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Special Events
It was a truly wonderful evening of music and a rare opportunity to see Anna Netrebko and Dmitri Hvorostovsky together in recital. What a wonderful way to spend an evening!
— Jonathan Estabrooks, The Juilliard School

More Special Events

RCWS occasionally hosts events to raise funds for our projects in Russia. Click the pictures below to learn more about two recent popular events.


Benefit Gala with Anna Netrebko and Dmitri Hvorotovsky

The Russian Children's Welfare Society for the first time in its history hosted a fundraiser at a concert presented by Carnegie Hall on May 30, 2007. The concert featured two of the leading opera singers in the world, Anna Netrebko, Soprano, making her Carnegie Hall debut, and Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Baritone, accompanied by the Orchestra of St. Luke's. Both Anna and Dmitri are Honorary Directors of RCWS. The sold out evening was a complete success. The Society sponsored a group of retirees from the Tolstoy Foundation and also gave out tickets to vocal students from the Juilliard, Mannes and Curtis music schools. Afterwards, the RCWS held a private post-concert reception with the artists in attendance. After all expenses, the charity earned $100,000.

It was a performance that will go down in recent history as one of the great evenings of this revered concert hall. The event was sold out weeks in advance and immediately before the performance people were desperately trying to purchase tickets. The atmosphere was electric. A guest wrote: "There was a party (and also a concert) at Carnegie Hall last night, and we were there. What a party it was! The audience was chock full of handsome young men and women, many conversing in Russian. It was like a dream from the past. The chemistry between the two stars was something to see. Two incredibly attractive and supremely gifted Russian mastersingers at the top of their game, they each played shamelessly to the excited audience. In my 40+ years of concert going, I've never seen anything like it. Here's Anna Netrebko in a fetching black gown, singing the most difficult opera arias to perfection, even, and this is the hardest possible thing to do, creating characters in a concert venue. And there's incredibly handsome Dmitri Hvorostovsky doing the same thing. When they sang their three duets together, the chemistry was smoking."

Of the performance, one critic wrote: "Ms. Netrebko served notice from her very first roulade in Je veux vivre that she was in complete command and that her stunning instrument can shake the very walls of Carnegie Hall. As often happens at the opera house, the talk at intermission centered around the disbelief of first time hearers of her live performance." Of Mr. Hvorostovsky he wrote: ". he was his mighty self, dazzling with extraordinary breath control and long lyrical lines." He concluded by stating: "All this was great fun but just a prelude to a wonderful encore program. Having her chance to vamp, Ms. Netrebko blew the lid off of any remaining Carnegie Hall reserve with a sassy Meine Lippen sie kuessen so heiss of Franz Lehar in which she not only captivated the audience - and, it seemed, some individual members - but even conducted the orchestra for a while. [Anna blew a kiss to the President of the RCWS.] Mr. Hvorostovsky countered with his signature realization of Ochi chornyje ("Dark Eyes"), a surefire hit. The pair ended with La ci darem la mano, a welcome sendoff for the soprano who will be performing in Don Giovanni at Covent Garden soon. What can I say? Some nights you just want your guilty pleasures."

It was a fabulous evening and the post-concert reception went on to 1 AM at the Rohatyn Room at Carnegie Hall. The Society thanks Chopard for its support and supplying beautiful gift bags. Anna is an official brand ambassador of this Geneva based company. We also thank the professional staff of Carnegie Hall for working so seamlessly with us. In addition, the Society expresses its gratitude to Art Saguirian, President of BMC Imports Ltd, Oxford Capital Management, Igor Gorbaletov, James Wolfensohn and Board members: Michael Jordan, Tom McPartland, Doug Paul and Peter Tcherepnine.

One guest summed up the extraordinary evening by writing to us: "Thank you so much again for the wonderful event - it was unlike anything I've ever heard or seen - fantastic!!"

RUSSIA! A Celebration of Russian Culture

On September 27, 2005, The Russian Children's Welfare Society (RCWS) hosted a fundraising evening in conjunction with the exhibition at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum - RUSSIA! The theme of the evening was "A Celebration of Russian Culture" honoring the great cultural contributions Russia has made to the world. Over 400 guests attended and the Society raised over $40,000 to support our on-going programs in Russia.

Opened on September 14th, 2005, RUSSIA! was the most comprehensive and spectacular showing of Russian art ever sent to the United States. Organized by a team of leading American and Russian curators, RUSSIA! was conceived as a series of key moments that, added together, told the remarkable and interconnected history of Russian art of the last nine centuries and Russian collections of Western art since the eighteenth century. The leading museums of Russia, including The Russian Museum, Hermitage and Tretyakov Gallery, lent 300 of their most precious masterworks.

The Russian Children's Welfare Society had the exclusive use of the museum allowing guests to enjoy a private showing of this incredible exhibition followed by a reception at the Consulate General of the Russian Federation in New York.

The evening's highlights included a speech given by Suzanne Massie, whose outstanding ability as an interpreter of Russian culture and bridge builder between the Russian and American people has been acknowledged by both countries. She spoke about contributions of Russia to world culture. Anyone wishing a copy of this fascinating talk can receive it by writing to the Russian Children's Welfare Society. Valerie Hillings, the co-curator of the RUSSIA! gave a well-received talk about how the exhibition was put together.

The musical portion of the evening began with Sergei Prokofiev's stunning Suggestions diaboliques, Op. 4, No. 4. It is hair-raisingly difficult and was excitingly performed by the acclaimed pianist Ignat Solzhenitsyn. The noted cellist, Andre Emelianoff and pianist Dmitry Rachmanov followed with a richly played movement from Variations on a rococo theme by Peter Tchaikovsky and were joined by Gulnara Mitzanova, mezzo-soprano, who beautifully sang the composer's poignant None but the lonely heart. The musical portion of the evening ended with Prelude in C sharp minor of Sergei Rachmaninoff nobly played by the eminent pianist Eteri Andjaparidze. The Society is grateful to these extraordinary artists for a memorable evening.

In addition, the evening included a special display of current and estate jewelry collections by Van Cleef & Arpels, a jeweler to Russian nobility and aristocracy since the 1920's.

The Russian Children's Welfare Society applauds the generosity of Peter Tcherepnine, Event Sponsor and Corporate Sponsors - Alexandra Investment Management, LLC and Aton Securities Inc.

Petroushka on the Hudson

From the beginning, the "Petroushka on the Hudson" cruise has gained popularity among young professionals residing in the New York area, many of whom were born and raised in Russia and are fully aware of the plight of those less fortunate. This fundraiser has become a favorite sister event to the Petroushka Ball.

Petroushka on the Hudson 2008

The 8th Petroushka on the Hudson event took place on Thursday, June 5, 2008. Over 200 guests were again in attendance, including special guest Diana Vishneva, Prima Ballerina of the Kirov Ballet and the American Ballet Theatre.

Live music was provided by Ljova and the Kontraband, featuring Inna Barmash of Romashka. In addition to dinner and dance, Petroushka on the Hudson guests enjoyed a lottery (known as "fanty" in Russian), which was arranged by jeweler Valerio 888. A lucky winner took home an exclusive set of amber jewelry. All guests received gift bags filled with Elemis skin care products, Valerio 888 amber pendants and KIND health bars.