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MOSCOW, January 9 (Itar-Tass) — The 3rd International Christmas festival opens here on Wednesday. It will begin with spirtual music of Russia, Ukraine, Bulgaria, and Spain. For a third year in succession, the festival is held by Maestro Vladimir Spivakov and Metropolitan Ilarion Alfeyev at the Moscow House of Music.
The programme for the opening concert include "Christmas Oratory", one of the best known works by Metropolitan Ilarion who acts as Evangelist. The oratorio is based on narratives from the gospels of St Matthew and St Luke about the birth and the first days of the earthly life of Jesus Christ. The librettto makes use of liturgical texts dedicated to the Feasts of the Annunciation of the Mother of God, the Nativity of Jesus Christ, and the Presentation of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Works by Chesnokov, Kastalsky, Tchaikovsky, and Rachmaninoff are to be also performed at the concert.
All the works are to be performed by two choirs -- the Moscow Synodal one and the State academic Russian choir named after Alexander Sveshnikov -- as well as by the State academic symphomy orchestra named after Yevgeny Svetlanov under under the baton of Merited Artist of the Russian Federation Alexei Puzakov (Synodal Choir cantor). Soloists will be as follows: Svetlana Kasyan (soprano), Stanislav Mostovoy (tenor) and Alexei Tikhomirov (bass).
A Bulgarian choir from the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Sofia will perform in the Svetlanov Hall on January 12. Orthodox chants are to be sung by choristers of the Kiev Lavra of the Caves, Russia's oldest monastery.
A boys' choir from the Spanish monastery of Montserrat will be the festival guests for the first time on January 17. On the day of the Feast of the Baptism of Christ, January 19, the choir of the famous Sretensky (Presentation) Monastery will demonstrate their skill.
At the concluding concert on January 24, the orchestra and the "Choral Singing Masters" under the overall direction of Vladimir Spivakov will perform rarely sung Requiem by Karamanov, as well as works by Tchaikovsky and Taneyev.
Spivakov, when speaking in connection with the holding of the Christmas festival in Moscow, said, "Even in people who are distant from religion, there is room in their souls for religious feeling. It was precisely this feeling that impelled composers of all ages and so it will be as long as the world exists, since music is part of of the truth which is essential to the human beings".