What will Madonna bring to Russia this time?

In August, the famous US pop diva Madonna will give concerts in Moscow and St. Petersburg.

These concerts are part of the diva's world tour to present her new album called "M.D.N.A." The tour will start on May 29 in Israel. The singer is planning to visit 26 cities in Europe, and also Australia and South America. She will spend one week in Russia.

This is the third time that Madonna comes to Russia. Her previous two visits were accompanied by rumors, scandals and protests – and its looks like this one will be too.

When Madonna came to Moscow in 2006, the organizers, at first, were at loss where particularly she would sing. In the end, they chose the gigantic Luzhniki stadium, where rock and pop concerts are often held. But a rumor suddenly appeared that the diva's voice, reinforced by multiple microphones, would be so powerful that the stadium's roof might fall! Then, a fortnight before the day when Madonna was to come, another rumor appeared on the Web: supposedly, the singer wouldn't come to Russia because a certain fortune-teller had told her that some misfortune might happen to her there. Besides, a group of Orthodox Christians protested against Madonna's concert in Moscow, because in one of her previous concerts, she appeared in the pose of crucified Jesus, and some believers found it a blasphemy.

Despite all these rumors and scandals, that time, tickets for Madonna's concert sold well, but not as well as expected. The Luzhniki stadium can hold 70,000 spectators, but less than 40,000 came to listen to the pop star.

In 2009, Madonna sang in St. Petersburg – and, again, problems appeared about where she would sing. The show's organizers were insisting that it should take place in St. Petersburg's main square – Dvortsovaya, or Palace, Square, near Zimniy Dvorets (the Winter Palace), which, before the Bolshevik revolution, was the main residence of the Russian emperors, and now holds one of the world's most famous museums, the Hermitage. However, the Hermitage's director Mikhail Piotrovsky does not like it when rock or pop concerts are held near the museum. He believes that the powerful sound may cause damage to the museum's walls or to the pictures exhibited there. Mr. Piotrovsky agreed only when the show's organizers promised to him that this would be the last ever concert near the Hermitage's walls.

Another peculiar fact connected with that concert is that St. Petersburg's Communists, for some reason, tried to use it to advertise their party. They asked Madonna to decorate her show with red flags, five-pointed stars and other Communist symbols. However, the diva rejected this idea.

It rained on the day of the concert in St. Petersburg, but, still, about 50,000 people came to Dvortsovaya Square to listen to Madonna.

However, the spectators' opinions were sometimes quite different. For example, one girl enthusiastically exclaimed:

"The show was top class! Madonna is still as young, beautiful and talented as she was in the early days of her career."

But another girl wrote on the Web:

"The show was well organized, Madonna was in a good sporting form, but I couldn't remember the words of her songs however hard I tried… Madonna very artistically exploits people's eternal interest in sex, but she is more a showwoman than a singer."

One may like Ms. Madonna or not, but statistics say that she is the world's best-selling singer. 300 million of her CDs have been sold all over the world. She has also won 7 Grammy awards.

"Madonna is a genius of marketing," musical critic Yuri Saprykin says. "She is inexhaustible in inventing new ways of selling her production. In fact, her whole life is a well-staged reality show."

However, as far as Madonna's two previous concerts in Russia were not an indisputably tremendous success, this time, organizers decided that she won't sing at big stadiums or in squares. Both in Moscow and in St. Petersburg, the concerts will take place in halls which hold about 25,000 people.


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