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Moscow’s Cultural Calendar | 10 Unmissable Events In Summer 2014
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Moscow’s Cultural Calendar | 10 Unmissable Events In Summer 2014

Picture of Karolina Chojnowska
Updated: 9 February 2017
Moscow in the summertime is buzzing with cultural activities, from music and film festivals, to art exhibitions, to more curious events such as traditional tea ceremonies. Russia’s capital makes fine use of its glorious palaces, museums and parks, to put on a cultural agenda to fill the sunshine months in the city. Our curated selection of ten unmissable events showcases Moscow’s best attractions this summer.
Moscow Summer Night | © Dmitry Sumin/Flickr

Theater | Chekhov International Theater Festival

Until December

The Chekhov International Theater Festival has been running since 1992, and its line-up only gets richer and more diverse as the years go on. The festival, which runs every summer, regularly features joint Russian productions with countries as far apart as Brazil, China and Sweden. The event organizers maintain that theater has an important role to play in the international cultural sphere, and have set out to encompass a wide audience while not forsaking quality. This year the Chekhov Festival is supported by the Ministry Of Culture Of The Russian Federation and the British Council. The the line-up includes performances of, among others, A Midsummer’s Night Dream, Hamlet, and Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard.

Chekhov International Theatre Festival, 21/1, Leontievsky per., Moscow, Russia, + 7 495 223 9650

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Music | Ahmad Tea Music Festival

June 7

The Ahmad Tea Music Festival, with its focus wholly on the British music scene, is happening again this year on the Moscow River quay. The Ahmad festival was set up to bring the best of British music to Moscow for its ever-expanding fan-base. Not just for locals however, this small festival will give any visitor the chance to see some of the best of contemporary music coming out of the UK at the moment. This year will welcome acts such as Elbow, Bombay Bicycle Club, Peace, and Palma Violets.

Ahmad Tea Music Festival, Moscow, Russia, +7 499 238 3396

Tsaritsyno Museum
Tsaritsyno Museum | © Marina Lystseva/WikiCommons
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Literature | Memory of the Future – Literature Exhibit at Tsaritsyno Museum

Until August 4

Tsaritsyno Museum, located in the beautiful grounds of Tsaristyno park, will give the public access to a collection celebrating Russian literary history. The exhibition is called Memory Of The Future and contains over 1,000 artifacts, rare editions, photographs, drawings and letters. Within this collection is a copy of One Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovich signed by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn; voice recordings of Leo Tolstoy and Boris Pasternak; and a set of rings exchanged between Vladimir Mayakovsky and Lilya Brik. In examining Russia’s literary past, the exhibition seeks to imagine what may be in store for Russia’s literary future.

Tsaritsyno Museum, 1, ul. Dolskaya, Moscow, Russia, +7 495 321 6366

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Culture | Afisha Picnic

July 19

Afisha Picnic is a one-day music festival held every summer in Kolomenskoye Park, a former royal estate south of Moscow. Alongside Kolomenskoye runs the Moskva River, just one of the many geographical and archaeological features which make the park deserving of its UNESCO World Heritage award. Afisha Picnic combines art installations, gastronomy and music by local and international performers. On the main stage this year are a number of acts not to be missed: Jamiroquai, MGMT, and Suede to name but a few. Smaller tents and stages will be set up for lectures, workshops and all manner of street theater performances. As a festival for the senses, Afisha Picnic excels across the board, offering a day of good music, good food, and a chance for artists from different creative fields to interact and share their work with the public.

Afisha Picnic, Andropov Avenue, 39, Moscow, Russia, +7 495 780 7967

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Food | Russian Tea Ceremony At The Hotel Metropol Moscow

Until June 17

Over three-quarters of Russians drink tea daily, giving it a level of cultural importance anyone who has visited Britain can relate to. After its introduction into the country, the ceremonies surrounding tea-drinking in Russia grew in complexity. It is the traditions formed during the 18th and 19th centuries that the Shalyapin Bar at the Hotel Metropol is celebrating. In the mid-19th century tea-drinking was taken up with gusto by various echelons of the Russian social scene, and the idea won out that tea was not to be had by itself. Guests at the Metropol are therefore treated to an assortment of traditional accompaniments, such as the famous Russian pancakes topped with red caviar, roast beef sandwiches, and an array of sweet rolls. The experience is made to feel all the more authentic by the elegant silverware in which everything is served. Sittings take place every afternoon and the ideal group size for a visit is between two and four people.

