11,200 kilometers – 8 hero cities – more than 10,000 people
Over the Volga, the Black Sea, the Dnieper, Kola Bay
to Krasnodar Krai, the Republic of Crimea and then to Smolensk, Saint-Petersburg and
the polar region .
It was in April and May 2015 that Russian national ballet “Kostroma” realized their large-scale heroic and historical tour of the hero-cities dedicated to the 70 th anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War and celebrating the citizens of Volgograd (Stalingrad), Kerch, Sevastopol, Novorossiysk, Smolensk, Saint-Petersburg (Leningrad), Murmansk č Tula. The bus marathon tour of the Russian hero-cities was officially closed in Moscow.
8 April - Volgograd ( Stalingrad) 23 April – Saint-Petersburg (Leningrad)
11 April – Kerch 26 April - Murmansk
13 April – Sevastopol 29 April - Tula
16 April - Novorossiysk 6 April - Moscow
20 April - Smolensk
The project was held under the auspices of the Russian National Committee “Pobeda” and with the support of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation and Administrations of the regions and hero-cities. The project was perceived as an important cultural contribution to the celebratory events stipulated by the President’s Order No 417 dated 25.04.2013 “On preparing and celebrating the 70 th anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941 – 1945”.
The project was aimed at restoring historical justice due to the fact that there were some attempts made to rewrite the history and depreciate the role of the Soviet people in the victory over the fascism as well as at uniting the people of the Russian Federation, promoting cultural dialogue as the most crucial part of people’s diplomacy in view of the threat of fascism, terrorism and violence in the 21 st century.
A noble mission was complete: the dead were honoured and the survived were thanked. There are fewer and fewer veterans left every year, they cannot come to Moscow to celebrate due to poor health so the celebration of the Victory Day came to their cities that heroically protected the freedom and independence of Russia.
“Back Home with Victory” project is a bow to all the warriors who fought against fascism on the Russian land. It is a call for the younger generation of the victors. It is a project that makes hearts beat, be proud of the country and thank the heroes.
The honoured guests of the show were the veterans of the Great Patriotic War, workers of the home front, the children of the war years, the prisoners of concentration camps, their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
The producer of the project is Elena TSARENKO, the President of Russian national ballet “Kostroma”, an Honoured Worker of Culture of the Russian Federation.
“To pay the last respects and the tribute to the memory of those who died and those who survived, the heroes of the home front, the people of the blockaded Leningrad, the defenders of the hero-cities and of all who hold this tragic page of our history dear, is a responsibility and great honour for us, the workers of the cultural front. We, the artists, like front brigades of artists at that time, often have to be the peace ambassadors, the representatives of the people’s diplomacy, and we are very proud of this mission!”, says Elena Tsarenko… “The number of people who survived the great battle is decreasing each year. Due to poor health the majority of them cannot come to the capital to take part in the celebrations. So we really wanted that the celebration of Victory would come to their cities with our help. This project is not only a memorable gift for the veterans but also an address to the young people of the country, the heirs of the generation of the victors. We will be happy if the hearts of veterans who remember the hard days at the front with tears in their eyes and the hearts of all the people in the audience will fill with the pride for their country and spring atmosphere of the Victory Day, I don’t only mean the victory that happened 70 years ago but also the victories of the present day on the war-like difficult way of the rebirth of the greatness of our Motherland.”
“BACK HOME WITH VICTORY!”, a heroic and historical large-scale military and patriotic show, was created within the framework of the project by
Yuri TSARENKO, an Honoured Arts Worker of the Russian Federation, as the Scriptwriter and the Art Director of the show, and Boris GOLODNITSKIY, an Honoured Artist of the Republic of Mari-El and a laureate of state prize of the Republic of Mari-El, as the Scene-Designer.
