (and later on the big night). But follow the rules: fines for shooting them off in courtyards and other places not on the list are pretty steep. This year you can watch the fireworks, do some partying, and still make it home safe and sound, with money left over: for the first time the metro will run all night.
For information about Moscow city events: mos.ru/city/projects/ny2017/
For a list of sanctioned fireworks sites: www.xlopni.ru/gde-zapuskat-feerverk.html
New Year at VDNKh
Get lost on the ice
The biggest ice rink in the country will be holding a number of special festive evenings over the New Year’s break with singers and bands entertaining skaters as they glide around the ice. For a truly spectacular evening, consider buying a ticket to the New Year’s extravaganza, where chalets will serve festive drinks and snacks, fairytale characters will be out on the ice interacting with guests, and a spectacular firework show will begin at midnight. Video-mapping and LED lighting will bring the ice itself alive. Tickets cost 1,000 rubles.
New Year at the Conservatory
A fine tradition
The New Year’s Festival at the Moscow Conservatory is a time-honored tradition. This year it will be hosted in all the concert halls of the Conservatory from Dec. 29 to Jan. 5. The New Year’s Festival is an international event that bills the world’s biggest names in classical music. The headliners this year include leading American violinist Sarah Chang, Peruvian tenor Juan Diego Florez, Mexican tenor Ramon Vargas, and French pianist David Fray. These soloists will play together with the Russian State Academic Chamber Orchestra conducted by the outstanding oboist Alexei Utkin. Russian musicians, including the well-known guitar player Yevgeny Finkelshtein and famous violinist Alexander Trostyansky, will perform in the festival as well.
Opera Live Festival
One last Christmas concert
The Opera Live Festival will close at the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall on Sunday Dec. 25 with a performance of Charles Gounod’s “Faust” by a unique group of soloists who are true stars of world opera. Ildar Abdrazakov, who is considered the best bass in the world, will play Mephistopheles, and Irina Lungo, a critically acclaimed soprano, will play Marguerite. The rest of the cast includes Sergei Romanovsky as Faust and the festival’s organizer, baritone Vasily Ladyuk, as Valentin. This will be the second time that this particular cast will perform “Faust.” Their first performance was at Teatro Regio di Torino in Turin, Italy, which critics hailed as one of the best contemporary interpretations of this opera.