Bring in the Old New Year 2016 in a new style! Celebrating this rich Russian tradition, there will be great mix of crowd, authentic food, live music, dancing and a DJ all night. Happening in the exclusive Music World Entertainment Venue – the hip House of Dereon Media Center.
Hip blend of Russian and international music by the Austin based “Flying Balalaika Brothers” – and Houston’s award winning European-style musical band “Gypsies”, and others
Dance performances by the Traditional Russian dance group
The Russian Cultural Center “Our Texas” invites you to our fourth annual Russian ball. Join us for an unforgettable night with:
Russian Gourmet Feast by Chef Alex Kelly
Dancing to Live Music
Russian Art Silent Auction
This year’s “Hans Graf Leadership Award” will be presented to local Russian artist Mr. Igor Karash for his exceptional art and illustrations for the Folio Publishing Society edition of Leo Tolstoy’s “War and Peace”.
Puppet Show “KOLOBOK and FATHER FROST” (in Russian)
Present from Father Frost to each child!
The Kolobok, (traditional Russian and Ukrainian pie/ small bread), suddenly becomes animated and escapes from “babushka” and “dedushka”s (old wife and man) home. The fairy tale’s plot describes Kolobok’s repetitive meetings with various animals (rabbit, wolf, and bear) who intend to eat it, but Kolobok cunningly escapes. With each animal Kolobok sings a song in which he explains his escape deductively: “I got away from Grandmother, I got away from Grandfather, and I will certainly get away from you”.
Father Frost is a fictional character who in some Slavic cultures plays a role similar to that of Santa Claus. Father Frost is said to bring presents to children; however, unlike the secretive Santa Claus, the gifts are often delivered “in person”, at New Year’s Eve parties and other New Year celebrations.
Purchase your tickets in advance as the seating is limited.
Guest of Honor: Mr. Mark Zaltsberg. Mr. Zaltsberg, an avid lover of opera music and professional lecturer, has made many lovely and memorable musical presentations at Russian Cultural Center. For many years Mark was a translator for visiting Russian singers at the Houston Grand Opera.
Honorary Chairs: His Excellency Mr. Alexander Konstantinovich Zakharov, Consul-General of the Russian Federation and Mrs. Zakharov.
Host Committee: Dr. and Mrs. Agris, Lisa Whitaker, Victoria Filippov Nemeth, Philip Berquist & Lisa Powell, Igor & Donna Alexander, Dr. Inna Shpats, Ms. Lidiya Gold.
Prepare yourself for the biggest New Year celebration! While the rest of the world is back at work soon after December 31, the Russians get to celebrate New Year all over again in January with the Julian calendar. Commemorating the New Year according to the pre-revolutionary style, the Russian Cultural Center “Our Texas” has organized this event to share rich history, fascinating traditions, and entertaining customs in a lively setting, with a live band.
We are thrilled to be bringing one of the largest annual international events to Houston and its visitors. This year the Julian Calendar New Year Celebration promises to be especially exciting due to a new lineup of artists performing a varied program of music in a fantastic setting at the House of Dereon. The Boris Kurganov and Co. will fuse a vibrant blend of Russian and international music with American jazz standards.
There will be a cash bar with Russian vodka and wine. Authentic Eastern European food will be provided by Polonia restaurant.
Forget the New Year’s Eve-panic about where you’ll end up and get ahead by booking for one of the biggest international bashes in Houston!
This year well-known puppeteer Jean Keucher will perform Alladin and Princess Jasmine, the story from “The Tales of the Arabian Nights”. Her unique hand-crafted puppets and marionettes will dazzle all ages. Aladdin and Princess Jasmine outsmart Jafar to keep the magic lamp safe from evil hands. The Genie appears to grant wishes and transport palaces. After the story, Jean Kuecher reveals the special effects and back stage secrets.
After the show, Father Frost and his granddaughter Snegurochka (Snow Maiden) will entertain the little spectators with games and songs. Father Frost in Slavic culture plays a role similar to Santa Claus.
Children will then recite poetry and rhymes in traditional Russian fashion, and then each child will receive a special gift from Father Frost.
