The mayhem returns to Voronezh this week with one of the biggest and most exciting arts festivals in Russia hosting over 400 performers from 13 countries and thousands of visitors from all over Russia. Platonov Arts Festival will take over the city of Voronezh for nearly two weeks from June 6 until June 17 with elaborate pageants, singing and dancing shows, theatre premières, open-air concerts, art exhibitions, poetry readings, talks, workshops and book fairs. Launched eight years ago, it is the major cultural event in the region and the country, which aptly balances highbrow performances with spectacular street theatre shows. However, there are now so many events taking place at the same time in various parts of the city that you can't possibly make it to all of them. To help you make the most of it, we picked out the ones not to miss this year.
Street theatres invade Voronezh with colourful pageantry along the city's main thoroughfare and performances in public squares and parks. This year, the Pushkin-themed parade will be brought to life by award-winning director Anastasia Nefedova from Stanislavsky Electrotheatre in Moscow and art group KTOMY. The procession will be split in 15 parts, each covering a certain Pushkin's story and involving acting, singing, dancing, reading Pushkin's poems and interacting with the public. To see the metaphysical duel between the artist, the personality and the spectators, come to the Platonov Monument on the Revolyutsii Prospect on 12 June at 2pm.
The festival opens with the premiere of 100% Voronezh by Rimini-Protokoll Company from Switzerland and Germany. The show that has already taken Berlin, London, Copenhagen, Vienna, Amsterdam, Paris, Tokyo, Montreal and Melbourne by storm, has finally arrived to Voronezh. 100% Voronezh is a daringly smart documentary show whose performers are not actors but ordinary people from Voronezh who'll tell the truth about modern Voronezh life and discuss various topics throughout the show. Each of the 100 performers recruited based on their sex, age, nationality, family size, neighbourhood, etc. represent a cross-section of Voronezh's 1 million population.
Next up is La Verità show by Montreal-based Compagnia Finzi Pasca. This scenic extravaganza combining theatre, dance, music and acrobatics, was inspired by a backdrop painted by Salvador Dali for his Tristan Fou in the 1940's in New York. Then, there're two impressive shows produced by Angelin Preljocaj from National Choreographic Centre of Aix-en-Provence in France. The first show, La Fresque, is a folkloric narrative inspired by medieval Chinese tale and Oscar Wilde's The Portrait of Dorian Gray, while the other, Playlist#1, is a compilation of excerpts from ten of Preljocaj's solos, duos and ensembles. Finally, the festival closes with Wayne McGregor's Autobiography, a mysteriously beautiful and emotional choreographic show inspired by the science of genetics.
Given the fact that the festival takes place in the beginning of summer when days are long and it's finally warm and enjoyable to be outside, most of the concert venues are outdoors. The festival organisers found several picturesque spots inside and outside the city including a former chalkpit, a dam on the Voronezh Reservoir, Ramon Castle Park, and various squares in the city centre. The festival showcases both classical music performers, as well as folk, jazz, reggie, indie-folk, pop and electronic music.
Don't miss the World Music concert at the scenic White Well Chalkpit on the outskirts of Voronezh. This year's performers include Morgane Ji from France presenting her new album Woman Soldier, a folk duo from Ireland Saint Sister, and a multi-intrumentalist pop band from Tel Aviv Lola Marsh. Also, be sure to buy tickets to Tall Heights, a promising electrofolk duo from Boston performing in Russia for the first time.
For two weeks in June Voronezh's best art galleries and museums host various art exhibitions from all over Russia. Go to the Kramskoy Museum of Fine Arts to see the Industrial World of Alexander Rodchenko, the famous collection of Russian avant-garde painter's photos who's known for the use of extreme angles and dramatic manipulations of perspective. Also, don't miss the exhibition of paintings and drawings by Fernand Léger from the Pushkin Arts Museum in Moscow. Léger, who is considered as one of the forefathers of Cubism and Pop Art, turned his hand not only to painting, but also graphic design, ceramics and tapestry - all on display at the Kramskoy Museum.
The Exhibition Hall at 8 Kirova St. will host a superb exhibition of naïve art which juxtaposes works of professional artists from the 20th and 21st centuries - including Kazimir Malevich, Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin and Natalia Goncharova - with those of dilettante artists, who had no formal training - like the famous Niko Pirosmani, Henri Rousseau, Katya Medvedeva and others. The new festival venue at the former Governor's House will turn into a cinema hall showing retrospective of Russian-American actor (and Anton Chekhov's nephew) Michael Chekhov.