This Week in Russia: Sochi Winter Arts Festival

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February 03, 2014
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Photo of Denis Matsuyev, who will e performing at this year’s International Winter Arts Festival in Sochi.
The famous pianist, Denis Matsuyev, pictured, will be performing at this year’s International Winter Arts Festival in Sochi. © Vitaliy Ankov © RIA Novosti

While the world looks to Sochi for the 2014 Olympics, thinkRUSSIA explores another feature of the seaside city: this week in Russia, Sochi hosts its International Winter Arts Festival.

As sport fans start flocking to the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, you may be right in thinking it’s the biggest event in town. However, for cultural aficionados, the city’s International Winter Arts Festival is another main attraction this February.

In only its seventh year, the festival has become a mainstay on the European arts calendar, boasting an array of musical, visual and artistic events from some of Russia’s and the world’s leading performers.

“I am glad and proud that over these past seven years our festival has reached such great heights and that it will be held during the Sochi Olympics. It will be a significant component of the Olympic cultural program,” says Yuri Bashmet, the festival’s charismatic director.

 What’s on show?

The festival is rich in variety and caters to all cultural tastes, embracing genres from opera, orchestra and ballet, to drama, jazz and classical music.

The line-up boasts performances by:

  • Renowned American jazz musician Brian Lynch
  • Award-winning pianist Denis Matsuyev
  • Eminent singer Erwin Schrott

Additionally, the Korean Royal Drummers Ensemble will highlight the variety of foreign talent on show while garnering particular pre-festival attention as a collaboration between musicians from nine countries playing a mix of national and classical instruments.

For those not captivated by these musical offerings, the Winter Theatre in Sochi will also broadcast a ‘Winter Night Marathon’ featuring more than 12 hours of the world’s best-loved opera performances. This is an event not to be missed.

The Sochi Arts Festival is a worthy foil to the Winter Olympics. So if you tire of watching skiers carve their way down a mountain or ice hockey players in full flight on the ice, why not sample the ever vibrant Russian cultural scene this February. Sochi has something for everyone, particularly lovers of the arts.

The Sochi International Winter Arts Festival runs from February 6-20, 2014.

Have you ever been to the Winter Arts Festival in Sochi? Which performance are you looking forward to most this year?

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