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Moscow Entertainment

Impressions of Moscow ...a survival guide by one of our recent teachers

Moscow is an entertainment paradise, with a jam-packed cultural calendar suitable for all tastes and budgets. This ranges from the high-brow to the low-brow and everything in-between. It is a city that never sleeps, with many clubs, bars and restaurants staying open 24 hours. Moscow has an unrivalled energy, an intoxicating influence on anyone who dares to go out after dark. Its ballet and opera are world-famous and its theatre and circus quintessentially Russian. Muscovites love to go out and have a good time, and to fully understand their culture, you have to join them.

The Classical Performing Arts

The undisputed jewel in the crown is the magnificent Bolshoi Theatre. Here you can gawk at world-class performances at a fraction of the price of back home. The theatre in itself is an architectural masterpiece. Built in 1776, its interior is majestic- finely cut chandeliers shimmering above an explosion of golds and reds below. The atmosphere inside this six-tiered auditorium is electric, and the Russians certainly know how to applaud. Don’t be surprised to hear constant shouts of ‘Bravo!’ throughout the performance. The Bolshoi is, and will certainly remain one of the most romantic places in Moscow. It is a treasure to behold and an experience that will stay with you for a lifetime.

Classical music plays a major role in Russian culture, and its delights are embedded in the soul of every Muscovite. There can be no doubt that most of the classical greats came from Russia, and concert halls all over Moscow are keen to keep their greatness alive. The Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory is a perfect venue for classical music lovers. Performances are sporadic, but always top-class. It is home to the largest music school in the country, which performs classical Russian pieces as well as inventive musical flavors from around the world. The interior is plastered with giant portraits of famous composers, most notably Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov and Shostakovich- who of course take pride of place at the front of the hall. The Tchaikovsky Concert Hall is one of the biggest concert venues in the world and also has a stunning interior. The world-renown Russian Symphony Orchestra, play here every month, and the performance is always spectacular. Prices are ludicrously cheap, sometimes only a pound or two for a wonderful evenings entertainment.

Theatres are everywhere in Moscow, especially in the centre near Tverskaya ulitsa. The Chekhov Theatre is perhaps the most famous, due to the quality of its acting. Sovremenik Theatre at Chistie Prudy is also worth a look. Most performances throughout the city are in Russian, however you can find the odd performance in English. The American Art Theatre company perform Russian classics in English every couple of weeks.

The Moscow Times, in my opinion, is the only quality English language newspaper printed in the city. Keep your eyes open for the Friday edition, which contains a free weekend supplement with all the listings for dance, opera, theatre, gigs and exhibits.