The International Festival of Arts “Slavianski Bazaar in Vitebsk” has been a leader in the world festival movement for many years. The Vitebsk forum of Arts was twice announced to have been the “Festival of the Year”. In 2005, Vitebsk hosted FIDOF (International Organization of Festival Organizers) Assembly.
In July 2015, the city on the Dvina River hosted the International Conference of the World Association of Festivals which aims to promote the international cultural cooperation, preservation of diversity and identity of the peoples in the name of peace and harmony.
“Festival Movement: Tradition and Innovation” was the theme of the meeting attended by Alexander Sidorenko (Belarus), Floriane Gaber (Belgium), Nicholai Tekeliev (Bulgaria), Arkady Krumer (Israel), Karla Abdikarimova (Kazakhstan), Jānis Dukšinskis (Latvia), Marjan Kataroski (Macedonia) and others. Alexander Sidorenko, Director of the International Festival of Arts “Slavianski Bazaar in Vitebsk”, was appointed President of the World Association of Festivals.
In 2015, the forum of arts welcomed a record number of countries. Representatives of 42 countries took part in more than a hundred programs.
The Opening Ceremony of “Slavianski Bazaar in Vitebsk” (July 9) was presented in the Summer Amphitheatre by Elena Spiridovich (Belarus), Vladimir Berezin (Russia), Oksana Antoniuk (Ukraine).
The concert program featured artists from Azerbaijan, Belarus, Brazil, Canada, Kazakhstan, Latvia, the Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Russia, Ukraine and Sweden, confirming the festival motto “Through Art to Peace and Mutual Understanding”.
For the 13th time the program of the International Forum included the Union State Day (July 10). During the press conference the State Secretary of the Union State Grigory Rapota noted the importance of the festival from the viewpoint of cultural, political and economic relations between Belarus and Russia.
Opening the program of the gala concert “Connecting Space and Time. The Union State invites ...”, Grigory Rapota said: “Slavianski Bazaar in Vitebsk” is one of the strongest joint projects of Belarus and Russia to have proved for decades that we are to live together.”
“Slavianski Bazaar in Vitebsk” is an annual celebration turning the city into a huge concert hall, presenting performances of dozens bright artists and groups of different genres. Established in difficult 1990s, the festival contributed to preservation of cultural relations between peoples, which is especially important to remember in the year of the 70th Anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War. In those terrible days the nations united to overcome common woes, and the unity helped to survive. Let the art of today, with its language that needs no translation, unite us all”, - said the letter by Chairman of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, Chairman of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Belarus-Russia Union Sergei Naryshkin.
Grigory Rapota awarded diplomas and special prizes of the Standing Committee of the Union State “For creative embodiment of friendship between the peoples of Belarus and Russia” to the Honored artist of Russia Leonid Agutin, Chairman of the National State TV and Radio Committee of Belarus, Honored Artist of Belarus Gennady Davydko, Director General of BELTA Dmitry Zhuk, Director General of “Rossiyskaya Gazeta” Pavel Negoitsa.
The leitmotif of the concert program was a virtual tour of the underground stations, uniting Moscow and Minsk.
The 24th International Festival of Arts “Slavianski Bazaar in Vitebsk” lit a star of a new holder of “Through Art to Peace and Mutual Understanding” Special Award of the President of the Republic of Belarus. The name of Polad Bülbüloğlu, People's Artist of Azerbaijan, Honored Art Worker of Dagestan, appeared on the Walk of Fame in Vitebsk. The prominent worker of culture and art, who is to celebrate his 70th anniversary in 2015, received congratulations from the Minister of Culture of the Republic of Belarus Boris Svetlov, Chairman of the Vitebsk City Executive Committee Victor Nikolaikin, Director of the International Festival of Arts “Slavianski Bazaar in Vitebsk” Alexander Sidorenko.
One of the traditional highlights of the festival program was the International Pop Song Performers Contest “Vitebsk”.
