Person of the
Year in Culture

Diana Vishneva

Diana Vishneva is a Russian ballet dancer, prima ballerina of the Mariinsky Theater, People's Artist of Russia, laureate of the State Prize of Russia, and holder of two "Golden Mask" awards, the ideological inspirer of Context, the festival of modern choreography.

She has been a guest prima dancer at the Bolshoi theater, La Scala, the American Ballet Theater (ABT), the Metropolitan Opera, Parisian Grand Opera, the Berlin Opera and the Hamburg Ballet John Neumeier. She became the only Russian ballerina in the last 25 years to be invited to perform “Bolero” with the troupe of Maurice Bejart.

Maya Plisetskaya had previously danced in this troupe.

In May 2015, Vishneva celebrated the 20th anniversary of her artistic career in a gala concert at the Bolshoi and the Mariinsky Theater. Held three days after the death of Maya Plisetskaya, Diana Vishneva dedicated her St. Petersburg gala concert to her memory. The Twentieth anniversary evening three-act program included the second act of "Cinderella" directed by Alexei Ratmanskogo, the third act of "Onegin" by John Cranko and the sketch "The Old Man and Me" (choreography by Hans van Manen), which Vishneva performed with the famous dancer Vladimir Malakhov.

In November, the third “Diana Vishneva. Context” international festival of contemporary choreography will be held. There will be lectures, workshops and film screenings, competition for young choreographers, the premiere of a production by Itzik Galili (Israel), Vishneva herself will perform along with the troupe of Introdance (Netherlands) and Brenda Angiel (Argentina). The central event of the festival will be a visit by the troupe of the outstanding choreographer and founder of modern dance, Martha Graham.

Elena Gremina

Elena Gremina is a Russian writer, director and playwright of the "new drama." She is considered one of the ideologues of this new trend in theater in which closeness to reality, the ability to most accurately reflect contemporary reality, is most highly valued. Gremina — co-founder and director of "Theatre.doc," operating since 2002, is one of the leaders of "documentary theater." Under her leadership, the artists of “Theatre.doc" are also engaged in social work — they run theatrical lessons in a correctional school, they adapt Russian classics in schools for migrant children and conduct workshops and master classes with teenage inmates.

Most of the productions by "Theatre.doc" are done in the genre of documentary theater. For text, they use authentic materials, interviews, and documents. Performances are based on historical facts or meetings with real people — the most relevant and timely topics of reality. The genre ranges from stand-up to epic, from intimate diary to gourmet conceptualist action. A significant share of the repertoire consists of plays with acute political or social significance.

Among the highly political works is "Hour Eighteen," about the death of the auditor Sergei Magnitsky, and the phantasmagoria "Berlusputin," based on a play by Nobel laureate Dario Fo.

"Theatre.doc" has twice in the last year been deprived of its space: in January it had to move from Trekhprudny Pereulok, where it had worked from its founding (its contract with the Moscow department of the property was terminated). In May, the new landlord, again suddenly terminated the contract prematurely and ordered that before Aug. 1, they had to move out of the building on Spartakovskaya Ulitsa.

Despite all the difficulties, under Gremina's leadership, "Theatre.doc" continues running. On Sept. 22, in Moscow, on Maly Kazeyonny Pereulok, where the theater has moved this time, they held the premiere of "true stories of women, men and gods."

A week later in St. Petersburg, they began the first big tour of the theater — seven plays, four of which are premieres. Before this, last minute touring by "Theatre.doc" in St. Petersburg was always frustrated and denied a platform. This time, they performed on the stage of Simyon Alexandrovsky's pop-up theater, conceived in the form of "sudden appearances" — after the performances of "Theatre.doc," the pop-up project closed, to appear in other places with unpredictable regularity.

Olga Zakharova

The former executive director of TV channel Rain was appointed to head Moscow's main park in October 2011, a year after the restoration and modernization of the park was begun under the direction of Sergei Kapkov. She was the second woman director in the history of Gorky Park. (The first was American Betty Glan, who created the concept of the park, from 1930 to 1937). When renovations began on the park, few believed that the neglected historical site would be transformed into one of its best spaces in the capital city. When Zakharova left her post, Gorky Park was part of the five most popular holiday destinations in the world by number of Instagram geotags, overtaking the Louvre and Red Square.

