By Tatiana Vlasova
“The year has been full of projects,” notes Tadeush Struzhetsky, Belarus’ Deputy Culture Minister. Tour activity has intensified, with our leading groups performing in Moscow, St. Petersburg and other Russian cities. The With Love from Belarus pop tour featured leading performers and pop bands while the State Academic Symphony Orchestra of Belarus performed in Moscow, alongside the State Dance Company of Belarus and the Yanka Kupala National Academic Theatre.
The Days of Belarusian Culture were hosted by St. Petersburg and included a gala-concert by Belarusian pop stage masters, a concert by the State Chamber Orchestra of Belarus at the Hermitage Concert Hall and a round table discussion of writers. Events also took place in Yaroslavl, where a thematic exhibition from the Maxim Bogdanovich Literary Museum went on show. Days of Belarusian Cinema were hosted by various Russian regions.
The Legend of Ulenspiegel ballet was staged at the State Academic Bolshoi Theatre of Russia, marking the solemn opening of the Year of Belarusian Culture. Its music was composed by Russian-born Belarusian classic Yevgeny Glebov while the choreography and staging were prepared by Valentin Yelizariev, People’s Artiste of Belarus and the USSR; it involved artists from the National Academic Bolshoi Opera and Ballet Theatre of Belarus and is considered to be a pearl of classical Belarusian legacy.
Brest Fortress — a film by Alexander Kott — has been a wonderful example of co-operation and a symbol of this year. The picture premiered in Brest, with veterans among the audience, and greatly impressed everyone. Later, it was also premiered as part of the opening of the Listapad Film Festival. Moscow hosted the Days of Belarusian Cinema and our country was an honorary guest at a book fair in the Russian capital.
The Year of Belarusian Culture in Russia finished with a performance by Belye Rosy — a song, music and dance ensemble; the event was hosted by the Tchaikovsky Hall, including a performance by Natkhnenne — a straw weaving studio.
“Belye Rosy ensemble was established in 1987, in Grodno, and has won prestigious festivals,” explains Belye Rosy’s Artistic Leader, Vera Chichina. “It’s very popular abroad. We give almost the same number of concerts abroad as we do in Belarus: we have a 16 year contract with Spain and a 10 year contract with France. Foreigners ask us to stage former USSR national dances, as our repertoire covers Russian, Ukrainian and Georgian dance.”
Your dancers have wonderful costumes.
Our costumes are hand-made, sewn by the artistes themselves.
You also play unusual instruments.
We have dulcimers, which are Belarusian instruments. However, we also play the lyra and duda.
Why is this performance so important to you?
The road to Russia is again open to us. Long ago, we arrived in Kuban feeling worried, as we were a provincial band. However, after our performance, the governor showed us the newspaper reviews, saying: ‘Look, how well they’re writing about you!’
A programme has been signed for further collaboration between our two countries. The Year of Belarusian Culture and the Year of Russian Culture will continue into the future.