For the second consecutive year the contest had two stages. Two drawing lots ceremonies were prepared for each round. The first, titled “Birth of a Star”, was held on the day of the festival opening at the Walk of Fame in the Summer Amphitheatre. The participants from 21 countries chose medallions with the number of the order of performance. The souvenirs were produced by the Obol ceramic plant.
The semifinals of the 24th International Pop Song Performers Contest and the drawing lots procedure to determine the order of performance in the final round were held in the Concert Hall “Vitebsk” on July 10.
Two final contest days traditionally took place on the stage of the Summer Amphitheatre. On the first day the participants performed pop songs by composers from any Slavic country in one of the Slavic languages to the accompaniment of the concert orchestra conducted by Mikhail Finberg.
The contestants were evaluated by the international jury: Leonid Shirin (Belarus), Thiago Arancam (Brazil), Precious Wilson (UK), Intars Busulis (Latvia), Oleg Ivanov (Russia), Marija Serifovic (Serbia), Vladislav Baginsky (Ukraine), BOSSON (Sweden). The Chairperson of the jury was Polad Bülbüloğlu (Azerbaijan).
The top awards were given to:
Grand Prix - Dimash Kudaibergen (Kazakhstan);
I Prize - Valeria Gribusova (Belarus);
II Prize - Nikolay Manolov (Bulgaria);
III Prize - Anna Tverdostup (Ukraine), Sophie (Georgia).
The Vladimir Mulyavin Special Prize for the best embodiment of the national theme, high performance skills was granted to Nade Talevska (Macedonia).
The Special Prizes of the Parliamentary Assembly of Belarus-Russia Union were awarded to Valeria Gribusova (Belarus) and Sofia Muratova (Russia). Sofia Muratova also got a Certificates and Golden Coin from the World Association of Festivals.
The Special Award from the Interstate TV and Radio Company “Mir” for the high level of mastery in maintaining national traditions was given to Aidan (Azerbaijan).
“We’ll take a look into your heart and become heroes. Our songs will conquer you!”. These lines opened each concert of the 13th International Children Music Contest “Vitebsk”. The young talents from 16 countries, who performed in the Concert Hall “Vitebsk”, turned the contest program into a remarkably bright musical journey, connecting times and countries.
The winners of the children contest:
Grand Prix - Luiza Nurkuatova (Kazakhstan);
I Prize - Darina Galitskaya (Ukraine);
II Prize - Stefania Sokolova (Belarus), Lizi (Georgia);
III Prize - Veronica Ustimova (Russia), Daria Pyshnaya (Ukraine).
The Special Prizes of the Parliamentary Assembly of Belarus-Russia Union were awarded to Eleti (Belarus) and Sofia Lopukhova (Russia).
The Certificate and Silver Coin from the World Association of Festivals were given to Selena (Romania).
The international jury, chaired by Dmitry Malikov (Russia), included Alyona Lanskaya (Belarus), Vlado Dimov (Bulgaria), Anri Jokhadze (Georgia), Alisher Karimov (Kazakhstan), Vlatko Lozanoski (Macedonia), Oksana Pekun (Ukraine).
“Alexander Oleshko’s Show” opened the festival concert program in the Summer Amphitheatre on July 7. The show featured invited artists Valentin Gaft, Gennady Khazanov, Sergey Bezrukov and children groups from Belarus. It was followed by the night concert by Grigory Leps, who performed his own compositions and songs from the repertoire of the Russian top-flight singers.
The flowing night solo programs were given by Valery Meladze and empress of the festival Olympus Irina Allegrova.
On July 10 the recital by the People’s Artist of the USSR, Hero of Socialist Labor, laureate of USSR State Prize and Russia State Prize, composer Alexandra Pakhmutova and the USSR State Prize winner, poet Nikolai Dobronravov took place. The concert program presented about 30 songs from the great heritage of the duet.
At her solo concert Valeria presented a premiere video for the song “Strong Women” and performed a few songs with her daughter Anna Shulgina.
The concert program “EUROPA PLUS TV” featured popular artists from Belarus, Great Britain, Denmark, Germany, Kazakhstan, France, Russia, Romania and Sweden. The concert was presented by Belarusian singer Teo and Russian TV presenter, actress Alina Artz.
