Opera on Tverskaya Street, ballet on ice at Novopushkinsky Garden Square: Upcoming New Year celebrations in Moscow
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Opera on Tverskaya Street, ballet on ice at Novopushkinsky Garden Square: Upcoming New Year celebrations in Moscow


This year’s Journey to Christmas Festival will focus on theatre.


From 22 December through 14 January, city streets, boulevards, squares and lanes will be transformed into theatrical stages, Sergei Sobyanin wrote on his Twitter account.

During this time, Moscow will host Journey to Christmas, the most dazzling festival of the year. Performances, plays, concerts and workshops will take place non-stop daily from 10 am through 11 pm, except on 31 December, when they will be held from 10 am through 3 am. The main events take place at the following locations: Tverskaya Street; Red Square; Manezhnaya Square;Tverskaya Square; Revolutsii Square; Rozhdestvenka Street; Arbat Street; Novy Arbat Street; Kamergersky Pereulok; Tverskoy Boulevard; Gogolevsky Boulevard; Klimentovsky Pereulok; and at Novopushkinsky Garden Square. The renovated Garden Ring will also host a number of festival events for the first time.

There are plans to entertain visitors at 21 sites in central Moscow, and a total of 69 festival sites are planned throughout the city. Visitors can choose from more than 8,000 workshops, as well as interactive programmes, plays, street theatres, and concerts. The upcoming festival is to focus on the theatre because 2018 has been declared the Year of the Theatre in Russia.

Roam through a fairy-tale forest and watch “12 Months” play


During the festival, Manezhnaya Square will turn into a fairy-tale forest of meandering paths, lined with more than 500 artificial pines and fir trees. While wandering through the forest, visitors can watch episodes from the play, “12 Months”. Anyone can take part in this interactive production, which will be immersive, involving the full participation of the visitor. The scenery will be distributed in different parts of the forest, with each location offering one episode of the play. Visitors will need to walk through the entire fairy forest to experience the event in full.

Those who prefer other kinds of fun will be able to ride down the city’s largest winter slide, between Manezhnaya and Revolutsii squares. The 100-metre long slope has an elevation of eight metres. The slide will have four lanes for the first time, with four people simultaneously riding donut-shaped inflatable sleds. The structure will be made from transparent blocks of ice, delivered from lakes near the city of Pervouralsk, and its sides will be carved with intricate patterns. Free sleds will be available.

Nearby on Revolutsii Square, a school of good manners and New Year traditions will open. The square itself will be dedicated to New Year traditions of the 19th century, when the holiday first became a family celebration, usually involving home-made foods and gifts. Those attending the workshop will learn how to dance at a New Yearball, manage a household, cook and how to lay a New Year table. They will also study etiquette. In addition, the square will feature a joiner’s workshop, where experienced carpenters will show visitors how to make New Year toys, candlesticks and Christmas cards from wood.

Opera on Tverskaya Street, ballet on ice at Novopushkinsky Garden Square: Upcoming New Year celebrations in Moscow

World’s fairy tales galore on Tverskaya Square, ballet on ice at Novopushkinsky Garden Square


The Fairy Tale Theatre, due to open on Tverskaya Square, will acquaint spectators with Christmas stories from Russia and around the world. Daily, the main local stage will present plays based on the fairy tales of several countries, including Russia, Finland, the Czech Republic, Austria, Germany, Spain, France, Latvia, Norway, Sweden and Denmark. Each performance will have its own unique scenery. During the New Year celebrations on Tverskaya Square, festival guests will be able to watch performances including a puppet theatre from Hungary, a street troubadour troupe from Spain, a Mumi-Troll (Moomintroll) theatre from Finland, an Estonian play for children and lots more.

Apart from the Fairy Tale Theatre, Tverskaya Square will feature heated pavilions which will serve as improvised theatres, offering both performances and training to help people set up their own theatre at home.

The Living Room pavilion will host theatrical workshops for children who will learn how to make home theatres, puppets and Christmas puppet theatres. Cooks will explain to adults and children how they can make dishes enjoyed by their favourite fairy-tale characters. Visitors will learn the recipe for the ginger cookies that Pippi Longstocking likes, the secret ingredient of Moomintroll Mamma’s favourite pancakes, and how to make meatballs and buns from Karlson.

Also, everyone will also be able to try the traditional Czech delicacy, Trdelnik pastries. These are rolled-dough tubes, filled with cinnamon, sugar, almond and poppy seeds. In addition, professional cooks from Lithuania will demonstrate the baking of the Lithuanian Christmas Tree Cake, known as Sakotis.

Tverskaya Square will also host the Magic White Forest, an installation with enormous animals and trees placed inside large glass spheres, amid a snowfall effect. The nearby Glass Theatre will thrill visitors with a glass-making shop where glass-blowers from Russia and the Czech Republic will display their skills and conduct several workshops on how to make glass toys and souvenirs.

