Tony Award winner Ralph Fiennes (Hamlet) will head an all-star gala at New York City's Carnegie Hall, celebrating Russian author Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin's 200th birthday on June 12.
The evening, which is titled Pushkin 200, will have Fiennes reading verses from some of Pushkin's poetry. Although primarily known for his Oscar-nominated film roles in "Schindler's List" and "The English Patient," Fiennes won the hearts of theatre lovers and the 1995 Tony Award for his performance in the title role of Hamlet. Fiennes' interest in Pushkin isn't limited to one-night only; he's also the executive producer and star of the upcoming film, "Onegin," based on Pushkin's epic verse novel.
Joining Fiennes for the June 12 evening will be American actor Keith David, Metropolitan Opera soloists Stefka Evstatieva, Sergei Leiferkus and Joseph Shalomayev, violin soloist Roslyn Hung, Kirov Ballet Prima Ballerina Galina Mezentseva and the esteemed Russian actor Sergey Yursky, all directed by John Margulis. Host for the evening will be Svyatoslav Belza, a Russian TV musical editor. The Metropolitan Opera stars will perform arias and romances by Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov, Glinka and other Russian composers who created musical works inspired by Pushkin's poetry and novels.
Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin was born in 1799 and died in 1837 in a duel over his wife. He's considered one of the great influences in Russian literature. Many operas have been based on Pushkin's work including Glinka's "Ruslan and Lyudmila," Dargomizhsky's "Rusalksa" and "The Stone Guest," Mussorgsky's "Boris Godunov," Tchaikovsky's "Eugene Onegin," "Mazeppa" and "The Queen of Spades," Rachmaninoff's "Aleko" and "The Miserly Knight," Napravnik's "Dubrovsky," Rimsky-Korsakov's "Mozart and Salieri," "The Tale of Tsar Saltan" and "The Golden Cockerel" and Stravinsky's "Mavra."
The evening, Pushkin 200 will be presented by the American University in Moscow, Novoye Russkoye Slovo Daily and Margo Grant, in cooperation with the Embassy of the Russian Federation, Consulate General of the Russian Federation. Honory Chairs for the event will be Yury Ushakov, Russian Ambassador to the United States, and U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan. For tickets ($15 - $75) or more information, call (212) 779-1771.
-- By Sean McGrath