In December of 2002, the Russian Winter Festival took a different turn. Rather than hosting only one afternoon of entertainment, Moscow Nights presented a three-day event that was:
“A Salute to Alexander Pushkin”
… a celebration of the life and work of the Father of Russian Literature. Held at the (former) Downtown Theater of the University of New Orleans, this was Moscow Nights’ most ambitious project to date.
At the heart of the festival is Natasha O. Ramer’s staging of:
Алекса́ндр Серге́евич Пу́шкин «Русалка»
Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin “The Water Nymph”
… a fairy-tale legend about a girl who risks all for love. Professor James Falen, one of the foremost translators of Pushkin’s work, translated the play, which is in verse, for Moscow Nights. Georgian composer Zaza Marjanishvili wrote the original musical score, and John Rodi, director of the Komenka Ethnic Dance and Music Ensemble, added choreography.
This production, which was performed three times during the festival, marked the first presentation of The Water Nymph to American audiences. Click here to read more about Moscow Nights’ presentation of this play.
In addition to the play, audiences were treated to a lecture by Dr. Boris Gasparov of Columbia University on the poet’s life and literary significance, as well as theatrical readings of Pushkin’s poetry in both Russian and English.
Through it all, there was a bazaar in the lobby featuring books by and about Pushkin (courtesy of Garden District Book Shop), as well as Russian food and crafts.