The show conveys the atmosphere of the pre-war Russia and paints vivid pictures of extreme exertion of the Soviet people, their dedication and solidarity during the war years. These historical events have become legendary. This is a story of the time that we remember with tears and pain. This is an event that changed the histories of many states. This is a war that ruined millions of lives. This is a victory that gave hope to many future generations. This is a story about incredible powers of the Russian people, their hope and love from the first days of the war until its victorious ending.
More than 150 people take part in the show, among them are the artists of “Kostroma” Ballet;
Ludmila CHURSINA, a People’s Artist of the USSR and a leading actress of the Central Academic Theatre of the Russian Army ,
Vasily PYANOV, an Honoured Artist of the Russian Federation, a vocalist,
Pavel GERSHTEIN, the Art Director and the Chief Conductor of the Kostroma Governorate Symphonic Orchestra; local symphonic orchestras of the hero-cities ( Volgograd Academic Symphonic Orchestra of Oblast Philharmonic Society with Eduard Serov, the Art Director and Conductor, a People’s Artist of the Russian Federation, a laureate of the state prize of Volgograd Oblast, in Volgograd ; Sevastopol Municipal Chamber and Symphonic Orchestra with Vladimir Kim, the Art Director and Chief Conductor, in Sevastopol ; Smolensk Symphonic Orchestra of Smolensk Oblast Philharmonic Society, with Alexander Orlov, the Art Director and Conductor, in Smolensk ; Kostroma Governorate Symphonic Orchestra Conducted by Pavel Gershtein in Saint-Petersburg and Moscow;
volunteers: soldiers of Military Unit of Engineering troops of the city of Volzhsky and the cadets of the 31 st Volgograd College in Volgograd; students of Kerch State Marine Technological University and the Volunteers Corpus “70 years of Victory” in Kerch; the cadets of the Black Sea Higher Military and Marine Order of Red Star College named after Nakhimov and the Volunteers Corpus “70 years of Victory” in Sevastopol; students of the Marine State University named after Ushakov of the department of pre-university education (Marine College) in Novorossiysk; the cadets of the Military Academy of Troop Anti-Aircraft Defense of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation named after Marshal of the Soviet Union A. Vasilevskiy in Smolensk; the cadets of the Mikhalovsk Military Artillery Academy in Saint-Petersburg; the cadets of Murmansk Sea Fishing Industry College named after Mesyatsev and the students of Murmansk State Technological University in Murmansk; the students of Tula College of Arts named after Dargomyzhsky in Tula.
Every episode of the show recreates real atmosphere of the war years in chronological order as the main historical events go: “Park for Recreation and Leisure” where an orchestra is playing famous tunes of the 40-s on the summer stage; “The beginning of the war” and the call of the Motherland in the episode called “ Mother of One Hundred Million of Sons” performed by Ludmila CHURSINA, a People’s Artist of the USSR; “Seeing off to the Front” that receives its strength thanks to the march of hundreds of soldiers (volunteers of hero-cities). One episode of home front changes another “Blockaded Leningrad”, “Premiere of Shostakovich’s 7 th Symphony”, letters from the front written with the voices of the Soviet soldiers of different nationalities, “Temnaya Noch”, the performances of the artists of the propaganda team during the rest, “The fight near the walls of Reichstag” and a long waited for welcoming of the victors against the background of the blossoming May park in the episode “Hey, welcome me home!”.
PART II of the Show IS DEDICATED TO THE ACT OF BRAVERY OF ALL THE PEOPLE OF THE GREAT COUNTRY.
The spirit of unity of the multinational country is like a continuation of the soldiers’ voices speaking different languages of the USSR that we hear in the show. This spirit fills the turns of the program Russian National Dance Show “Kostroma” presented by Russian national ballet “Kostroma” – “Molitva” (The Prayer), “Bolshoi Kazachiy Plyas” (Big Dance of the Cossacks), “Legenda Severa” (The Legend of the North), “Tatarskaya Vesna” (The Tatar Spring), “Ritmy Kavkaza” (The Rhythms of the Caucasus), “Yokhor Buryatii” (Yokhor of Buryatia), “Flotsky” (The Sailors Dance), “Yevreyiskays Suita” (The Jewish Suite), “Prazdnichnaya” (The Celebratory Dance). Every piece reveals the unique character and original culture of the Cossacks, Tatars, Jews, the people from the North, the Caucasus, and the Far East.
