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    CULTURAL LIFE IN RUSSIA

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    MOSCOW, March 17, 2004. (RIA Novosti).

    * The Bolshoi Theater joined the international celebrations of the 100th anniversary of George Balanchine, a choreographer of genius. Last weekend Balanchine's six masterpieces premiered in the Bolshoi Theater. John Clifford and other choreographers having the right to Balanchine's ballets staged them with Bolshoi stars.

    John Clifford, who restored Balanchine's 25 ballets, staged three of them in the Bolshoi Theater, "Pas-de-deux" by Tchaikovsky, "Tarantella" and the famous "Agon" by Stravinsky. This 20-minute performance has more movements than the classical full-length ballet "The Sleeping Beauty", so dancers often call it "Agony". "Agon" was already shown in the Bolshoi Theater in 1991 and 1999 with Andris Liepa and Nina Ananiashvili starring. "Agon" was highly popular in America and ballet admirers were ready to buy tickets at any price.

    * The Moscow Photography House hosts a retrospective exhibition "On bodies and other things. German photography in the 20th century" as part of the program of Russian-German Cultural Events for 2003-2004. The exposition features 300 works by 56 German photographers reflecting the development of this art in Germany over a long period of time.

    Moscow is the third European city hosting this exhibition. It was shown in Prague in summer-fall 2003 and in winter, in Berlin. The tour will end in Bochum (Germany) in summer.

    * The Spirit-of-Fire 2nd international film debut festival opened in Khanty-Mansiisk (West Siberia). Well-known Russian film director Sergei Solovyov is its founding father and president.

    According to former Russian Culture Minister Mikhail Shvydkoi, young Russian filmmakers are moving up in cinematographic world. A review Russian Debuts-2003 ("The Return", "Boomer", "The Last Train", "Koktebel", etc.) was included in the program.

    Nine motion pictures from Russia, Kazakhstan, Mexico, France, Switzerland, etc., will be competing for the main prize.

    * The New British Cinema 4th international festival opened in Tomsk (a regional center in Siberia). It is sponsored by the British Council and the Tomsk regional administration. The festival features the best of new British films: "The Magdalene Sisters" by Peter Mullan (the 2002 Golden Lion award), "Revenger's Tragedy" by Alex Cox, "Lawless Heart" By Neil Hunter and Tom Hunsinger, "My Brother Tom" by Dom Rotheroe and "Jump Tomorrow" by Joel Hopkins.

    This festival was held in Tomsk for the first time in March 2002 and enjoyed great success. It was timed to the opening of the British Council Center. According to Roman Poberezhnikov, the head of the local film and video association, this festival is highly popular in Tomsk.

    This year the British Council organizes a contest on the topics "Realism in British films", "British and European cinema", and "Comparison of Russian and British film culture". Everyone can submit works in Russian and in English. Winners will get valuable prizes.

    * Students and graduates from architecture institutes all over Russia are involved in the open contest for participation in the 9th Architectural Biennale-2004 in Venice. Winners will join the Russian Architectural Studio project presented at the Biennale in summer-fall 2004.

    According to representatives of the Russian Culture Ministry and State Museum and Exhibition Center, the project is based on a new concept. Unlike traditional static expositions, the Russian project will be a constantly changing one. The Russian pavilion will host project seminar workshops for Russian students and young architects conducted by the world's best architects. Ten seminars will be held in ten weeks. Ten Russian students and young architects will be involved in each of them. Thus, 100 architects from all Russian regions will be able to visit Venice, see modern architectural achievements and get professional experience.

    The jury consisting of leading Russian and foreign architects will select 100 participants for the Biennale.

    * On March 23-28 Moscow will be hosting Sergei Paradzhanov's Week dedicated to the 80th anniversary of the film director's birth. A complete retro show of Paradzhanov's films will be held featuring his masterpieces "Red Pomegranate", "The Legend of Surahm Fortress", "The Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors" and "Ashik-Kerib".

    Art and photo exhibitions, a research conference, concerts and the premiere of a documentary "Orpheus Descends into Hell" will be held as well.

    Sergei Paradzhanov (1924-1990) played a great role in the development of world cinematography. He is equal to such masters as Fellini, Pasolini and Antonioni. Paradzhanov is also known for his collages, ceramic works, installations and puppets.

    Many of them were improvised in prison where he spent four years for ideological reasons.

    The 3rd Moscow Easter Festival sponsored by the Russian Culture Ministry and the Moscow government will be held on April 11-27 in Veliky Novgorod, Vologda, Vladimir, Kostroma, Nizhny Novgorod, St. Petersburg, Ryazan, Tver and Yaroslavl.

    The symphony orchestra and choir of the Mariinsky Theater (art director Valery Gergiyev), orchestra and choir of Belgium's Collegium Vocale Gent (conductor Philippe Herreweghe), viola player Yuri Bashmet, violinist Leonidas Kavakos (Greece), pianist Lang Lang (China) and many others will participate in the festival, which was granted the federal status in 2003.

    Russian music will be the highlight of festival programs. Performances will be held in Moscow's largest churches and concert halls. Participants will give charity concerts at children's music schools, hospitals and veterans' homes.

    Bell music concerts will take place during the Bell-Ringing Week.

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