Calendars \ Calendar 2016 \ Contribution by Olga Strada

Here, in my Moscow – cupolas gleaming!

Here, in my Moscow – great bells ringing!

And the tombs here, facing,

Of Tsarinas, and the Tsars. *

I would like to use these intensely evocative words, taken from a poem by Marina Tsvetaeva, to introduce my welcome to the guests who will be visiting Moscow soon. Light and sound, spirituality and magnificence, are among the founding elements of Moscow’s genius loci. This city first welcomed me at a time when the streets went by different names, Gorky Street, Herzen Street, Dzerzhinsky Square, having now returned their original names, Tverskaya Street, Nikitskaya Street, Lubyanka Square: a living testimony to Russia’s complex and involute history. Moscow enchants and charms, it draws you into its dynamic vortex, like a painting by Aristarkh Lentulov in which broken geometries of jumbled domes confuse the eye.

“Walking the streets of Moscow” is the name of a film which was a cult for a whole generation of Muscovites, in which Nikita Mikhalkov (making his debut as actor), sings a song, full of positive spirit; you can start your journey walking around Moscow by wandering through the pages of the book by Vladimir Gilyarovsky, - a writer ad journalist who lived between the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century, - entitled “Moscow and the Muscovites”, recently translated into Italian for Felici Editore.

Today, thanks to the job I’ve been assigned, my commitment will involve conceiving programmes and projects aimed at strengthening the already extensive in Russia knowledge of Italian culture, trying as much as possible to embrace the various areas that make it up, from art to literature, music, film, philosophy and theatre. My main focus will be to reveal less well-known – but no less interesting – moments of our cultural and artistic history, taking a detailed look at both past and present, drawing attention to Italy’s young talents and hopes.

The decision to hold the “War and Peace” ball in the Russian year of literature, and the view of the city through its literary venues offered by Massimo Listri’s lens pay tribute to a land and a city that will undoubtedly offer its guests a generous and warm welcome.

* Translation by A.S. Kline

Olga Strada

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