March 29, 2020

Homebound a la Russe


Homebound a la Russe

Theaters, museums, cinemas and libraries have all closed this month as the Russian government has moved to cut down on crowded venues. The soft lock-down (people are still allowed to walk outside, and public transit is open) is making culture venues especially reach out to their audiences. Now you can visit the Bolshoi Theater or the Tretyakov Gallery from the comfort of your own home. 

We've compiled some of the best options for Russian-style self-isolating. This page will be updated with more great offerings. Enjoy!

Music

Classical music lovers will appreciate a series put on by the Moscow Conservatory this month called "Home Seasons." The program was kicked off by pianist Denis Matsuev, who played in an empty conservatory to an online audience of some 1.5 million on March 20. That concert is still available online. 

Tune in to watch concerts streamed from the conservatory to an exclusively online audience, or to see pre-recorded shows, for example, a 2013 concert of Dmitri Hvorostovsky, who died of cancer in 2017 will be aired on April 2.

Ballet

If you're in the mood for ballet, tune in to the Bolshoi Theater's special online series, which started Friday with Swan Lake. Russia's legendary theater will be streaming some of its best classics over the next few days, starting shows at 7 PM Moscow time on its official YouTube channel. The shows will be available for the next 24 hours on the channel for people from inconvenient time zones.

On Saturday, the theater streamed Tchaikovsky's Sleeping Beauty, starring greats Svetlana Zakharova and David Hallberg, who has since departed the Bolshoi's troupe.

Theater

To watch other great productions Russia, check out the online program created by the Golden Mask festival (the festival had to cancel most of its shows this year because of the outbreak). Some of the best plays from previous years are available here.

Another platform is the culture ministry's Big Tour program done to build audiences for smaller or regional theaters. Go to their page to see offerings for that particular day, usually streamed at 7 PM Moscow time. 

Tourism

Streamings are also organized by Moscow's Department of Tourism, which will be offering both theatrical and gastronomical programs on its website "Moscow is with you." Tune in for 7 PM shows or twice-a-week online food preparation classes by capital chefs. The department has also compiled online programs from the city's various museums.

The Tretyakov Gallery has introduced online tours and lectures in a program called Tretyakovka at Home. Streamed on YouTube and Facebook, it gives the audience a chance to ask lectors and presenters questions. The program for the coming week has not yet been put online, but you can sign up to their mailing list or follow the museum's page on Facebook. And of course, view any of the past events. Unfortunately for non-Russian-speakers, they all seem to be in Russian only.

The State Hermitage calls its program Cultured Isolation: every day, it publishes recommended videos on a particular subject, showing viewers the secrets of storing stained glass, or explaining why Peter the Great had a great admiration of all things Dutch. Most of the streamed Russian programs can be found on the museum's YouTube channel

It is also preparing an English-language program, to begin airing soon, and last week it took Italians on a tour of the Winter Palace, in solidarity with Italy's museums and the mounting coronavirus toll in the country. 

Speaking of the Hermitage, perhaps you missed this 5-hour tour filmed on an iPhone earlier this month, which gathered over a million views. 

Movies

Finally, some new opportunities to watch movies have appeared in recent days, as cinemas have shuttered.

Kinopoisk, an online streaming platform owned by Yandex, has offered free service until the end of April. While a lot of the fare is Hollywood-made, some Russian films are also available. You can even indulge in some Russian-made series like Anna Nikolaevna, a freshly-made production about an android policewoman who is sent to work in provincial Russian town. (the free access code is POKAVSEDOMA)

Moscow's Center for Documentary Film has launched a platform with a free online subscription for ten days. Watch documentary classics, little-known festival items, and recently-released films like Russian Georgians, narrated by Leonid Parfyonov.

And for kids, Russian animation studio SoyuzMultfilm is publishing short animation films at 10AM Moscow time daily, as part of its festival SoyuzMultQuarantine.

And let's not forget the great site of Mosfilm, which allows one to view loads of films online for free.

Like this post? Get a weekly email digest + member-only deals

Some of Our Books

The Latchkey Murders

The Latchkey Murders

Senior Lieutenant Pavel Matyushkin is back on the case in this prequel to the popular mystery Murder at the Dacha, in which a serial killer is on the loose in Khrushchev’s Moscow...
Moscow and Muscovites

Moscow and Muscovites

Vladimir Gilyarovsky's classic portrait of the Russian capital is one of Russians’ most beloved books. Yet it has never before been translated into English. Until now! It is a spectactular verbal pastiche: conversation, from gutter gibberish to the drawing room; oratory, from illiterates to aristocrats; prose, from boilerplate to Tolstoy; poetry, from earthy humor to Pushkin. 
22 Russian Crosswords

22 Russian Crosswords

Test your knowledge of the Russian language, Russian history and society with these 22 challenging puzzles taken from the pages of Russian Life magazine. Most all the clues are in English, but you must fill in the answers in Russian. If you get stumped, of course all the puzzles have answers printed at the back of the book.
The Best of Russian Life

The Best of Russian Life

We culled through 15 years of Russian Life to select readers’ and editors’ favorite stories and biographies for inclusion in a special two-volume collection. Totalling over 1100 pages, these two volumes encompass some of the best writing we have published over the last two decades, and include the most timeless stories and biographies – those that can be read again and again.
Stargorod: A Novel in Many Voices

Stargorod: A Novel in Many Voices

Stargorod is a mid-sized provincial city that exists only in Russian metaphorical space. It has its roots in Gogol, and Ilf and Petrov, and is a place far from Moscow, but close to Russian hearts. It is a place of mystery and normality, of provincial innocence and Black Earth wisdom. Strange, inexplicable things happen in Stargorod. So do good things. And bad things. A lot like life everywhere, one might say. Only with a heavy dose of vodka, longing and mystery.
Russia Rules

Russia Rules

From the shores of the White Sea to Moscow and the Northern Caucasus, Russian Rules is a high-speed thriller based on actual events, terrifying possibilities, and some really stupid decisions.
Survival Russian

Survival Russian

Survival Russian is an intensely practical guide to conversational, colloquial and culture-rich Russian. It uses humor, current events and thematically-driven essays to deepen readers’ understanding of Russian language and culture. This enlarged Second Edition of Survival Russian includes over 90 essays and illuminates over 2000 invaluable Russian phrases and words.
Maria's War: A Soldier's Autobiography

Maria's War: A Soldier's Autobiography

This astonishingly gripping autobiography by the founder of the Russian Women’s Death Battallion in World War I is an eye-opening documentary of life before, during and after the Bolshevik Revolution.

About Us

Russian Life is a publication of a 30-year-young, award-winning publishing house that creates a bimonthly magazine, books, maps, and other products for Russophiles the world over.

Latest Posts

Our Contacts

Russian Life
PO Box 567
Montpelier VT 05601-0567

802-223-4955