In fact, it was thanks to the efforts Zakharova and team that it became popular to go to parks, especially for the young. In 2011, when the new team came to the park, its income from business activities was 135 million rubles. And at the end of 2014, that figure had risen to 755 million rubles – in four years, the park's revenues had increased nearly fivefold. In 2015, 305 million rubles earned by the park were reinvested in its development. One of Zakharova's last achievements as executive director of the park was the restoration of the park's main entrance. An observation deck was built on its roof, and a lecture hall and museum of the park's history were installed inside.

Yevgeny Mironov

The famous theater and film actor Yevgeny Mironov has been working since December 2006 as artistic director of the State Theater of Nations. In June 2015, the main stage of the Theater of the Nations premiered a work by one of the most famous and acclaimed theater directors Robert Wilson. He presented his version of canonical works of Pushkin: "The Tale of Tsar Saltan," "The Tale of the Fisherman and the Fish," "The Tale of the Priest and His Workman Balda,” "The Tale of the Golden Cockerel,” and the less famous "Tale of the She-Bear," as well as fragments of the poem "Ruslan and Lyudmila."

One of the central events of the upcoming season of the Theater of Nations will be the staging of Chekhov's "Ivanov." Mironov invited the artistic director of the French theater "l'Odeon," the world famous director Luc Bondy to work on this production. The premiere is scheduled for May 2016.

This season, the Theater of Nations is also launching a new regional project — "Theatre of Nations FEST...,” whose purpose is to give viewers the opportunity for a few days to become acquainted with various forms of activity within the theater — not only performances, but also musical and literary concerts, social projects, educational programs, meetings, laboratories, modern drama and directing, etc.

Vladimir Urin

Vladimir Urin is a Soviet and Russian theater critic, director, teacher, professor, and has been the General Director of the Bolshoi Theatre from July 9, 2013. He is an Honored Artist of Russia. He is known as the man under whose leadership the Moscow Musical Theatre. KS Stanislavsky and Vl.I. Nemirovich-Danchenko, has become one of the best in Russia. After becoming CEO in 2013, Urin invited to the Bolshoi some of the most progressive and even most controversial of Russian directors.

In its new season, the Grand Theater is planning at least nine premieres — six operas and three ballets. Most of them will be theater debuts. Rimas Tuminas will present Shostakovich's opera "Katerina Ismailova," in the the second half of February. In April, the New Stage will host the premiere of Donizetti's "Don Pasquale," which will be produced by Timothy Kulyabin. He is the young director who was at the epicenter of the legal investigation into a performance of Wagner's "Tannhauser " at the Novosibirsk Opera and Ballet Theater (he received an invitation from the leadership of the Bolshoi after receiving the "Golden Mask" award last year). And in June there will be a staging of "The Damnation of Faust" by Berlioz. The play will be directed by another newcomer to the Bolshoi Theater — the outstanding German director Peter Stein.

Aleksandr Sokurov

In September 2015, the famous Russian film director Alexander Sokurov won the prize for “Best European Film" from the Federation of Film Critics of Europe and the Mediterranean Fedeora competition at the 72nd International Venice Film Festival for the film "La Francophonie.” “La Francophonie" was presented not as a Russian film, but as a joint project of France, Germany and the Netherlands, carried out by a Russian director in Russian.

This is an artistic and documentary study of how, during the Nazi occupation of Paris, measures were taken to save the cultural heritage of the Louvre, the main French museum.

The film features Jacques Zhozhar, director of the museum, and the German Count Franz Wolff-Metternich, on whose shoulders lay responsibility for preservation of works of art in the occupied territories.

In June 2015, at the ceremony for his State Prize in the Kremlin, Alexander Sokurov said, "I would ask God to preserve us from mistakes, and I ask God to preserve our soldiers and officers, and that he should preserve life, and so that all we do is humane." After the ceremony, in a private conversation with Vladimir Putin, Sokurov repeatedly explained to the president of the country, why he had not made a version of "Faust" in Russian, and spoke to him repeatedly about "politics."

In August, Alexander Sokurov, along with other Russian directors (Andrei Zvyagintsev, Nikita Mikhalkov, Alexei German Jr., Vladimir Kott, Alexey Fedorchenko, Vladimir Mirzoyev, Pavel Bardin and Askold Kurov) spoke in defense of the Ukrainian director Oleg Sentsov, before the announcement of the Russian court verdict.