How the Leningradskaya Pobeda concert was prepared

One of the main events in celebration of the complete liberation of Leningrad from the Nazi blockade has been a festive concert in the Oktyabrsky Big Concert Hall for many years. This evening, veterans of the Great Patriotic War, defenders and residents of the besieged city come here. Before the start of the concert, artists perform in the foyer, who, together with the audience, sing old songs, dance and watch footage of Soviet newsreels.
This year, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the established tradition was interrupted. The concert is recorded in advance. And the festive performance itself will be shown on television on January 27 at 20:00.

The main director of the Oktyabrsky Concert Hall Gennady Shagaev told the Petersburg Diary what the concert “Leningradskaya Pobeda” will be, dedicated to the 77th anniversary of the complete liberation of Leningrad from the Nazi blockade.

– Gennady Mikhailovich, this festive concert will be held for the first time without spectators. Does this mean that the online version of the concert will be inferior to the live version?

– Of course, we are all very offended. Because on this day veterans and blockade soldiers always came to our BKZ to see the performances of their favorite artists. Receive signs of attention from them, hear congratulations and words of gratitude. Just enjoy the festive atmosphere, beautifully decorated stage, its dynamics and design.

And most importantly, our veterans met and communicated with each other. They saw that they were needed and loved. This was very important to them. Therefore, we have always done this concert with a special feeling. However, the fact that it will now be shown online did not affect its theme, content and quality in any way.

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– Can we reveal the secret a little and tell what we will see?

– I have not yet seen the TV version, so it’s rather difficult to judge the final version. But I can say one thing with certainty: in any case, we did this concert “with tears in our eyes.”

The day of the complete liberation of Leningrad from the Nazi blockade is a great holiday not only for our city, but for the whole country too. And this topic is especially close to me.

– Tell us why?

– What is the terrible word “blockade”, I know from the stories of my mother. True, to be honest, she did not like to talk about that difficult time and did not often share her memories. She only said that it was terribly cold and constantly hungry. Thank God she survived. She was saved from starvation by her aunt, her mother’s sister. Although the very same child had a small child who constantly asked for food.

When the war began, my mother, with the same girlfriends as herself, went to production. It was the 103rd military plant. She worked at the machine, grinded blanks for shells. Now, alas, she is no longer with us. And other blockades are people of a very respectable age.

– Was this somehow taken into account when drawing up the program?

– Of course, in the concert, which consists of several thematic blocks, we tried to cover the entire chronology of events – from the beginning of the war to the Leningrad Victory Day. We touched upon the topic of children, the topic of Ladoga, the dedication of women in this difficult time.

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Scenes in which children’s groups participated, as well as artists who recited poems by Olga Berggolts and Yuri Voronov became cross-cutting themes. These are People’s Artists of Russia Nikolai Marton and Larisa Malevannaya. It is they who, by age, by creative content, know and feel more. And without them it would be impossible to do with this program.

The artists themselves admitted that it was not easy psychologically and sincerely to perform songs in this concert, because you penetrate these words, these melodies and you yourself begin to feel how hard it was to live at that time.

– Now is also a difficult time. Which artist was able to take part in the concert? Have there been any refusals?

– No. There was not a single refusal from the artists. Everyone came. It is a great honor for them to perform in our city in such a concert. And they were very grateful for this invitation.

Dmitry Pevtsov, Tamara Gverdtsiteli, Nikolay Marton, Larisa Malevannaya, Alexander Marshal, Zara, Elena Vaenga, Sergey Volchkov, Grigory Chernetsov, Anastasia Ivanova, Alexey Shagaev will take part in the festive program.

In addition, creative groups of the city will perform in the concert. Including the boys’ choir conducted by Vadim Pchelkin, fanfarists of the Mikhailovskaya Military Artillery Academy, the song and dance ensemble and the choir of the Western Military District ensemble, the district headquarters brass band and the Edelweiss ensemble.

The hosts of the concert were honored artists of Russia Zara and Alexander Marshal, TV and radio host Darina Sharova and artist Yuri Baltachev.
One way or another, the Great Patriotic War affected everyone. Each has its own story, its own pain. The main thing is that the younger generation continues to perform these songs. For example, Nastya Ivanova, the finalist of the children’s competition “Voice”, performed in our concert. Like a little girl, but she sings songs very soulfully. It is very important that even young guys through songs can touch history and preserve this memory. And when you watch this, your soul becomes a little calmer. This means that nothing is forgotten, no one is forgotten.

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– Recently, theaters were allowed to fill their halls by 50 percent. What are the prospects for the BKZ?

– While the permission to fill the hall by half, alas, does not concern us. The BKZ has too large an area. And concerts of stars, to which only 25 percent of the audience can attend, is unprofitable to give. They don’t pay off.

We have certain plans for February. But, most likely, these concerts or part of them will also have to be postponed.

But I can assure you: as soon as there is an opportunity to start our duties and again please the audience, we will immediately start working. But so far there has not been such a go-ahead. We are really looking forward to it.

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