The songs of the war years performed by Vasily Pyanov, an Honoured Artist of Russia, will fill the hearts of the people in the audience with warmth and enthusiasm of their young years, acts of bravery and victories.
“Back Home with Victory” is a synthesis of live music, drama, choreography, large-scale realistic decorations, snow, smoke, laser animation and a parallel video projection with documentary footage from real events of the Great Patriotic War provided by the archives of Mosfilm. Is is a show that has been seen by tens of thousands of people all over Russia.
Symphonic orchestras, military colleges and academies in the hero-cities supported the Project free of charge. Despite their being busy, they agreed to dedicate their work in the show “Back Home with Victory!” to all the heroes of the Great Patriotic War. For each of them it was the first artistic cooperation with Russian national ballet “Kostroma” which let the choreography and symphonic play bring the episodes “Park for recreation and leisure” and “Blockaded Leningrad” to life thus allowing the audiences to see the power and unity of the Soviet people who went to war as volunteer soldiers.
Due to the fact that the show has very specific dramatic composition and change of episodes, the symphonic orchestras of Vologda, Sevastopol and Smolensk for the first time ever were conducted by Pavel GERSHTEIN, the Chief Conductor of “Kostroma Governorate Symphonic Orchestra” and the Chief Conductor of the show “Back Home with Victory!” who has been working with Russian national ballet “Kostroma” for more than 10 years. The musicians performed famous tunes of the 30-s and the 40-s “Utomlennyie Solntsem” (Tired of the Sun), “Tsirk” (Circus), “Rio-Rita” as well as Shostakovich’s 7 th Symphony. Thanks to such creative tandem the audiences can enjoy the realism of the episodes “Park for recreation and leisure” and “Blockaded Leningrad”.
The unique nature of the Project comes from the ability of different teams of artists to unite all their creative powers within a very short period of time. The artists only had 12 hours of rehearsals to make the show and bring together the episodes and the turns which the show participants had individually worked on for more than a month. The artists did not only have to familiarize themselves with the drama composition of the show but also to revitalize the life during the Great Patriotic War through the characters.
The main stages of the scary five-year war presented in the show “Back Home with Vistory!” are conveyed through details, personal things, objects and symbols defining the people’s memory.
Eight 8 tons of cargo and more than 1,000 prompts to create an authentic picture: a camera from the 30-s, a set of chess, a clock, a potbelly stove, a guitar, a button accordion, bags, suit cases, knapsacks, ground sheets, tarpaulin boots, helmets made in 1953, flasks, canisters, pots, kettles, sledges, kindling wood, magazines, newspapers, notebooks and letters. Every costume has well-thought of accessories such as earrings, bracelets, bead necklaces, brooches, pins, kerchiefs, ladies’ handbags, hats and lots of other things.
More than 300 historically authentic costumes: soldiers’ war uniforms, Soviet Army officers’ uniforms, uniforms of a militia man and a sailor, clothes for civilians, costumes of an Uzbek woman and man, a Georgia man, a Jewish man and a Cossack. Every costume corresponds to the fashion and the times of the 30-s and the 40-s. The clothes were made by Moscow Workshop of Historical Reconstruction of Costumes, workshops of Mikhailovsk Theatre of Saint-Petersburg and Theatre Workshop “Lena-Line”.
Large scale massive and dramatic decorations specially made for the show by Mikhailovsk Theatre of Saint-Petersburg are exact copies of the things of that time: a heated train car, a thirty-hundred-weight lorry, machine-guns and Shpagin submachine weapons, panoramic decorations of “blossoming May garden” and “the broken window”.
During the marathon tour the artists of the Project visited nine hero-cities, Volgograd, Tula, Murmansk, Smolensk, Leningrad and Moscow Oblasts, Krasnodar Krai and the Republic of Crimea.
