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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

Thursday, July 31


Develop your leadership abilities during a lecture by famous Russian author and coach Radislav Gandapas. The event starts at 9 a.m. at 5 Lodeinopolskaya Ulitsa. The price for entry is 20,500 rubles ($570).


Relax and enjoy a Parisian atmosphere with some romantic and laidback jazz tunes during the Night of French Music at Lenny Jam Cafe, 63 Ligovsky Prospekt. The entrance fee is 250 rubles ($7).


The Womens Business Club is hosting a Beauty Brunch where participants are invited to discuss the latest news in the beauty industry and listen to lectures by professional stylists in the business.



Friday, Aug. 1


Bikers from all around the world will gather to take part in a parade, extreme shows and rock concerts during the International Biker Festival that revs its engines today and runs through Aug. 3 near Olgino Hotel, 4/2 Primorskogo Shosse.


The Peter and Paul Fortress will be turned into an open-air cinema today and tomorrow as part of the 5th International Short and Animation Film Festival. A huge screen across the fortress walls will air short films non-stop with board games, photo sessions and other activities also on offer for visitors. For more information, visit www.opencinemafest.ru



Saturday, Aug. 2


Gatchina Palace Park Museum will host its second annual Night of Light, an impressive audio-visual show across the night sky. Tickets are 600 rubles ($16).


If graphic design is more your thing then check out Illustration Day, where you will be able to visit an exhibition, attend lectures by professionals and even show experts some of your own work. The event starts at noon at Zona Deystvia, 73 Ligovsky Prospekt. The entrance fee is 350 rubles ($10).



Sunday, Aug. 3


History lovers shouldnt miss the chance to see reenactments of World War I battles in Pushkin at noon. Besides exciting war scenes, visitors can enjoy live music, historical costumes, an equestrian show and a fancy-dress parade starting from the Moscow gates.


Garage Sale, the popular and growing flea market where nothing is priced over 500 rubles ($14.11), starts today at noon in Loft-Project Etagi, 74 Ligovsky Prospekt. Be sure to get in early to score a bargain. Entry costs 50 rubles ($1.40)



Monday, Aug. 4


Continue the working week with a calm and steady mind with a free yoga lesson at 7 p.m. in the Bukvoyed store at 23A Vladimirsky Prospekt.



Tuesday, Aug. 5


Visit The Romanov Dynasty doll exhibition today, where more than fifty porcelain dolls depicting Russian rulers, and made by Olina Ventzel, will be on show. The exhibition continues through Aug. 31 in Sheremetyev Palace, 34 Fontanka Naberezhnaya.



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