Enjoy golden autumn
This year Moscow seems to have missed its usual “old woman’s summer,” those few days of warm weather that suddenly appear and as suddenly disappear amidst the cool days of fall. Instead we went from summer to gloomy autumn in the blink of an eye in early September. But after a month of rain and cloudy skies, Moscow has given us sunshine (if not warmth) and the brilliant bright yellows of a Moscow “golden autumn.” Next week we’ll be back to rain and gloom, so definitely get out this weekend and enjoy. In the city, some of the best places for strolling (and photographing golden leaves) are around Chistiye Prudy (nice cafes there, too); the overlooked Yekaterinsky park near Durov’s Corner, which has a lovely pond and gazebo (and plenty of golden-leaved maples); Neskuchny sad in Gorky Park (bring treats for the ducks and, if possible, a romantic partner); and the Hermitage Garden, with its 19th century vibe. Farther out are the great palace parks, especially Tsaritsyno and Kuskovo. Best of all is the Apothecary Garden right off the Ring Road on Prospekt Mira, where in addition to beautiful foliage you can see the biggest pumpkins in Russia or possibly the world, and the Botanical Gardens, where the rose garden is still showing off its blooms.
Celebrate cosmos week at VDNKh Park
If your kids (or you) got all excited about space travel this week when Russia send up a film crew to make a movie on the International Space Station, this might be a good weekend to visit the Cosmos Pavilion at VDNKh Park. It’s hosting a week-long festival with special events, talks, quests and even music on electronic and other instruments. Your kids can also see more than a hundred aircraft and space vehicles and lots of photographs, videos, documents and other materials about space travel. While you’re in the park, check out the Buran (and try to land it virtually). And then just stroll around and enjoy golden autumn while it lasts.
Enjoy one of Russia’s best concert pianists
On Saturday evening Alexei Goribol is putting on an unusual concert in the marvelous (and acoustically perfect) Zaryadye Concert Hall. Called “Selections,” it is, in fact, a very mixed evening of music. In the first half of the program Goribol, considered one of Russia’s finest chamber musicians, and other musicians will perform works by Shuman, Mahler, Tchaikovsky and other classical composers. In the second part of the evening will be music from theater, Soviet films, and ballet. In this half there will be singers, ballet dancers, musicians and actors. Goribol will play three roles as concert master, soloist and ensemble musician for the evening. Tickets are still available here.
Concerts in the Pushkin Museum: save the date and buy your tickets now
Every year the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts hosts a series of holiday concerts in the halls of the museum. Called the “Sviatoslav Richter December Evenings,” they are not only a kind of signal that begins the holiday season, they are also simply beautiful events that combine gorgeous music, magnificent art, and some of the finest musicians in Russia and the world. Next week on different days you can buy tickets for the 11 musical evenings in this year’s festival, which is entitled “Variations in Free-Style.” There is something for lovers of all kinds of music, from Western forms of religious music to music inspired by Japan, China and India; from contemporary electronic music to nocturnes or music of the baroque. The tickets go fast, so check to see the dates the tickets go on sale for each performance (click on the concert and “buy tickets” to find out). And get ready to enjoy the season. For information and ticket sales, see the site here.
Night at the movies
This weekend the pre-holiday movie schedule explodes, so plan on eating a lot of popcorn. If you’ve never seen it, you must see Sergei Eisenstein’s “Ivan the Terrible,” which has been restored and is being shown at several theaters around town on Saturday and Sunday. Even if your Russian isn’t very good, you’ll be able to follow the plot through the images, which are among the most powerful and famous in the history of film. Among the new arrivals is the latest Bond movie, “No Time To Die”; and “Bestsellers” with Michael Caine as a drunk and uncooperative writer forced to go on a speaking tour. Among films already released, you must see “Dune” if you haven’t already, or “Venom-2” with your older kids, or “Free Guy” about a guy in a video game from 2020, or “Klute” for Jane Fonda at her best.