The official opening ceremony of the international cultural project ‘Russian Seasons’ took place in France on 16th January 2020 at the famous Odeon theatre in Paris. The Odeon theatre – one of three theatres holding the prestigious title of the Theatre of Europe together with Piccolo Theatre in Milan and the Maly Drama Theatre. The evening included the premiere of ‘Uncle Vanya’, a play sharing the same name as the work of the great Russian writer A.P.Chekhov. The production staged by one of the leading French directors and artistic manager of the Odeon theatre Stephane Braunschweiger was performed by the leading drama theatre of Russia – The State Theatre of Nations - under the directorship of People′s Artist of the Russian Federation E.V.Mironov.
More than 400 events were planned as part of the ‘Russian Seasons’ in 2020. Before the introduction of restrictive measures by the governments of Russia, France, Belgium and Luxembourg 117 events took place including: theatre tour of the Leonid Yacobson Ballet, an exhibition ‘The Magic of watercolours’ by Sergey Andriaka, a concert by Russian pianist Rem Urasin, a performance by Vadim Repin, a tour of the Russian Institute of Theatrical Art (GITIS) and more.
As a result of the epidemic and the cancellation of a large number of events ‘Russian Seasons’ has launched an online service ‘Stay home with Russian Seasons′. The project aims to provide access to the cultural content of Russia and continue the festival, despite the restrictive measures. Under a special ‘Stay home’ tab, one will be able to find symphony music concerts, and ballet and theatrical productions by leading cultural associations. The online service began on 23rd March 2020 and since then the broadcasts have been shown every week in the Stay home section.
For foreign and Russian audiences the ‘Russian Seasons’ launched an online service ‘Stay home with Russian Seasons’ to provide an access to the cultural heritage of Russia and continue the project despite the restrictive measures. ‘Stay home’ is a free media library for videos and broadcasts of the participants of ‘Russian Seasons’. The leading cultural institutions and creative teams of Russia are presented in a separate section of the official site. All broadcasts are translated into French or English.
The revival of the project, after the pause in 2020 due to coronavirus restrictions, was symbolized by the traditional ceremony of dressing the famous Belgian fountain statue 'Manneken Pis' in Brussels in a stylized version of the Russian Guardsman costume, which took place on June 12, 2021, Russia Day. The ceremony was attended by representatives of the municipal authorities and the Russian Ambassador to Belgium, Alexander Tokovinin.
Also, as part of the Russian Seasons in Belgium and with the support of the Russian Center for Science and Culture, the St. Petersburg State Academic Capella Choir, directed by People's Artist of the USSR Vladislav Chernushenko, performed for the audience in Brussels. The concerts were held in the country's four largest Catholic cathedrals and covered all of Belgium's regions: Brussels, Flemish, and Walloon. The performances were attended by more than 3,000 European and Russian spectators.
In December, a series of concerts by soloists of the All-Russian Youth Symphony Orchestra and classical music concerts performed by the Mariinsky Theatre Stradivarius Ensemble under the baton of Maestro Valery Gergiev was held at the Bozar Center for the Fine Arts in Belgium.