March 23, 2020

Performing for Empty Halls: Online Cultural Resources


Performing for Empty Halls: Online Cultural Resources
Museums and cultural sites are closing down due to the coronavirus pandemic, but that doesn't mean you can't still see concerts! Image by ruthchia via Pixabay

With most of the world staying home, people are looking for ways to stay entertained. Thankfully, many cultural institutions are making resources available online for free, and Russia’s cultural sites are no different. Here are a few sites you can also check out without leaving your sofa!

For starters, St. Petersburg’s Alexandrinsky Theater is moving the premier of its newest play, “Mauzer,” online. It will be the first time in the 264-year history of the theater that a play will be performed without an audience watching.

Another project, Stay Home with Russian Seasons, kicks off March 23 and features cultural activities such as concerts and ballet recitals. The next day, March 24, Zaryadye Hall will feature the online broadcast of an organ concert by soloist Lada Labzina. More concerts will be broadcast online in the months of March and April.

A museum in Volgograd, Russia—My History, is developing materials to post on their Instagram account, @myhistory.vlg. They initiated this project at the request of local teachers, students, and museum visitors.

Cultural institutions aren’t the only ones helping to get online access to cultural material. Sberbank partnered with the online movie platform Okko to present Art Online, a collection of plays, concerts, virtual exhibits, and other video content from Russian cultural sites.

So, if you’re stuck at home and looking for a little cultural enrichment, check out some of these amazing Russian cultural resources!

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This gripping autobiography plays out against the backdrop of Russia's bloody Civil War, and was one of the first Western eyewitness accounts of life in post-revolutionary Russia. Marooned in Moscow provides a fascinating account of one woman's entry into war-torn Russia in early 1920, first-person impressions of many in the top Soviet leadership, and accounts of the author's increasingly dangerous work as a journalist and spy, to say nothing of her work on behalf of prisoners, her two arrests, and her eventual ten-month-long imprisonment, including in the infamous Lubyanka prison. It is a veritable encyclopedia of life in Russia in the early 1920s.
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Life Stories: Original Fiction By Russian Authors

The Life Stories collection is a nice introduction to contemporary Russian fiction: many of the 19 authors featured here have won major Russian literary prizes and/or become bestsellers. These are life-affirming stories of love, family, hope, rebirth, mystery and imagination, masterfully translated by some of the best Russian-English translators working today. The selections reassert the power of Russian literature to affect readers of all cultures in profound and lasting ways. Best of all, 100% of the profits from the sale of this book are going to benefit Russian hospice—not-for-profit care for fellow human beings who are nearing the end of their own life stories.
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Davai! The Russians and Their Vodka

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The story of the epic Spine of Russia trip, intertwining fascinating subject profiles with digressions into historical and cultural themes relevant to understanding modern Russia. 
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