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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The Pet Hawk of the House of Abbas

The Pet Hawk of the House of Abbas

This exciting new trilogy by a Russian author – who has been compared to Orhan Pamuk and Umberto Eco – vividly recreates a lost world, yet its passions and characters are entirely relevant to the present day. Full of mystery, memorable characters, and non-stop adventure, The Pet Hawk of the House of Abbas is a must read for lovers of historical fiction and international thrillers.  
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...
The Spine of Russia

The Spine of Russia

This coffee table book is the photographic journal of an epic 6000-kilometer road trip. The book includes over 200 compelling images of Russians and Russian places met along the way, plus a dozen texts (in both English and Russian) on everything from business to education, from roads to fools.
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.
Driving Down Russia's Spine

Driving Down Russia's Spine

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. 
The Little Humpbacked Horse

The Little Humpbacked Horse

A beloved Russian classic about a resourceful Russian peasant, Vanya, and his miracle-working horse, who together undergo various trials, exploits and adventures at the whim of a laughable tsar, told in rich, narrative poetry.
The Samovar Murders

The Samovar Murders

The murder of a poet is always more than a murder. When a famous writer is brutally stabbed on the campus of Moscow’s Lumumba University, the son of a recently deposed African president confesses, and the case assumes political implications that no one wants any part of.
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.
Fearful Majesty

Fearful Majesty

This acclaimed biography of one of Russia’s most important and tyrannical rulers is not only a rich, readable biography, it is also surprisingly timely, revealing how many of the issues Russia faces today have their roots in Ivan’s reign.
Fish: A History of One Migration

Fish: A History of One Migration

This mesmerizing novel from one of Russia’s most important modern authors traces the life journey of a selfless Russian everywoman. In the wake of the Soviet breakup, inexorable forces drag Vera across the breadth of the Russian empire. Facing a relentless onslaught of human and social trials, she swims against the current of life, countering adversity and pain with compassion and hope, in many ways personifying Mother Russia’s torment and resilience amid the Soviet disintegration.

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