Wednesday, December 17, 2014

What's On in Tashkent

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Scene from Love, Death & Rock n Roll staged at the Ilkhom theatre
Tashkent is a marvellous city.  It is so pleasurable to ride the beautiful metro, stroll along the canals, visit the wide range of museums and enjoy the parks. It is a shame that tourists usually just stay one night and then head out to the ancient Silk Road cities.

What is frustrating for visitors, however, is finding out what  events are scheduled in the city. There is no Uzbek "Time Out" publication and staff at Tashkent hotels are usually not up-to-date with what's on.

Here are my tips to enjoy the city's theatre, music and cinema. Note that you will need to constantly use online free translation services - see below for an illustration.

Also note that in summer, from mid-June through mid-September, theatres and concert halls tend to close.

Armed with performances, times and phone numbers, you can then ask your hotel reception staff to contact the venue, double check the information, book tickets. and arrange transport if required. Generally performances start early, around 1800 - 1830.

1.  Alisher Navoi Opera and Ballet Theatre

This beautiful theatre is under renovation. At this stage it is not known when it will reopen. Instead, opera and ballet performances, as well as pop concerts, are held at the Turkeston Palace Concert Hall. Usually the program is published about 3 weeks in advance. Tickets are around US$10.


2.   Tashkent State Conservatory of Music

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Tashkent State Conservatory of Music
As well as training outstanding musicians, the Conservatory's four halls are frequently the venue for European and Uzbek classical, jazz, techno and pop concerts. The Uzbekistan Symphony Orchestra performs there as well as foreign performers.

Website:  (frequently down, so call: +99871 2445320, +99871 2449508)

3.  Ilkhom Theater

The innovative Ilkhom Theater was founded in 1976 and was the first theatre in the USSR without any links to government. As well as theatre, there are jazz and rock concerts held there, a regular cinema club and art exhibitions. Sometimes English surtitles are provided - look for these words in the program: с титрами на английском языке. However, even if there are no surtitles, try to catch a performance there. The space is cool, there is a café and the energy of this company is remarkable. Tickets less than US$10.


4.   Russian Academic Theatre
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Scene from Bulgakov's Zoyka's Apartment at the Russian theatre

If you are a Russian speaker, then this company, performing plays from the classical and modern Russian repertoire will appeal. Tickets about US$8.


4.  Uzbekistan National Academic Drama Theatre

Yes - performances are in Uzbek. But it is a chance for you to experience a slice of Uzbek cultural life.  There are musicals based on Uzbek folk tales, as well as contemporary and classical plays. Tickets about US$6.


5.  Tashkent Events Newsletter

A simple, fortnightly online publication, this newsletter is pitched at expatriates in Tashkent. It includes information hard to find elsewhere (e.g. free yoga classes at the India Embassy in Tashkent!) and is useful for details about exhibitions and craft bazaars.


6.   My Day

This very useful website consolidates "what's on" in the city. There is an extensive food and restaurant section, cinema, theatre, exhibitions and sport.  Be prepared to spend time understanding how the site works. It is in Russian only but well worth the effort.


7.   Afisha

Similar to My Day, Afisha consolidates concerts, theatre performances, exhibitions etc. There is also a section on fashion and children's activities.


Online translation 

There are many free online translation tools, such as Google - . Select the language options from Russian to English, then copy and paste the website address into the Russian box.Click the link in the English box to render the site in English.

Google's Chrome browser offers an automatic translation service of web pages.

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Using Google's online translation service

If you know other helpful sites, please send them to me.

Related posts: 48 Hours in Tashkent
Another 48 Hours in Tashkent
Tashkent – A Night at the Opera
All Tashkent posts