Since 1998, the City of Cannes has hosted an annual celebration of the artistic creativity of Russia – the Festival de l’Art Russe – which was established to develop the intercultural exchange between Russia and France, marking the historic friendship which exists between the two countries.
One of the highlights of the summer season in Cannes, the Festival runs from 23rd to 27th August at the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès de Cannes, and features an extravaganza of dance, music, film and gastronomy, under the direction of Executive Producer Tatiana Shumova, Vice President of the Russian Cultural Foundation.
The celebrations get off to a fascinating and colourful start with a performance by the Folkloric Ballet of Khakassia. The Republic of Khakassia is part of the Russian federation, and situated in southern Siberia. This performance brings together two ensembles of the Philharmonic Society of Khakassia – the Kÿn Susy (Sunbeam) dance ensemble, created in 2007, and the Ülger (Constellation) song and dance ensemble, established in 1989. They present a work entitled Altin Köök, created in 2014, which features songs and dances which have their origins in the heart of the Khakassian culture. The Kÿn Susy group, under the direction of choreographer Natalia Apunevich, is so popular that it often gives two or three performances per day, even in remote parts of the country. The Folkloric Ballet of Khakassia – most recently seen at the Carnival of Venice in February – performs in the Théâtre Debussy of the Palais des Festivals on 23rd August.
The following evening, this grand waterfront complex of auditoria and salons hosts a celebration of Russian gastronomy, the Dîner-Spectacle: La Nuit Russe, in the impressive setting of the Salon des Ambassadeurs. While they dine, guests will be treated to a programme of Russian songs and folklore, followed by a fireworks display on the terrace.
Thursday 25th August has been designated the day of Russian cinema, on which three films will be screened at the Salle Estérel. Voyage vers la mère by Mikhail Kosyrev-Nesterov (2014) is a Franco-Russian production, adapted from the novel by Nicolas Planchais, which stars Adèle Exarchopoulos and Artiom Alexeiev. Téhéran 43 (Assassination Attempt), Alexandre Alov and Vladimir Naoumov‘s 1981 espionage thriller, was based on the the 1943 attempt by Nazi Germany to assassinate Churchill, Stalin and Roosevelt during the Teheran Conference. It features Alain Delon, Natalya Belokhvostikova, Armen Dzhigarkhanyan, Igor Kostolevsky, Albert Filozov and Claude Jade. Stanislav Govoroukhine’s 2015 dramatic comedy La fin d’une magnifique époque (The End of a Great Era) was based on Sergey Dovlatov’s book The Compromise (Le Compromis) which tells of his experiences as a journalist in the Soviet Republic of Estonia. It features Ivan Kolesnikov and Svetlana Khodtchenkova.
There’s a beautiful concert taking place at the Villa Domergue on Friday, 26th August – a performance by the soloists of the Academy of Young Singers of the Mariinsky Theatre. Accompanied by pianist Larissa Guerguieva, they’ll pay homage to one of their country’s greatest composers, in a programme which features arias from operas by Tchaikovsky, and traditional Russian songs.
The final performance in this five-day Russian festival is the spectacular Homage to Russian Classical Ballet. With students of the Moscow State Academy of Choreography (Artistic Director Mikhail Lavrovsky), soloists Evgeny Zhukov and Daria Yurchenko of the Stanislavsky Theatre of Moscow, and Bolshoi Ballet soloist Anastasia Zakharova, young dancers and stars will present an evening of sheer delight for lovers of ballet. The programme of traditional and new works includes extracts from Giselle, Coppélia and Don Quixote, divertissements choreographed to music by Delibes, Tchaikovsky and Debussy, and a ballet by Igor Moiseyev – widely regarded as the greatest 20th century choreographer of character dances – set to Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.
In addition to all these attractions, the Palais des Festivals will also host two exhibitions during the course of the Russian Art Festival. In the Espace Toscan du Plantier, there’ll be an exhibition devoted to the history of Soviet cinema, to mark the 100th anniversary of the Gorky Film Studio which was founded in 1915 and which – by the end of the Soviet era – had produced more than 1,000 films. Mounted in co-operation with the Central Museum of Contemporary History of Russia, it will feature costumes, posters, photographs, cameras and projection equipment, as well as extracts from films produced by the studio.
In the foyer of the Théâtre Debussy, an exhibition entitled Les Arabesques de la Côte d’Azur 2016 will highlight works by students of some of the greatest schools of fine art in Russia with a display of their art and artistic expression.
Prior to the launch of the main Festival, there’ll be an opportunity to look into the future of the arts in Russia, with three concerts to be presented under the banner The Festival of Young Russia. The first two, entitled La Joie, feature the Orthodox Choirgirls of the Tcherno Ostrovskiy Monastery of Saint Nicholas of Maloyaroslavets. They’ll be performing at the Church of Our Lady of Hope, in the Suquet, on Saturday, 20th August, and at the Church of Our Lady of the Pines, on Sunday 21st August. On the following evening there’ll be a recital by young soloists from both the Moscow Conservatory and the Conservatoire de Cannes. The programme features pianists Ilya Maksakov and Marguerite Avetisian, soprano Yana Fedorova and baritone Maxime Martelot, both of whom will be accompanied on the piano by Laurène Léoni. This performance takes place at the Church of Our Lady of Good Voyage on 22nd August.
This article first appeared on the website of Riviera Buzz