2015 – The Year of Russia in Monaco, showcases the 150 year-old historical and cultural heritage shared by the Principality and Russia.
This initiative was conceived by HSH Prince Albert II during an official visit to Moscow last year. “It consists of events held on Monegasque territory,” Prince Albert explained, “as well as initiatives aimed at showcasing the diversity of the relations that exist between Russia and Monaco, particularly at the cultural level, but also in the fields of history, education, science, economics, sport, charities, gastronomy and fashion.”
Highlights of the year-long programme of events include performances by the Bolshoi Ballet, symphony concerts and soirées featuring the music of some of Russia’s greatest composers – Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky, Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev and Shostakovich – and a performance by the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra at the Prince’s Palace, conducted by Valery Gergiev. The Red Army Choir will sing at the Formula 1 gala dinner, and operatic highlights include performances of the Shostakovich opera, Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, and Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta.
There’s a a conference on Russian Art at the Fine Art Gallery of Russian Masters, exhibitions by avant-garde and contemporary Russian artists, Russian films, Russian gastronomic experiences – at restaurants of the Société des Bains de Mer – sporting events, and exhibitions of historic, oceanographic and scientific interest – at the Naval Museum, the Oceanographic Museum and the Prehistoric Anthropology Museum.
“I am delighted that several of the leading exponents of Russian culture are honouring us with their presence,” said Prince Albert. “I should like to thank and ongratulate all the organisers of the events and initiatives, my Government and the Russian authorities, whose support was particularly valuable, and extend my warm wishes of success to this wonderful operation.”
The Year of Russia in Monaco opens officially on December 19th, with a performance by the Bolshoi Ballet of The Taming of the Shrew, a work choreographed for the Bolshoi by the Monte-Carlo Ballet’s Artistic Director, Jean-Christophe Maillot, earlier this year.
This project was unusual in two important respects. It’s rarely that the Bolshoi invites a foreign choreographer to create a complete work for its company of 250 dancers, and The Taming of the Shrew was the first ballet which J-C Maillot choreographed for any company other than the Monte-Carlo Ballet. Inspired by the work of the greatest playwright in the English language, Maillot based his creation on Shakespeare’s fiery battle of wills between the flamboyant Petruchio and the quarrelsome Katharina. These alone would be reasons to make this work unmissable, and the fact that the ballet received a standing ovation at its premiere in Moscow in July underlines the importance of its first performance in the Principality.
Maillot’s creative and production team was drawn from a group of artists with whom he has developed long and trusted relationships. His Choreographic Assistant was Bernice Coppieters – Prima Ballerina of the Ballets de Monte-Carlo – with participation by Josu Zabala. Dramatisation is by author, Jean Rouaud, set design by Ernest Pignon-Ernest, and lighting by Dominique Drillot.
The score is drawn from a selection of works by Dmitri Shostakovich – mainly those written for the cinema – and the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra is directed by Igor Dronov, Professor of Conducting at the Moscow Conservatory, conductor of the Russian Philharmonia, and guest conductor for a number of Russian and international orchestras.
There are three performances of The Taming of the Shrew, at the Grimaldi Forum on 19th, 20th and 21st December. For further information and tickets, contact the Grimaldi Forum on +377 99 99 20 00, or by email. For full details of The Year of Russia in Monaco, please visit the official website.
All photos © Alice Blangero; Bolshoi principals, Ekaterina Krysanova and Vladislav Lantratov, in J-C Maillot’s The Taming of the Shrew