Hotel Metropol, 2 Teatralnyy proyezd, Moscow, Russia, +7 499 501 7800

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Art | Great Painters Of The Renaissance At The Pushkin Museum Of Fine Arts

Until July 27

The paintings on show at this exhibition span the period between the 15th and 16th centuries, when the Renaissance masters were producing their finest works. The Carrara Academy Gallery in Bergamo has loaned the Pushkin Museum 58 paintings, including works by Pisanello, Boticelli, Jacopo, and Lorenzo Lotto. The artworks are displayed in chronological order to give visitors a sense of the progression of the artistic movement as they wander through the cavernous rooms of the Pushkin Museum. Among the many great paintings on display is the Portrait Of A Child Of The House Of Redetti by the famed Italian painter Giovan Battista Moroni. He is regarded as a painter of prodigious talent who put his efforts into capturing the everyday lives of his fellow citizens of Bergamo.

The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, ulitsa Volkhonka 12, Moscow, Russia, +7 495 697 9578

Pushkin Museum
Pushkin Museum | © Shakko/WikiCommons
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Music And Art | Fountains In Tsaritsyno Park

Throughout summer

In the grounds of Tsaritsyno Park, the advent of summer heralds more than just a colorful change in foliage; a vast network of nearly 1,000 water jets within the fountain pools are prepared for the season’s synchronized light and sound shows. The mechanical geysers fire streams of water up to heights of 45 feet, which are illuminated by the thousands of colored lights installed below. An evening’s performance is often accompanied by the classical music with the range varying consistently and can even include the latest international chart-toppers. The beautiful estate is home to the unfinished palace of the Russian Empress Catherine The Great, and a stroll around the grounds is a perfect way to spend a summer’s evening in the capital.

Tsaritsyno Museum-Reserve, Dolskaya Street 1, Moscow, Russia,‎ +7 495 321 63 66

Film | Moscow International Film Festival

June 19 – 28

The Moscow International Film Festival is one of the oldest in the world — Sergei Eisenstein sat on the festival’s first jury — having been held sporadically since 1935 and then consecutively from 1959. The organizers pride themselves on giving recognition to local and international talent, both in the past and present. Japan’s Kurosawa and Italy’s Fellini were given awards for their expansive contributions, while more recent prizes have been handed out to the French actress Catherine Deneuve and the American Harvey Keitel. The festival bills itself as one not only for journalists and industry insiders but as one inclusive of a wider audience. The MIFF provides the opportunity to see the best of contemporary Russian cinema, as well as a geographically diverse pool of films from abroad.

Moscow International Film Festival, 11 Maly Kozikhinsky lane, Moscow, Russia, +7 495 725 2622

State Historical Museum
State Historical Museum | © Marc Veraart/Fotopedia
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History | Japanese Meiji Bronze Exhibition at the State Historical Museum

Until June 30

The State Historical Museum has been collecting bronze sculptures from Meiji-era Japan since the 1920s. The pieces on display at the museum are mainly from Russian private collectors, who, for generations since the late 19th century, have been collecting Japanese bronzes. 35 objects stand in the exhibit hall, among them ornate vases and a series of sculptures. The Meiji era in Japan was one of great social and political upheaval, which gave rise to artistic movements shaped by Japan’s evolution from an isolated feudal society to a powerful player on the world stage. Among the bronze figures on display is a crayfish whose legs move by means of mechanical ingenuity. A video of the exhibit hints at what lies in store for any visitor.

State Historical Museum, 1 Krasnaya ploshad, Moscow, Russia, +7 495 692 4019

Bolshoi Theatre
Courtesy of the Bolshoi Theater
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Ballet | Summer At The Bolshoi

Throughout summer

Moscow’s internationally renowned Bolshoi Theater has been the stage for some of the greatest ballet and opera performances in history. During the summer season, the theater will see a host of events which will have both locals and visitors vying for the best seats. Ballet maintains a strong popularity in the nation’s capital and the Bolshoi regularly boasts the cream of the crop when it comes to sopranos, tenors and baritones. This summer, the following performances are just a few of the delights awaiting those fortunate enough to go the Bolshoi: Eugine Onegin, La Boheme, Carmen, The Taming Of The Shrew, and La Traviata. Tours of the theater can be taken in the English language on Mondays and Fridays.

Bolshoi Theatre, 1 Theatre Square, Moscow, Russia, +7 495 455 5555