What’s new in Moscow and St. Petersburg from December 17 to 19
While December and January can present all kinds of challenges for city dwellers – snow, slush, ice and freezing temperatures – it is also that wonderful time of year, where everything is festive and beautifully decorated holiday trees stand out. stand proudly in the town squares. December has some great concerts, and the long holidays (December 31 to January 10) will be filled with lighter music, including European and Russian Christmas songs and medleys. Here are our choices.
MusicAeterna conducted by Theodor Currentzis
In December, residents of the two Russian capitals will have the chance to hear MusicAeterna in two programs: the first in Moscow with Dmitry Shostakovich’s Fourth Symphony and a work by modern composer Marko NikodijeviÄ, the second in St. Petersburg consisting of the work of Igor Stravinsky famous ballet suites “The Firebird” and “Petrushka”. The orchestra will perform at the Moscow Conservatory December 27 and in the St. Petersburg Philharmonic December 29. From Currentzis we can expect new and passionate interpretations of these complex works. MusicAeterna accompanied them with an educational series including lectures on Shostakovich, analysis of his Fourth Symphony and panel discussions. All educational events are free (registration required), while concerts are at the top of the ticket price range. For more information on events, see the site here.
Cine-concerts at the Moscow Conservatory
Moscow is following in the footsteps of major European and American concert halls by organizing film screenings accompanied by live music. On December 18, the Moscow Conservatory offers three screenings of “Frozen” with live music. On December 25 at 8 p.m. you will be able to see National Geographics’ “Fly over Russia” with live orchestral accompaniment. Conductor Sergei Tararine will conduct the Russian Philharmonic Orchestra.
St. Petersburg Music Festivals
St. Petersburg hosts two major festivals with a number of concerts to choose from featuring many international and Russian artists in its two major classical music venues: the Mariinsky Theater and the St. Petersburg Philharmonic. The Mariinsky Concert Hall will host another edition of its famous and much-loved International Piano Festival with performances by Denis Matsuyev, Dmitry Shiskin, Alexander Kantorow and Boris Berezovsky, among others, under the direction of Valery Gergiev. The festival takes place from December 21 to 31; see the site for details and tickets. The Saint Petersburg Philharmonic will open the Place des Arts Festival on December 10 with a recital by French cellist Gautier CapuÃ§on and Russian pianist Nikolai Lugansky. Other international stars who have come to St. Petersburg to take part in the festival include Sayaka Shoji, Alexandre Kantorow, conductor Ion Marin, singer Elina Garanca, pianists Rudolph Buchbinder and AndrÃ¡s Schiff. For details and tickets, see the site here.
European music at Zaryadye concert hall and churches
If you want to experience the Christmas atmosphere in Europe or the United States, come to the Zaryadye Concert Hall in Moscow for several exciting events: the famous tenor Ian Bostridge sings Schubert’s vocal cycle “Die Winterreise” accompanied by Julius Drake at the piano on December 31. 17; a program of baroque works by Henry Purcell and Georg Handel dedicated to Saint Cecilia performed by the Pratum Integrum orchestra and the INTRADA ensemble, conducted by Christian Kernin, on December 21; a Christmas concert by the Cantus boys’ choir with works by Britten, Poulenc, Mozart, Handel on December 25; and an organ concert with Swedish organist Gunnar Idenstam on December 27. For more information and tickets, see the site here. The Peter and Paul Cathedral in Moscow is a wonderful place for Christmas music. Peter and Paul Cathedral will host a Christmas concert on December 19 and a concert by the Debut boys’ choir accompanied by organ on December 28. For more information and to obtain tickets, see the site here.