Watch “The Seagull” where Chekhov wrote it
Every year Melikhovo, the small holding about 80 kilometers south of Moscow when writer and playwright Anton Chekhov lived for many years, puts on a several productions on the property. The most interesting is “The Seagull,” which was written at Melikhovo and seems to have been inspired, in part, by the surroundings. This weekend it will be performed; there are a few tickets left and a chance to put yourself on the waiting list. If you miss this weekend, you might look ahead and buy tickets for the performances in August. The play begins where Chekhov wrote it and then moves, with the performers and audience, throughout the landscape that Chekhov loved. It is a magical evening. Go early to see the museum grounds first. For more information about this and other events, see the Melikhovo site.
This weekend the Bolshoi Theater is hosting a decidedly non-traditional (for Russia) production of Anna Karenina choreographed by John Neumeier, who also designed the sets and costumes, is credited as the creator of the lighting concept, and author of the libretto. It takes place in modern times, with a score that ranges from Tchaikovsky to contemporary music. But, of course, under all the innovation is the heart-breaking tale of love and betrayal that has captivated readers and audiences for more than a century. Anna K premiered in Hamburg in 2017, and this production has been done with the National Ballet of Canada. Tickets for Friday and Saturday night are available on the Bolshoi site or here.
Tapestries at Tsaritsyno
On Thursday the Museum-Estate of Tsaritsyno opened a ground-breaking show of works created by the short-listed winners of the Triennale of textile art and contemporary tapestries. The museum, which has the country’s largest collection of 20th century tapestries and decorative textiles, has been really upping its game in recent years. They have plans to support textile artists and make part of the estate the venue for experimental works done in the ancient yet endlessly evolving art. The Triennale judges received more than 200 submissions from 12 countries; about 70 works done in the widest possible styles and materials, from silk to tin cans, are being shown both outside and inside. There is also a “satellite” show of works by the Latvian artist Edīte Pauls-Vīgnere, a celebrated textile artist and sister of one of the Soviet Union’s favorite composers, Raimond Pauls. The Triennale is just a small part of the pleasures of Tsaritsyno. For more information, see the site here.
Note: Tsarisyno is a “covid-free” zone. Entrance to the park is open to anyone, but the museums only allow visitors with a QR code for vaccination or PCR test.
Save the Date: Arkhstoyanie July 23-25
For the last 15 years the art landscape park in Nikola-Lenivets, Kaluga region, has held a summer festival called Arkhstoyanie. Come for a weekend spent wandering through fields and woods to discover structures and arts objects, dance to music, watch some performances — and participate in it all with your family. Among the new art objects for this year’s festival, which focuses on inclusive spaces, is a shiny pipe shooting out over a cliff with a living space inside. This piece is called Russian Ideal and created by Sergei Kuznetsov, chief architect of the Moscow. Another piece is Vladimir Nasedkin’s Drunken Fence, supported by the A-Z Museum, an old friend of the park, which also supports other art and performances of the festical. Vasilia Prokopchuk and Yevgeny Bragin won a competition for an inclusive art space that they call the Impenetrable Chalice: a large space with “branches” hanging down for people of every age and level of ability to navigate. Music concerts, performances and other merriment complete the weekend. For more information on tickets, lodging opportunities, and transfers from Moscow, see the site here.
For Kids: Jump into a cartoon
VDNH Park is a great place to visit on a hot weekend, when kids get antsy and adults get testy. The fountains entertain and cool; there are plenty of cafes and treat-sellers; kids can run around without ever seeing a car; and there are ways to both fascinate children and let them work off extra energy. If you haven’t visited the Soyuz Cartoon Park, this might be the perfect weekend. You and your kids enter inside some of the country’s favorite cartoons — some are familiar, like Winnie Pooh, and some are instantly loved, like the little hedgehog lost in the fog. Dozens of interactive attractions let kids color with a huge paintbrush, create sounds by touching lighted “ice” panels in the caverns of the Snow Queen’s palace, use a lantern to guide that poor little hedgehog out of the dense fog, or strap themselves into a space chair, put on special glasses and fly off into the world of animated films. The day is pricey – about 1500 rubles per person — but who cares if your overheated kids enjoy themselves and learn a bit about the rich traditions of Soviet animation. For more information, see the site here.
The big release this weekend in Moscow is the new Marvel film “Black Widow” starring Scarlet Johansen as Natasha Romanoff with a cast of American, European and Russian stars. You can see it at Pioner and many other theaters all weekend. Another action flick is “Surge” playing at the cinema in DomJour (Journalists House) on Arbat Square this Saturday. Then there is “Shoplifters of the World” about a young man in 1987 who holds a radio station host hostage, demanding to play only The Smiths all night to win over the girl he loves. Actually, it looks fun. It’s also playing all over the city this weekend. For kids, there is still the very charming “Luca” at various cinemas, “Cruella” at many venues, and “Space Jam 2,” an animated film starring basketball champion LeBron James and his son Dom (Cedric Joe) who find themselves trapped in a virtual space ruled by a tyrannical A.I. If you understand all that, you and your kids will love this film, which is playing at several places around the city.