The night concert was given by the group “Ruki Vverkh”, which celebrated its 18th anniversary at the festival.
On the night of July 10 and July 11, the concert “Golden Hit: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow” brought together a stellar team of artists from Belarus, Great Britain, Norway, Sweden and Russia.
The tradition of festival humor programs in 2015 was continued Gennady Khazanov’s “Stress Conference”, who was in Vitebsk last time in the mid 1990s.
For the third time the Summer Amphitheatre stage was designed by Alexander Kholodnov, winner of the Russian National Television Award “Taffy”. The Moscow-based artist and stage designer Alexander Kholodnov is known by the project “Golden Gramophone”, “Song of the Year”, “New Wave”.
For the first time the arts forum hosted a round table discussion “Culture and Art as a source of development of spiritual and moral values. The role of mass media in shaping the common cultural space of the Slavic peoples.”
The International Press Center provided facilities for journalists from 14 countries and hosted 5 press conferences and 10 “Star hour” meetings with popular artists, broadcast live by TV and radio company “Vitebsk”.
The “Star hour” presenters were Sergei Shustitsky and Alexei Ostudin. Among the star participants were the jury chairman of the International Pop Song Performers Contest “Vitebsk-2015” Polad Bulbuloglu, jury chairman of the International Children Music Contest Dmitry Malikov; Ruslan Alehno, Teo (Belarus), Yevgenia Smolianinova, Sergei Bezrukov, Alexander Oleshko, Elena Vaenga, Anna Bolshova (Russia); Thiago Arancam (Brazil), BOSSON (Sweden).
July 11 the International Press Center gathered friends and colleagues of Mikhail Shulman, one of those who were at the origins of “Slavianski Bazaar in Vitebsk”, first as the head of the festival press center, then as a concert programs director. Mikhail Shulman was awarded the “Golden Pen” Prize of the International Festival of Arts “Slavianski Bazaar in Vitebsk”. Now the “Golden Ring of Friendship”, named after Mikhail Shulman and established by FIDOF, is awarded to festivals, working most successfully with the press. During the meeting a presentation of the book “Joyful airship” by Mikhail Shulman and Arkady Krumer took place.
The festival project “Theatre meetings-2015” presented an opportunity to watch nine productions from Belarus, Latvia and Russia.
The National Theatre of Belarusian Drama presented a folk-opera “Advechnaya pesnya”, staged in 2002 by director Sergei Kovalchik and based on Yanka Kupala’s poem.
The Daugavpils State Theatre presented a choreographic performance “Casanova. Henriette. Venice” by choreographer and librettist Irina Savelieva, based on the diaries of Giacomo Casanova. Casanova’s beloved Henriette is played by Elena Nesetina, while Giacomo’s Miroslav Blakunov.
The production “Faina. A bird, hovering in the cell” told the story from the lives of two great actresses of the 20th century, Faina Ranevskaya and Lyubov Orlova. The play was written by Stella Samokhotova and Sofia Lezhneva; the cast included Svetlana Korkoshko, Evdokia Germanova, Marina Kudelinskaya, Elena Kresins and Igor Pismensky.
The play “Pas de deux” by Tatiana Moskvina featured the Russian actors Vladimir Sterzhakov, Nelly Selezneva-Nevedina, Anna Bolshova and Marina Mogilevskaya.
The acclaimed actors Irina Alferova, Alexander Pashutin, Anna Terekhova and Anatoly Zhuravlev presented in Vitebsk the performance “The Russian Bear” by director Sergei Kutasov and based on the play by Boris Ratzer.
The festival meeting with the dramatic art closed with the performances of the Moscow Drama Theater “U Nikitskih Vorot” (At the Nikitskie gates). The Yakub Kolas National Academic Drama Theatre hosted the performance “The Story of a Horse” by director Mark Rozovsky, based on Leo Tolstoy’s philosophical parable “Strider”. Over forty popular songs of the 20th century were included into Mark Rozovsky’s play “Songs of our communal apartment”, presented in the Concert Hall “Vitebsk”.
