Monaco has always harboured a special relationship with Russia. The Principality has forever attracted Russian expats to its glamorous shores and in March 2014, La Costa Properties reported a threefold increase in numbers of visiting Russians.
But in truth, Russia-Monaco relations go back far further than that. The two countries have been closely allied since the late 19th century under the reign of Prince Charles III of Monaco and Tsar Alexander II of Russia. It would seem Russians have long had a soft spot for the lavish lifestyle and the world-renowned events that the Principality annually offers its visitors.
This year is no different. In fact if you are a Russian visitor or own Monaco real estate, it is an exceptional year. Exhibitions, operas, Russian ballets and concerts are just a few of the exciting events for the ‘Russian Year in Monaco’ in 2015. In homage to the longstanding relationship between the two states, the ‘Année de la Russie’ was agreed to dedicate a year to raising awareness and embracing Russian culture, an unprecedented undertaking in Monaco.
The Russian Year in Monaco was originally an idea conceived by Prince Albert II after his official visit to Moscow in 2013 as a tribute to the 150-year-old historical ties between the two nations. It wasn’t until the 29th October 2014 however, that details of the events were released.
Commenting at the time, Prince Albert declared that the Russian Year in Monaco would “consist of events held on Monegasque territory, as well as initiatives aimed at showcasing the diversity of the relations that exist between Russia and Monaco, particularly at the cultural level, but also in the fields of history, education, science, economics, sport, charities, gastronomy and fashion.”
Despite the majority of events being held in 2015, the first began in late December 2014 with an original rendition of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew by the Bolshoi Ballet. Jean-Christophe Maillot, artistic director of the Ballets de Monte Carlo since 1993, choreographed the show accompanied by the Philharmonic Orchestra of Monte Carlo who played to the music of Dmitri Shostakovich. The show which had premiered in Moscow in July 2014, was the first Bolshoi Ballet production to be choreographed by a foreigner and was met with critical acclaim.
Each month in the new year will offer residents of Monte Carlo real estate the chance to experience different aspects of Russian culture in Monaco. Championing Russian history are Professor Pallanca’s exhibition at the Naval Museum on model Russian ships, ‘The Russian Navy from Peter the Great to the Present’, which runs from March-September and the Prehistoric Anthropology Museum’s exhibition ‘In the Footsteps of the Woolly Mammoth in Siberia’ on 29th May.
2015 will also feature many musical events including Shostakovich’s opera ‘Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk’ in April, followed by a Red Army Choir performance at the Formula 1 Grand Prix Gala dinner in May and a concert by the Philharmonic Orchestra of Monte Carlo and Russian conductor Valery Gergiev in July at the Prince’s Palace.
June, however, is scheduled to be the busiest month for the Principality, with the Russian National Day annually held on June 12th. In particular, the Fine Art Gallery of Russian Masters will be busy with a Russian art exhibition and as will the various restaurants of the Société des Bains de Mer who are planning to host a ‘Russian Gastronomy Seasons’ event.
Prince Albert added: “I am delighted that several of the leading exponents of Russian culture are honouring us with their presence. I should like to thank and congratulate all the organisers of the events and initiatives, my Government and the Russian authorities, whose support was particularly valuable, and extend my warm wishes of success to this wonderful operation.”