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Siege Inspires Youthful Ambition Decades Later

Published: January 22, 2014 (Issue # 1794)



  • Having lived through the siege, Novitsky's grandparents and their experience has help Novitsky prepare for his role.
    Photo: For SPT

  • Novitsky received a nomination in the Best Actor category for a Golden Mask for his performance as Alfred in the musical Dance of the Vampires.
    Photo: For SPT

Every year, to help commemorate the anniversary of the Siege of Leningrad, local theater group Hailing From the Blockade organizes a series of free charity concerts dedicated to the blockade. This year, in the lead-up to the 70th anniversary of the lifting of the Siege, the popular concerts will be on again from Jan. 26-30 at various locations around the city

Recognized with an entry in the Golden Book of St. Petersburg, the highest honor given as recognition for contributions made to the city and its citizens, the theater group has been running the annual charity events since 1995. Its members include those who personally experienced the blockade as well as their children and grandchildren and, in some cases, even their great-grandchildren.

You may also be interested in: City Remembers Siege of Leningrad

At 23, George Novitsky is one of the youngest performers with the group whose grandparents lived through the siege. Novitsky is now also the same age his grandfather was when the siege began in 1941. His grandmother was only 11.

Both of my grandparents did what they could during the blockade. My grandmother, for example, helped the wounded while my grandfather, who worked at Kirovsky Zavod, was also part of Leningrads Home Guard Infantry Division, which helped bring down the blockade, said Novitsky.

The influence of his grandparents experiences has also helped prepare Novitsky to perform in the group, which he joined seven years ago.

We used to have a lot of conversations about the war [both grandparents have since passed away] and the siege itself, but it was never for the sake of idle chit-chat. When they spoke, you got a sense that they were sharing something hidden and sacred. The way they told all these terrible stories in such a calm manner, with such a strength and courage in their voices of course it had a profound impact on us, giving us insight into what it was like during those times, said Novitsky.

I think that today, more and more people are recognizing the war and honoring its memory. We are starting to see more and more young people in our audience, which makes us very happy. The number of veterans is growing smaller every year in both our group and the audience and so in this way we can show them that we, the young generation, remember and honor their memory and spirit, he said.

In addition to performing with Hailing from the Blockade, Novitsky has also performed with the Theater of Musical Comedy. For his performance as Alfred in the musical Dance of the Vampires, he received a nomination in the Best Actor category for a Golden Mask the Russian National Theater Awards in 2013.

You may also be interested in: Give Employees a Day Off for Siege Anniversary, says St. Petersburg Governor

Having studied overseas and with plans this year to perform a solo act, it is Novitskys love and appreciation for what was sacrificed in St. Petersburg that keeps him in the city. You may not believe this but when I was away in Italy for a year doing a traineeship, I dreamt of Nevsky Prospekt every single night, he said.

St. Petersburg has this inexplicable attraction. It is truly an amazing city; enchanting and miraculous!

Hailing From the Blockade will be performing from Jan. 26-30. Check www.finzal.ru for more details





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Friday, Oct. 31


Put your grammar and logical thinking to the test in a fun and friendly environment during the British Book Centers Board Game Evening starting at 5 p.m. today. The event is free and all are welcome to attend.



Saturday, Nov. 1


The men and women who dedicate their lives to fitness get their chance to compete for the title of best body in Russia at todays Grand Prix Fitness House PRO, the nations premier bodybuilding competition. Not only will men and women be competing for thousands of dollars in prizes and a trip to represent their nation at Mr. Olympia but sporting goods and nutritional supplements will also be available for sale. Learn more about the culture of the Indian subcontinent during Diwali, the annual festival of lights that will be celebrated in St. Petersburg this weekend at the Culture Palace on Tambovskaya Ul. For 100 rubles ($2.40), festival-goers listen to Indian music, try on traditional Indian outfits and sample dishes highlighting the culinary diversity of the billion-plus people in the South Asian superpower.



Sunday, Nov. 2


Check out the latest video and interactive games at the Gaming Festival at the Mayakovsky Library ending today. Meet with the developers of the popular and learn more about their work, or learn how to play one of their creations with the opportunity to ask the creators themselves about the exact rules.



Monday, Nov. 3


Non-athletes can get feed their need for competition without breaking a sweat at the Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament this evening at the Cube Bar at Lomonosova 1. Referees will judge the validity of each matchup award points to winners while the citys elite fight for the chance to be called the best of the best. Those hoping to play must arrange a team beforehand and pay 200 rubles ($4.80) to enter.



Tuesday, Nov. 4


Attend the premiere of Canadian director Xavier Dolans latest film Mommy at the Avrora theater this evening. The fifth picture from the 25-year-old, it is the story of an unruly teenager but the most alluring (or unappealing) aspect is the way the film was shot: in a 1:1 format that is more reminiscent of Instagram videos than cinematic art. Tickets cost 400 rubles ($9.60) and snacks and drinks will be available.



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