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Best on-stage performance groups from Belarus tour to Moscow

Belarusian Seasons cooked according to Diaghilev’s recipe

Best on-stage performance groups from Belarus tour to Moscow

The Charge d’Affaires of Belarus to Russia, Yuri Yaroshevich, has told us what’s planned for the near future.

Pesnyary both here and there

Mr. Yaroshevich, how was the idea of Belarusian Seasons born?

Yuri Yaroshevich
To be fair, the idea is Sergei Diaghilev’s; at the beginning of the 20th century, he came up with the idea of holding ‘Russian Seasons’ abroad. He showed the best ballet and opera performances in Paris, London and other cities. It was a great success with the public.

In 2009, a brilliant dancer, Andris Liepa, brought Russian Seasons to Belarus. We thought why not make a return tour to Moscow?

This year, ‘Belarusian Seasons’ took place not only in the Russian capital...

In March, we were in Paris, in May in Vienna, and, in June, we visited Moscow. We want the whole world to know about our great culture. ‘Belarusian Seasons’ is not just a tour. For each audience and each city, we plan a special programme.

How do you decide which performances to show?

For the Moscow tour, we tried to win the heart of the Russian capital with a variety of performances. We held an exhibition of folk crafts and musical instruments and visitors were able to take part in a master class of Belarusian crafts. The programme included a performance by Byaseda folk group and national cuisine tasting.

We offered a rich theatrical programme. First, Muscovites saw ‘Eternal Song’ by the Republican Theatre of Belarusian Drama — a folk opera based on Yanka Kupala’s poem, synthesising folk motifs and rock music. One of the main roles in the play is performed by Igor Sigov, who often features in Russian TV series. When he appeared on stage, many viewers were surprised — they didn’t know that he was Belarusian!

When the play ‘Pesnyar’, about Vladimir Mulyavin, by the Gorky National Academic Drama Theatre, was performed, the theatre was crammed. Unfortunately, the hall couldn’t accommodate all those interested. For those who couldn’t get in, there was a broadcast via the mobile application Periscope. Besides, everyone was invited to see the play ‘Vytautas’ by the National Academic Bolshoi Opera and Ballet Theatre. It’s symbolic that the tour used the stage of the legendary Bolshoi Theatre:  Belarus’ top company brought to the main Russian stage a performance they are very proud of.

‘Belarusian Seasons’ ended on an historical note, with the exhibition ‘Burnt Villages of Belarus’, devoted to the 75th anniversary of the start of the Great Patriotic War.

Who is last in line for a potato pancake? Was it difficult to organise?

If you arrange an event and face no difficulties, then perhaps you aren’t stretching yourself. Naturally, we encountered some problems, but, with the support of Moscow authorities, we coped.

Many events were so popular it was impossible to gain a ticket.

Our embassy was responsible rather than a Moscow theatre or concert hall. Of course, our primary focus is on the diplomatic corps and the creative community of artists and critics. Other spectators are always welcome and our events are free.

What was you brightest impression?

The fact is that all our events were a sell-out. Representatives of authorities and people who love Belarusian culture attended and their genuine interest was obvious!

I’ll tell you something curious. Our cooks had to work in emergency mode: we had no idea that high-calorie draniki would be so popular. Girls lined up for potato pancakes and almost quarrelled with each other: they did not care about carbs at all!

And what about young people? Do you invite them to Belarusian holidays?

For sure. A huge number of leading universities in Moscow host Belarusian students. Moreover, many go to artistic high schools: Gnessin State Musical College, and the Moscow Academy of Choreography. We try to involve them in our activities.

By Tatiana Mysova
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