For the second time the program of the International Festival of Arts included the “Puppet Quarter” project. Like last year, all the shows were presented in the Belarusian Puppet Theater “Lyalka”.
The program was opened by the play “Farewell to Matyora”, based on Valentin Rasputin’s story (directed by Stanislav Zhelezkin) and staged by Mytishchi Puppet Theatre “Ognivo” (Russia).
The Poltava Regional Academic Puppet Theater (Ukraine) brought two productions to Vitebsk. The performance for adults “Portrait with flying clock. Marc Chagall”, based on Oksana Dmitrieva’s play (directed by Oksana Dmitrieva), was devoted to the life and work of Marc Chagall, the famous native of Vitebsk. The children production “Tiger Petrik”, directed by Dmitry Nuyanzin and based on the play by Anna Yanushevskaya and Jan Vilkovsky, showed a story of little tiger cub’s growing up.
The Belarusian Theater “Lyalka” also presented two performances, “The Bremen Town Musicians” and “Cinderella, or Crystal Slippers”, staged by the chief theater director Victor Klimchuk whose creativity was highly appreciated at prestigious national and international puppet festivals.
The performance “Postmen” was showed by the Belarusian Theater of interaction “Moustache” (Belarus).
All performances were preceded by happening for children and adults “Voila”, prepared by the drama studio “House of wind” (Belarus).
The festival exhibition program was diverse and multi-faceted. The presentation of the first exhibition “Dali and Picasso” was held at the Art Museum two days before the official opening of the forum. The exhibition included 205 original works by Spanish artists from the Russian collector Alexander Shadrin.
The Regional Local Lore Museum hosted the exhibition “Celestial Empire painting”, presenting works by Chinese artists. The exhibition was organized within the framework of the Belarusian-Chinese events dedicated to the 70th Anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War. It was organized by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Belarus and the Ministry of Culture of the People's Republic of China, as well as the Belarusian Creative Unions Confederation.
Connection of times was the main theme of the exhibition “Tribute to the great masters” by Slovak artist Pavel Pop. The exposition in Vitebsk Art Museum included paintings from the series “Masters of the world fine arts and their works”. The exhibition was held with the help of the Embassy of Slovakia and the Embassy of Serbia in Belarus.
The republican textile art exhibition “Connecting thread” of works by artists from Vitebsk, Polotsk, Minsk, Brest, Gomel, Grodno, Mogilev was open in the museum and cultural-historic complex “Golden Ring of Vitebsk “Dvina”.
The Belarusian art was also presented at the exhibition of paintings and graphics by Alexander Isachev. Over his short life the artist created about 500 works, including “Jesus Christ”, “The Dryad”, “Magic”, “Lilit”, “Isis”.
For the seventeenth time the program “Festival Without Borders” featured a concert by artists from Israel, who presented contemporary instrumental music to the public.
In the concert “Precious Casket” the Honored Artist of Russia Yevgenia Smolianinova performed Russian peasant songs and author songs on poems by the 20 century poets. The first time the singer performed at “Slavianski Bazaar in Vitebsk” together with her son Sviatoslav four years ago.
For the first time Vitebsk hosted a concert by the Moscow Sretensky Monastery Choir. The choir performed spiritual songs, ancient chants, folk songs of the Slavic peoples, as well as songs of the war years.
July 10, 2015, went down in the forum’s history as the opening day of the Street Art Fest “On Seven Winds”, which became another “festival in the festival”, uniting actors, artists, poets, musicians and singers, and presented performances and plays in the open air by companies from Belarus, Russia, France and Ukraine. Responsible for the project was the director of “Koleso” Theater at the State Institution “Centre of Culture “Vitebsk” VladislavaTsviki.
“Koleso” Theater presented musical-plastique comedy tragi-bouffe “Twilight. Sounds. Shadows ... Suitcase”.
The plastique theater “InZhest” (Belarus) under the direction of Vyacheslav Inozemtsev treated the spectators to the performance “Golden Illusion” and “The Golden Age”.