The artists covered 11,000 kilometers, spent 184 hours on the bus, went by ferry over Kerch Strait twice. The longest ride was from Murmansk to Tula: it was 34 hours and 2,200 kilometers long. Every assembly of the stage took 8 hours and the rehearsals went for about 12 hours.
The most important, loved and recognized participant of all was Ludmila CHURSINA, a People’s Artist of the USSR, who played the main part in the episode called “The mother of one hundred millions of sons”. Her warm, kind and open attitude conquered the hearts of the ballet artists and the audiences. The dancers appreciated every minute of communication with Ludmila Alekseevna and closely watched all her rehearsals to get the valuable first-hand drama experience and unique experience of interpersonal and professional relationships.
The Project won lots of friends, admirers and supporters.
The representatives and heads of the regions considered the heroic and historical show “Back Home with Victory!” to be the brightest and the most large-scale event that had been held for the 70 th anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War.
People of art all note the mix of contrast and harmony of the different kinds of stage arts – choreography, music, drama, art of declamation in synthesis with the most advanced technologies.
After the show in Saint-Petersburg on stage of Music Hall Theatre, Fabio Mastrangelo, a famous Russian and Italian conductor and pianist, expressed his admiration for the spectacular transformations of the artists who performed equally well both as drama actors in the episodes of “silent movies” and professional dancers within the same show.
“Back Home with Victory!” is a moving and exciting show. Watching it, the veterans recognize themselves, the lives of their front fellows, remember their war years at the front and the joy of the long waited for victory. Their tears are an emphatic reflection of what is happening on the stage, the heroes of the day fill the vivid pictures of the time of great victory with the spirit of their memories and powerful energy.
At the end of the show the audiences always give the round of applause standing to greet the participants of the project.
Veterans thank the artists, give them bows, salute them, hug them, kiss them and even read their poems to them.
From the guest book of Russian national ballet “Kostroma”:
“A big thank you for the beautiful concert, for moving songs, for the memories of our young years, amazing friendship of all the people of our great country.”
“A 16-year-old boy in May 1943 took part in the warfare as a soldier of Stalingrad, and then the 1 st Ukrainian front, for 780 days and went from Stalingrad to the West boarder… I would like to express my gratitude to all the artists and the directors for understanding the real significance of the Great Victory… Thank you for your emotional conveying the true meaning of our fight with fascism and celebrating those who helped the front and the Red Army. Thank from the veterans of the Great Patriotic War. In May I will turn 89.5. Let God give well-being to your team of artists!”
“ The most beautiful concert, lots of gratitude from a young prisoner”
“Thank you for what you’ve done for us today. We will always remember and tell our children about the great victory of our people in the Great Patriotic War.”
“ Thank you very much ! During the concert we had a chance to feel both the pain of our people and their excitement. Such concerts are absolutely necessary. They are imprinted in our hearts .”
“Being a representative of the young people from Smolensk Oblast and the students of Smolensk University of Humanities, I would like to express our infinite gratitude for the mood created during the program. We bow to you for your course .”
Chairperson of the Students’ Committee
of Smolensk University of Humanities
“There have been quite many an anniversary…But we have never had such a show! Amazing ! Amazing in all the aspects – music, staging and wonderful ballet. Bravo ! Thank you !”
A survivor of the siege of Leningrad and a veteran
23.04.2015 Saint - Petersburg
“ Thanks a lot ! It is something that touches upon your soul and what we ’ ve lost !”
23.04.2015 Saint - Petersburg
“ An amazing concert ! When the war broke out, I finished the 1 st class of primary school. That ’ s why everything brings tears in my eyes ! Viva the Great Victory!”
Professor V. Kalashnikov
“Russia will remember! Russia will live !”
“Thank you very much for the organization of such an important event. Thanks a lot to the whole team of artists “Kostroma”! We live till we ’ re remembered .”