Moscow embraces the arts

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The opening of the 11th Annual 'Sweet Cherry Forest' Open Arts Festival has taken place in Moscow.

The 2011 Festival is being held as part of the Sochi 2014 Cultural Olympiad Year of the Theatre which is a unique project designed to encompass all of Russia, preserve and increase the cultural wealth of Russia, involve every citizen in a grand celebration and acquaint guests of the Olympic Games with the uniqueness of Russian culture. Among the major theatrical events planned are the Moscow premiere of the play 'Jewess' as performed by the Mikhailovsky Theatre, the world premiere of 'Lost Illusions' at the Bolshoi Theatre and the Russian premiere of 'The Giacomo Variations' with Ingeborga Dapkunaite and John Malkovich. In the tradition of bringing together different genres, the Festival will also host the 'Folk Art of the Russian North' exhibition, a concert performed by the National Philharmonic of Russia under the direction of Vladimir Spivakov, and Ilya Averbukh's ice show 'Big City Lights'. The 'Sweet Cherry Forest' Festival will continue until 31 May 2011. Dmitry Chernyshenko, Sochi 2014 president and CEO, highlighted: The aim of all our activities under the Cultural Olympiad is to reach the heart of each citizen of the Russia to unite traditions and innovations. The Sweet Cherry Forest Festival, with its numerous premiers and the wide variety of genres, is considered one of the brightest events of Year of theatre of the Sochi 2014 Cultural Olympiad. In honour of the Cultural Olympiad Year of the Theatre, the Festival's traditional activity – the planting of cherry trees – will occur in park opposite to the Marina station building in Sochi. Cherry trees, planted by the Festival's participants, already grow in a number of areas of Moscow, including the Neskuchny Sad at Gorky Park, the square of the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts and the All–Russia Exhibition Center and in Skolkovo. The trees are also grown in St Petersburg at the Mikhailovsky Garden of the Russian Museum and in Sorrento, Italy. The executive director of the Sweet Cherry Forest Open Arts Festival, Edith Kusnirovich, said: We are pleased to be staging the Sweet Cherry Forest Open Festival for the 11th occasion. We particularly cherish the word 'open' as we are open to all of the arts welcome both young artists and their respected elders, are open to a wide audience and our performance and exhibition spaces are extremely diverse – halls and stadiums, stations and platforms, squares, gardens and parks. The Sochi 2014 Cultural Olympiad began four years before the 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. Between 2010 to 2014, more than a thousand different cultural events will take place in the city of Sochi. Each year of the Cultural Olympiad will be dedicated to a different art: 2010 was the Year of the Cinema, 2012 will be the Year of Music, and 2013 the Year of the Museum. This year, the second year of the Cultural Olympiad, was declared as the Year of the Theatre. As part of the 2011 festivities, more than 800 events are planned to be held which will attract more than a half million people. Among them are concerts dedicated to art music, classical ballets and guest performances by internationally acclaimed theatres. In addition, Modern theatrical shows and meetings with actors, directors and theatre critics also await guests and residents of the city of Sochi. The Year of the Theatre will also host a series of contests for young theatre companies which will transform the theatres of Sochi into venues for new interpretations and spaces for new ideas.

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