Moscow’s Golden Mask: This year’s edition of city’s main theatre festival

Moscow’s Golden Mask: This year’s edition of city’s main theatre festival
The 23rd Golden Mask festival will be held in the city throughout the winter and spring. Read this article to learn about nominees, new out-of-competition programmes and unusual projects in 2017.

Moscow in a Golden Mask

Experts watched 614 productions to select nominees for this year.

Several productions put on by Moscow theatres are likely to win the prize. One of them, Russian Romance by the Mayakovsky Theatre, has been nominated in the Large Scale Production category. The performance is a variation on the theme of Anna Karenina, combining reminiscences from the life and works of Leo Tolstoy. Mindaugas Karbauskis, who staged the production, has been nominated for Best Director. Yevgenia Simonova, who played Sofia Tolstoy, is nominated for Best Actress.  Tatyana Orlova is nominated for Best Supporting Actress, and Marius Ivaskevicius for Best Playwright.

Scene from Russian Romance

Duck Hunting by the Et Cetera Theatre has also received several nominations. Vladimir Pankov, who won an award in 2015 for the play Car, is in competition for Best Director. Anton Pakhomov, who played Zilov, is nominated for Best Actor, and Maxim Obrezkov for the best designer award.

Scene from Duck Hunting

The Bald-Headed Cupid, by the Moscow Youth Theatre, already the winner of two Crystal Turandot awards, has also been nominated in the Large-Scale Production category. Sergei Barkhin has been nominated Best Director, and Alexander Mustonen is in the running for Best Designer.

Scene from The Bald-Headed Cupid

The Opera/Best Production category features the operas Katerina Izmailova, and La Damnation de Faust and Rodelinda by the Bolshoi Theatre. The nominees include directors Rimas Tuminas, Peter Stein and Richard Jones, conductors Tugan Sokhiev and Christopher Moulds and performers John Daszak (Sergei), Dmitry Beloselsky (Mephistopheles), Saimir Pirgu (Faust), Richard Burkhard (Garibaldo), David Daniels (Bertarido), Paul Nilon (Grimoaldo), Nadja Michael (Katerina Lvovna Izmailova), Ksenia Dudnikova (Marguerite) and Ruxandra Donose (Edwige).

Doctor Haass by Helicon-Opera has received a nomination for the season’s best opera. Denis Azarov is in the running for Best Director, Lidia Svetozarova (Gretchen) for Best Actress and Vitaly Fomin (Young Haass) for Best Actor.

Scene from Doctor Haass

The full list of nominees is available on the official website of the festival.

Projects and out-of-competition programmes for 2017

Mask Plus, a programme bringing together unorthodox productions from theatres around Russia, is a new addition to the festival this year. Its curators include Andrei Pronin, Pavel Rudnev and Vera Senkina.

The Theatre Institute will be devoted to educating young professionals and studying modern theatre. Children’s Weekend will stage performances for kids under the supervision of Alexei Goncharenko and Marina Shimadina. The Russian Case project will be oriented towards foreign critics and producers. The project’s curators are Alyona Karas and Kristina Matviyenko.

A different festival, Golden Mask in the City, will be held concurrently with the main one. Under this project, productions will go beyond their usual setting, opening to the city and becoming accessible to all. Streets, cafes and office buildings will be the new theatre venues.

In addition, cinemas in Moscow, St Petersburg and several other cities will broadcast several performances live as part of the Golden Mask In The Cinema programme.

First winners

The first winners of the 2017 Golden Mask Festival were announced in December. They were chosen by the Russian Theatre Union. The awards for outstanding contribution to theatre were presented to Chekhov Moscow Art Theatre director Oleg Tabakov, USSR People’s Artist Vladimir Etush, Mariinsky Theatre soloist Irina Bogachyova and performer of the Alexandrinsky Theatre Nikolai Marton.

The Art, Science and Sport charity foundation received the award in the category, For the Support of Russian Theatre.

The award ceremony will be held  on 19 April at the Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Musical Theatre.

Golden Mask: History

The Russian Theatre Union founded Golden Mask in 1993. The first award ceremony was held two years later. The award was at first Moscow-based, but achieved national status in 1996.

Russian set designer Oleg Sheintsis designed the award: a face wearing a masquerade mask set on a mirrored surface in a frame.

The performances are selected by two expert councils. One specialises in drama and puppet theatre, the other in opera, operettas, musicals and ballet. The expert councils and jury panels consist of actors, directors, playwrights, choreographers, critics and others.

There are six main competitions: the Drama Theatre Contest, the Opera Contest, the Operetta/Musical Contest, the Ballet Contest, the Puppetry Contest and the Experimental Theatre Contest.

The drama contest features two categories: large-scale production and small- scale production. There are also awards for best director, best light designer, best actor and actress and more.