Soviets Add a Play to S.D. Arts Festival

San Diego County Arts Writer

Leningrad’s Maly Drama Theatre will present the U.S. premiere of a seven-hour play, “Brothers and Sisters,” here during the “Treasures of the Soviet Union” arts festival this fall, festival officials announced at a press conference Tuesday.

Festival administrators in San Diego also announced that the number of Faberge Imperial Eggs committed for exhibition at the San Diego Museum of Art during the festival, which will run from Oct. 21 to Nov. 11, has grown from 17 to 22. The gold and gem-encrusted ornamental eggs come from the collections of the Kremlin Armory Museum, the Forbes Magazine Galleries and five museum and private collections, festival officials said. The egg exhibition will extend beyond the festival to Jan. 7.

“Brothers and Sisters,” a dramatization of a trilogy of novels by Fyodor Abramov, depicts the realities of rural life in the Soviet Union following World War II. It will be performed by a cast of 40 in two parts that will normally be seen on consecutive evenings at the Old Globe Theatre from Oct. 22 to Nov. 12. Thirteen complete cycles will be performed.


The play, budgeted at $750,000, will be performed in Russian. Audience members will be given a device that will allow them to hear an English translation.

The $6-million festival will feature, in addition, folk art, dancing and music, and film and culinary exhibitions.

Apparently, the organizers have lowered their expectations as to the festival’s potential economic impact. When Mayor Maureen O'Connor announced the festival early last year, she compared the event’s prospects with the 1987 Super Bowl, which generated an estimated $136 million. The estimated economic impact now is placed at $35 million.

Other new festival attractions announced Monday: an exhibit of Faberge mineral and gemstone carvings at the San Diego Museum of Natural History, a display of Russian lacquer miniatures at the San Diego Museum of Man and a Soviet/American space art exhibition presented by the Reuben H. Fleet Space Theater and the San Diego Historical Society.

About a dozen of San Diego’s 90 cultural and arts institutions are involved with putting on 19 different festival events, organizers said.

Festival highlights previously announced include:

* Three performances of Sergei Eisenstein’s 1938 film epic, “Alexander Nevsky,” accompanied by the San Diego Symphony and the San Diego Master Chorale under Soviet guest conductor Evgeny Kolobov. The symphony will play three weeks of programs featuring Russian music and Russian musicians, including the Soloists of Leningrad, a chamber orchestra.

* The San Diego Opera production of Mussorgsky’s “Boris Godunov,” with Soviet bass Alexander Morozov and soprano Irina Bogacheva, conducted by Jansoug Kakhidze of the Tbilisi State Theatre of Opera and Ballet.

* A film festival and symposium featuring four renowned Georgian directors and a Georgian film critic.

* “Masterworks in Metal,” an exhibit of 30 elaborately decorated icons and religious objects from the State Art Museum of Georgia, organized by the Timken Art Gallery, and displayed at the B Street Pier.