Art Festival Celebrates Alexander Pushkin

Pushkin Society of America president Victoria Kurchenko addresses attendees at the June 30 event. (Photo courtesy of the Pushkin Society of America)

Recently, the Tenri Cultural Institute Gallery, a Japanese organization, held an art festival dedicated to the 218th anniversary of the birth of the great Russian poet and writer Alexander Pushkin, under the name “Metamorphosis of Dreams: From the Past to the Future.”

The Pushkin Society in America always conducts interesting and memorable events. Time spent here can be truly called educational, as visitors have a great opportunity to meet those who are interested in literature and art of the past and the present. I would especially like to emphasize that meeting people, such as Victoriya Kurchenko, Natalia Mizuri, Boris Borukaev, and their team of professionals is simply a great honor. These individuals are the ones who are doing their best to popularize Russian-speaking writers, artists, and actors. Everyone is certainly looking forward to the events of the Pushkin Society in America and they are always a big success.

Masterpieces of various styles and by many artists, now residents of the United States, were present at the festival. The paintings of Alexander Garber (Alex Ag), Alex Shabatinas, Elena Iosievich (curator and art director), Elena Kimelblat, Evgeny Tonevitski, and Nina Kossman were also previously on display at the various exhibitions in prestigious galleries.

Moreover, there were the memorable illustrations of Sergei Goloshapov, which are most widely and fondly remembered from the fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm.

America is a great country that has been giving all people a unique opportunity to express themselves. Even works of those who began painting here, in the USA, less than five years ago, were hanging next to those pieces painted by true gurus. The painting “Solnechnaya Luzhaika” (“Sunny Lawn” in English) was donated to the charity auction of the Pushkin Society from the author of this article.

The musical accompaniment to the evening featured many artists, such as pianist Natalia Medvedovskaya (musical director), tenor Adam Klein, mezzo-soprano Viktoriya Koreneva, soprano Ksenia Antonova, and mezzo-soprano Natalia Novitskaya. The guests of the evening were enjoying live opera singing, performed without any microphones or phonogram. Adam Klein performed several arias from various Russian operas in perfect Russian, sounding authentic and without a foreign accent. Afterwards in the interview, he acknowledged that the Russian language lessons he had previously taken, were doubtless a great help. Viktoriya Koreneva, whose extraordinarily beautiful and gentle voice simply mesmerized the audience, then followed Klein. During an interview, one of the guests of the evening, opera singer Sophia Silagadze, noted that behind the visible easiness of the performance, there was a lot of hard work undertaken in preparation; in order to perform on such a level, one needed to practice consistently. In short, all the artists have brought tremendous pleasure to all those present to witness talent and dedication; such shows are rare and on demand.

The literary part of the event showcased poems of Iosif Brodsky, recited in the author’s manner in English by the American poet Jacob Miller. He also introduced the guests to short fragments of his own writings, while recollecting Brodsky’s excellent knowledge of English, his great sense of humor, and all of those things he had taught Jacob.

As always, the roundtable discussion was devoted to Pushkin, historical events, archives, books, and various talented people. Victoria Kurchenko spoke with admiration of the many who had worked hard to preserve Russian tradition while living in a different country; among those was Katerina Ivanovna Lodyzhensky, whose contribution to preservation of the library and documentation of the Pushkin Society in America could be considered invaluable. Many creative and talented people were also present at the festival. It is always nice to see such individuals visiting the events of Russian-American culture.

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