A Night at the Opera

A little over a week ago, we were all still in Moscow. It’s a little hard to believe now, at the end of the first week of classes, but a week ago it was equally hard to believe that soon we’d be starting the semester.
In classes this morning, 203 read a poem by Andrei Bely and 303 read a poem by Boris Pasternak, and after classes, we had tea with our professors and received our certificates of completion for our courses at RSHU. We had sandwiches and pirozhki and then returned to the dorms to get ready for the main event of the day.
We met in the lobby and set out into the night. After a short metro ride and a trek through the labyrinthine and snowy streets of the theater district, we arrived at the Gelikon Opera. (The main image for this post is a mosaic wall-fountain in the opera house.) We handed over our coats and many of us switched out our snow and salt-crusted boots for fancy shoes we’d brought with us.
We made our way upstairs and we, along with a number of other theater-goers, got an impromptu tour of a set of three rooms just off the main lobby. The really interesting thing about the tour is that none of us are quite sure if the man leading it was an employee of the opera house or not. He was certainly familiar with the building and the uniformed workers seemed familiar with him, but he was not dressed to match the others and we saw him later in the audience. Life is full of small mysteries.
The opera was Evgeny Onegin, based on Pushkin’s novel in verse. It was quite good; all of the performers were excellent singers, and the chorus numbers were quite impressive. We all agreed that the best moment was the aria sung by Prince Gremin (the rank of prince in 19th century Russia didn’t mean the son of a ruler, but it was the highest of the noble ranks) in the third act. As I said at the time, he did not so much steal the show as take it by the hands and elope with it.
All in all, an excellent night, though I think we were all very aware that tomorrow would be our last in Moscow. For this trip, at least!

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