The experimental theatre T(e)=Art (Belarus) showed the performance-mystery “Chronos”.
On the night from July 11 to July 12 the Vitebsk Arts Center hosted a lecture-demonstration by the professional critic and historian of street arts, master of theater Floriane Gaber (France), who spoke about the development trends of the European street art.
During four festival evenings fire-show masters from three Belarusian cities - the school of Fire “ATESH” from Gomel, the club “ERGO BIBAMUS” from Grodno and “AGNI SHOW” from Vitebsk presented their creativity in Vitebsk.
The organizer of the Youth Day (July 11) was traditionally the Belarusian Republican Youth Union.
The program started with the Ceremony of laying flowers at the Memorial in honor of soldiers-liberators, partisans and underground fighters of the Vitebsk region, proving the main festival themes of the 70th Anniversary of the Great Victory over fascism and the Year of Youth.
Notable events of the celebration day were the youth subcultures parade “Belarus In My Heart!”, the “Fire of Dance” festival, performances and workshops by representatives of youth subcultures, the exhibitions “Retro Car”, “SuperBike”, “AutoSound”.
The competitive youth program “Kaleidoscope of humor” gathered eight teams from Brest, Gomel, Grodno, Minsk, Stolbtsy and a combined team of the Mogilev region and Vitebsk.
For the first time the center of the city became the site for a large interactive exhibition “Youth Yard”, designed with the elements of folk traditions of different regions of Belarus.
The final event was the DJ Battle, featuring winners of regional qualifying rounds of the project, and a disco.
The traditional folk crafts fair “City of Masters” was entered by more than 200 artists from 23 crafts centers of the Vitebsk region, members of the Belarusian Union of Folk Artists, representatives of other regions of Belarus, as well as guests from Russia, Ukraine, Latvia and Lithuania. The main street venues were Pushkin Street, Town Hall court, and the right bank of the Western Dvina River near the cultural and historical complex “Golden Ring of Vitebsk “Dvina”. The Vitebsk regional methodical folk art center included in the program a competition of entertainment events “Vyasyolkavy Karagod” (“Rainbow Round Dance”), festivals-contests of rushnik (a woven towel) and dolls.
The official dates of the 24th International Festival of Arts “Slavianski Bazaar in Vitebsk” were outlined by the gala concert of the Closing Ceremony in the Summer Amphitheatre, which became a musical message of peace, love and kindness to all the nations on the Earth.
- Guests have come from the Slavic countries, from different continents to Belarus, from 42 countries, which hasn’t happened so far, and believe us, we’ll do everything to welcome not 42, but 142 countries on this peaceful land! We have everything for this, Belarus is becoming not only the center of political, but also cultural dialogue, - said the President of the Republic of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko from the stage of the Summer Amphitheatre.
During the gala concert Alexander Lukashenko awarded “Through Art to Peace and Mutual Understanding” Special Prize of the President of the Republic of Belarus to People's Artist of Azerbaijan Polad Bulbuloglu, whose star was opened on the Walk of Fame in Vitebsk, and the Special Prize for the bright masterly performance to the finalist of the 24th International Pop Song Performers Contest “Vitebsk-2015” Anna Tverdostup from Ukraine.
For the first time the Award Ceremony of the winners of the 24th International Pop Song Performers Contest “Vitebsk-2015” was held at the Closing Ceremony of the festival. The celebratory concert (directed by Marina Romanovskaya) featured performers from Russia, Belarus, Sweden, Latvia, France and other countries.
The city lived in the atmosphere of celebration for another two days after the Closing Ceremony of “Slavianski Bazaar in Vitebsk”. There were festival exhibitions and a number of concert programs in the Summer Amphitheatre.
For the eighth time in its history the festival delighted the audience with a gala concert “Stars of Chanson-TV”.
The concert by Elena Vaenga featured Anna Mushak from Belarus and Intars Busulis from Latvia.
The final concert of the festival program became a rock program by “B-2” band, who presented the album "#16plyus."