Moscow Performing Arts

Muscovites' love of culture spills over into the arena of visual arts, and a growing number of private galleries sell works by Russian artists, many cuts above the kitsch available at most of the tourist markets. The Friday edition of the Moscow Times carries reviews of current art exhibits; most galleries are closed on Sunday and Monday.

Moscow's musical life has always been particularly

rich; the city has several symphony orchestras as well as song-and-dance ensembles. Moiseyev's Folk Dance Ensemble is well known in Europe and America, but the troupe is on tour so much of the year that when it performs in Moscow (generally at the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall), tickets are very difficult to obtain. Other renowned companies include the State Symphony Orchestra and the Armed Forces Song and Dance Ensemble. With the exception of special performances, tickets are usually easily available and inexpensive.

Although in the past Moscow was too far off the beaten track to attract top-name Western stars, in the last year the city has seen performances by everyone from Madonna to Muse to Elton John. Also be sure to catch the many talented Russian musicians playing jazz and blues, as well as ethnic folk acts from other regions in Russia, such as the Tuvan throat singers, who frequently appear at festivals.

Even if you don't speak Russian, you might want to explore the intense world of Russian dramatic theater. Unfortunately, headphones providing English translations are virtually unheard of, so it's best to stick to something you already know in English (Shakespeare is, of course, widely performed, as are many plays based on classic works that would be familiar to readers of Russian literature, such as The Master and Margarita and Brothers Karamazov). The increasingly popular Chekhov International Theater Festival usually takes place mid-May through mid- to late July.

Two free English-language newspapers, the daily Moscow Times (www.themoscowtimes.com) and the weekly Moscow News (themoscownews.com), publish schedules of cultural events for the coming week. Both can be picked up at the airport when you arrive or at a hotel, restaurant, or bar in the city center. Most theater tickets can be obtained on the theaters’ websites, at the theaters themselves, or at the box offices (teatralnaya kassa) scattered throughout the city. Note that some theaters charge different prices for Russians and foreigners. If you're intimidated by the language barrier, ask your hotel's concierge for help. The prices are inflated, but a concierge can often get you tickets to otherwise sold-out performances. Scalpers usually can be found selling tickets outside theaters immediately prior to performances, but they’ve been known to rip off tourists, either charging exorbitant prices or selling fake tickets. Note that evening performances begin at 7 pm sharp.

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Moscow Performing Arts

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35mm

An artsy crowd frequents this simple movie theater with top-quality projection and sound. The films are always shown in their original...

Artplay

Housed in the brightly painted brick buildings of a Soviet silk spinning mill, this vast design center has everything from photography...

Bolshoi Opera and Ballet Theatre

This world-renowned theater continues to produce innovative shows, despite a string of recent scandals—including the resignation of...

Central House of Artists

Many different galleries are housed within this vast exhibition center and if you wander long enough you're likely to find something...

Dom Nashchokina Gallery

A mixture of classic Russian art and crowd-pulling exhibitions by celebrity artists can be found at this established space. ...

Dome Cinema

A hotel movie house caters to the expatriate community with recent original-language Hollywood releases. ...

Fine Art

This was one of the first private galleries in post-Soviet Russia. Today it displays contemporary art from the best of the previous generation...

Garage Center for Contemporary Culture

Buoyed with funding from oligarchs like Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich, the center has become one of Moscow's hottest venues...

Gogol Center

Opened in 1923 as a theater for railroad workers, this revamped, stunningly creative space is the hub of Moscow's contemporary theater...

Guelman Gallery

One of Moscow's first galleries, this is also one of its most controversial, due to the attention-loving nature of owner Marat Guelman.

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