Purchase your tickets in advance as the seating is limited.
On January 26 a Houstonian audience had the unique opportunity of hearing a solo concert performed by Albina Shagimuratova accompanied by the pianist Semyon Skigin. For the concert Maestro Skigin chose a program that could not be improved upon to showcase the unique, multifaceted vocal abilities of the singer. In the first part she sang romantic lieder of the composer S.V. Rachmaninoff, conceived and written for high, technically faultless voice, such as the one Shagimuratova possesses. The romances in full measure communicate comprehensively the Russian origins of the composer’s melodies.
Albina has a special respect for the music of Rachmaninoff. In the singer’s own words, “One can endlessly immerse oneself and be astonished by the never-ending, constant, evasive beauty of Rachmaninoff’s melodies.” She performed the composer’s amazing vocal miniatures, “Beauty, Do Not Sing For Me,” “Daisies,” “Springtime’s Waters,” “It Is Good Here,” and others with great feeling and love. Albina admits “I put of part of myself in every one of Rachmaninoff’s romantic lieder.” In Semyon Skigin’s performance, all of the colors of Rachmaninoff’s piano style, with its powerful, truly orchestral sound and with the subtlest nuances, sparkled in all of its tones.
In the second half of the program, undoubtedly, for the first time in their history, were gathered together into a single performance three of the most complicated arias of Italian Bel Canto. Their complexity lies not only in their cosmically high registers, where the soprano has to perform a head-spinning cascade of coloraturas and dynamic contrasts – from a full forte to a whispery piano. The acting demands in these scenes of madness and sleepwalking from operas by Bellini and Donizetti are equally theatrical and vocal tasks, and few are they who can fulfill them. In the present day, Albina Shagimuratova has no equals. They fully entered into each character, communicating the entire complicated spectrum of the feelings and emotions of her characters, thoroughly demonstrating her fiery onstage personality. Her clear, crystalline voice steamed, buttressed by the inspired playing of Semyon Skigin. Such a program demands a master of the highest order and tremendous endurance. Albina astonished the audience with how she acquitted herself of this heavy task.
The Houston audience, adoring Albina, warmly greeted each of her sung compositions. The attendees were particularly won over by her rendering of the famous Rachmaninoff “Vocalise” (Opus 34, Number 14), which was performed finely and with the simplicity of genius. The “Nightingale” of A.A. Alyabev was heard during the encore, which Albina sang, literally, at the very boundaries of what the human voice is capable of. The audience was as literally shaken by this performance. The eyes of many persons shed involuntary tears of joy. It is in such moments that one actually understands that great art is truly inspiring, that it makes us purer and happier. This concert was very much needed by our Houston audience. We are also pleased that we, the Russian Cultural Center, was able to give such a gift to lovers of opera singing and to the fans of Albina Shagimuratova.
Following the concert there was a formal reception in honor of the artists. At the reception, Albina Shagimuratova was given an award, the “Hans Graf Prize for Contributions to the Development of Russian Culture in Texas.” This was the second year that the prize was given out by the Center.
Maestro Hans Graf was not able to attend the concert due to his being on tour. He did send a letter of congratulations to Albina:
“Dear Albina: You are very dear to all of Houston’s music lovers, especially so to the Houston Symphony and myself. You are a bright star in the musical firmament that has given us moments of great joy!
Regrettably, I am not able to attend the concert in person, but I am with you in spirit. I send my congratulations and I am proud of your achievements.
With Love and Admiration,
The reception attendees included the Consul General of the Russian Federation in Houston, Aleksandr Zharov and the Deputy Consul Sergei Azizov and their wives, His Excellency Prince Piotr Galitzine and wife, and sponsors of the event, representatives of Singapore Airlines, Frost Bank, Beauty Medica, the Stinemetz Law Firm and Elena Wunderlich. Unfortunately, some sponsors, Viktor Dunaevskiy and the representatives for the companies Atlantic Ro-Ro and Svytrys were not able to attend the recital. Nonetheless, the Russian Cultural Center is extraordinarily grateful to all of the sponsors for their support.