The Magic White Theatre, due to open on Klimentovsky Pereulok, will host a special New Year carnival. During the entire festival, this lane will be swarming with snow giants, Christmas angels, animated magic lanterns and various fantasty characters, dressed in white suits.

The Ice Theatre, due to open at Novopushkinsky Garden Square, will thrill spectators with daily ballets on ice, directed by professional figure skater Pyotr Chernyshev. During intermissions, anyone will be able to take part in a skating workshop or perform their own improvised stunts. A skate rental centre will also be available. On weekends and holidays, the Ice Theatre will host thematic dance parties with DJs on ice.

Opera on Tverskaya Street, ballet on ice at Novopushkinsky Garden Square: Upcoming New Year celebrations in Moscow

Tverskoy Boulevard to offer snowboarding and snowball-throwing workshops


Those who prefer outdoor games and sports should visit Tverskoy Boulevard where young people will be able to throw snowballs and snowboard. Children and adults will also be able to snowboard on Novy Arbat Street where a snowboarding park will be built. The 100-metre sport area will link two festival venues between 19 and 21 Novy Arbat Street.

Slides for various categories of snowboarders will be built on the edges of the park, including a wide ramp with challenging features for professionals and a safe narrow slope for beginners. All structures will be four metres tall. A balance-board facility, a playground, a DJ console and a free sport equipment rental centre will be located in the central section of this area. A winter arena for snowball-throwing will also be built. (Editor’s Note: A balance-board on wheels is used to improve one’s sense of balance).

The snowboarding park will be open throughout the festival. Anyone will be able to train, with instructors for beginners.

Opera on Tverskaya Street, ballet on ice at Novopushkinsky Garden Square: Upcoming New Year celebrations in Moscow

Celebrating Scandinavian Christmas on Novy Arbat Street


Four Novy Arbat Street sites will be dedicated to Scandinavian Christmas. Visitors can learn about Finnish Christmas traditions at 13 Novy Arbat Street. The protagonists of the famous fairy tale “Moomintroll”, by Tove Kansson, will present an interactive play called “Christmas at Moomintroll House.” During this play, spectators will learn how to bake a pie with pine needles. They will also decorate the top of a Christmas tree with a comet, and learn how to get rid of Hattifnattars, little magic creatures charged with electricity who can give anyone the jolt of a lifetime. At the end of the play, its characters and spectators will visit a local children’s library offering workshops and short plays based on Scandinavian fairy tales.

A site opposite 15 Novy Arbat Street will be devoted to Danish fairy tale writer Hans Christian Andersen. Characters from his “Snow Queen” and “Tinderbox” fairy tales will communicate with and entertain spectators. Interactive weekend performances are open to all visitors.

A stage near 19 Novy Arbat Street will acquaint people with Pettson and Findus, from Swedish writer Sven Nordqvist’s stories. There will be short sketches, preparations for Christmas, pie baking, Chritmas tree decorations, a theatrical quiz and discussions with guests.

And on a stage near 21 Novy Arbat Street, musicals involving children will be performed amid a dense forest of fir trees, inhabited by the Trolls, protagonists of Norwegian fairy tales.

Opera on Tverskaya Street, ballet on ice at Novopushkinsky Garden Square: Upcoming New Year celebrations in Moscow

Opera on Tverskaya Street and Olympic figure skating lessons on Red Square


Tverskaya Street will become the main theatrical street during the New Year celebrations and will host the most spectacular festival events from 31 December through 2 January. On these days, the city’s main street will be pedestrian zones with no vehicles allowed between Triumfalnaya and Lubyanka squares. Spectators will be able to watch about 150 performances there. Each Tverskaya Street site will be dedicated to world-famous productions, operas and ballets: from “Sadko” to “Nutcracker.”

As is traditional during the holiday season, Red Square will play host to skating enthusiasts, and those who like New Year marketplaces and fairs. Its skating rink will offer guests the opportunity to practice in the company of professional athletes. Ice hockey player and world champion Alexei Yashin will hold workshops on the skating rink. Figure skating buffs will be able to train with world championships medalist Yury Ovchinnikov, winner of the European Figure Skating Championships’ freestyle programme. Those wishing to attend free workshops should register on the State Department Store (GUM) website that also shows the workshop schedule and skating-rink ticket prices. Near the rink, 28 wooden winter-fair chalets will be selling tasty foods, souvenirs and gifts. Adults and children will be able to ride a two-tier merry-go-round with carved wooden horses, the main attraction of the winter fair.

The fair and the skating rink on Red Square will open 30 November, earlier than all other sites, and will continue until 28 February, the end of the winter season.

This will be the fifth Journey to Christmas festival to date. City residents voting on the Active Citizen website chose the events, workshops and working hours of the festival’s sites.

The tradition of holding a winter festival began in December 2012 when its organisers drew inspiration from the Strasbourg Christmas Fair. The 2016 Journey to Christmas Festival involved 3,000 street shows, 8,000 workshops and 100 free thematic guided tours. The city opened 42 festival sites, with over 12 million people, including four million tourists from Russian regions and other countries, visiting them.