On 30 June 2018, the 13th Charity Gala was held in the Winter Palace. It was attended by members of the political and cultural elite, scholars, scientists and cultural figures, directors of major Russian museums, stars of the theatre and cinema.
The guests ascended the red-carpeted Council Staircase to the Hanging Garden of the Small Hermitage for a welcome cocktail. Those who wished were offered a special programme that took them to the Halls of Rembrandt, Leonardo da Vinci and the Italian Renaissance.
In the Pavilion Hall, the Peacock Clock was specially wound for the occasion and after it chimed the company made their way through the state rooms of the Winter Palace to the Jordan Staircase. Various surprises awaited them along the way.
In the Picket Hall there was a one-day exhibition featuring items recently donated to the Hermitage by benefactors. There was a Bible with illustrations by Marc Chagall (a gift from the Delzell Foundation), a banner and equipment of a Sudanese warrior (a gift from Sergei Girdin), two designs by Hani Rashid for the building of the Museum of Contemporary Art in the Hermitage–Moscow Centre (a gift from the Hermitage Foundation, UK), a glyptic work by O.M. Korostelov entitled Hunter of the Constellation Orion (a gift from Maxim Artsinovich) and a ceramic dish mounted in bronze (a gift from Yury Abramov). The donors themselves were among the guests of the gala.
In the Great Church of the Winter Palace, where personal belongings of members of the House of Romanov are exhibited, one more gift was on show – a portrait of Nicholas II by an unknown artist of the late 19th or early 20th century (from Anatoly Vilkov). Religious music was being performed in the church by the Urbi et Orbi chamber choir (artistic director and conductor, Oleg Slugin). The Armorial Hall was the setting for a performance entitled Recollection of the Ball.
Before the start of the banquet in the Jordan Gallery, the guests of the charity gala were welcomed by Mikhail Piotrovsky, General Director of the State Hermitage. During the meal, the guests were able to view the exhibition “Arte Povera. A Creative Revolution”.
The display of the exhibition “The Lombards. A People who Changed History” in the Manege of the Small Hermitage heightened the impression made by Handel’s music. Extracts from his opera Rodelinda, regina de’ Longobardi were performed by the Soloists of Catherine the Great ensemble (artistic director Andrei Reshetin; soloists – Vera Chekanova, soprano, and Darya Teliatnikov, mezzo-soprano).
The gala ended in the Pergamon Hall of the Small Hermitage. The evening was adorned by a ballet duet created by the outstanding contemporary choreographer and director Angelin Preljocaj for his film Polina performed by Alexander Sergeyev, leading soloist of the Mariinsky Theatre, and Anastasia Shevtsova, who played the main role in the movie. The dance programme was conducted by the choreographer Natalia Berezhnova, Russian champion in the Argentinian tango. The variety-jazz band of soloists from the Tavrichesky orchestra played for the company with Dmitry Gaivoronsky soloing.
Among the guests this year were Dorrit Romanova, widow of Dmitry Romanovich Romanov, Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky and Transport Minister Yevgeny Ditrikh, Deputy Justice Minister Yury Liubimov, Governor of Veliky Novgorod Gleb Nikitin, the directors of major Russian museums – Marina Loshak, Zelfira Tregulova, Vera Dementyeva, Natalya Metelitsa and Olga Sviblova, the famous film director Darren Aranofsky, the actresses Xenia Rappaport, Marina Alexandrova, Maria Abashova, Anna Tsukanova-Kott, Aglaya Tarasova, Anastasia and Arina Shevtsova, representatives of show business and fashion – Alla Verber, Tatyana Kotegova, Marina Zhigalova and Yekaterina Mtsituridze, the artists Hani Rashid and Pokras Lampas, the journalists Igor Garanin, Yurate Gurauskayte, Yelena Letuchaya, Alexander Nevzorov, Vitaly Dymarsky and Nikolai Uskov, the art collectors Yury Abramov, Amin Jaffer, Jean-Paul Claverie, Yevgeny Satanovsky, Pierre de Labouchère, and many others.
The donations collected will go to the fund of special-purpose capital for the development of the State Hermitage, the museum’s endowment fund.
Support for the evening was provided by Ingosstrakh, the Hennessy Cultural Foundation, the DLT department store, the Russian Caviar House and the Festival Diaghilev. P.S. Informational support was provided by The Art Newspaper Russia and Instyle.