Moscow plans birthday bash

MOSCOW — With Moscow’s 20th film fest out of the way, the Russian capital is in final stages of preparation for an event that will figure considerably more largely in the city calendar — celebrations marking the city’s 850th anniversary set for the first week of September.

The scale of the event, as well as the importance attached to it by Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov, have been such that the number 850 has been visible on practically every building or publication since the beginning of the year. With the total jamboree budget coming in at about $55 million (of which $12.5 million has been raised from sponsors), it should be a show to remember.

Russia’s film and TV world is set to play a leading role. The festival’s main gala spectacular, a music-theater-lighting evening show to be presented on Red Square in the shadow of the Kremlin Sept. 5, is being directed by Andrei Mikhalkov-Konchalovsky.

With a cast of up to 500, Konchalovsky will produce the show in cooperation with U.K. production firm Tribute — best known for its Pink Floyd “The Wall” show — and with the Moscow-based Russian Theatrical Agency. According to Tribute’s Mark Fisher, lighting and decorations will come in from London on 20 trailers, and will include a 20-meter bell tower, as well as fire-breathing dragon.

Music stars expected to be involved in the event include Luciano Pavarotti, as well as local talent Valery Georgiev, Yevgeny Kissin and Yury Bashmet, Konchalovsky told local press.

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