How does a balalaika sound

The bell sounds softly

"The contemplative days have made some people lose their senses" - this is how Joachim Ringelnatz sees the Christmas season. Still - would we like to miss them, the loyal musicians of the "Franconian Christmas" or the spirit-filled "Black Gospel Singers"? Or our Russian friends, who are now singing to us about the “Russian Christmas” and on Tuesday and Wednesday - just in time - still bringing us the “pictures of the Tsarist times”? (Ensemble Ivushka, see picture on the left).

No, these hours of reflection, of pausing, are probably part of it, and so the concert of the Don Cossack Choir in the theater had been sold out for weeks. Together with a small balalaika orchestra and the Caucasus dance group, the guests from Russia offered a varied program of high professionalism, free from false pathos and sweet sentimentality.

The a cappella sung Christmas and folk songs, the chants of the Russian Orthodox liturgy, are created by the eleven singers in their neat uniforms full of simplicity and beauty. With the Cossack songs "Along the forest", "The bell sounds softly" and in the ballad "The twelve robbers" they give an impression of the diversity of Russian folk tunes: sometimes melancholy, then spirited with the crack of their strap whips.

The small orchestra consisting of balalaika, domra, button harmonica, bass-balalaika and drums introduces itself with variations on a Russian folk song, then shines in a brilliant version of the famous "Csárdás" by Vittorio Monti. In cooperation with the choir (conductor: Hauptfeldwebel Kirill Kaminskij) there are evergreens churning out: the indestructible “Wolga tugs”, which Manuel de Falla, Glenn Miller or the punk band “Z” have already reinterpreted. Here they are rewarded with a lot of applause, as well as “Kalinka” or the Russian romance “Black Eyes” with the tenor Vitalij Manzheliy.

With their wild jumps and pirouettes, the “dance group Caucasus” stands for Russian temperament and fire. Two dancers delight with the classic kasatschok: arms crossed in front of the chest, then alternating jumps between stretched and bent legs from a crouch. In addition, there is a kind of dance competition between the two with artistic elements. Big applause.

After “White Christmas” by Irving Berlin, the “father” of the choir, Viktor Kuleschow, comes on stage to sing “Silent Night”. After his career as an opera singer, most recently at the Stanislavsky Opera House in Moscow, Kuleschow founded his choir in 1992 to continue the tradition of the Don Cossack choirs. With great success - the audience in the Schweinfurt theater was also very enthusiastic. Manfred Herker

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