With its rich and distinctive musical heritage, Russia has been a place I’ve longed to visit for many years. I finally got my chance in September, joining a genial group of WFMT listeners and fellow music lovers for a fantastic adventure. We spent four days each in Moscow and St. Petersburg, immersing ourselves in the sights and culture of these amazing cities.
In Moscow, we walked the fortifications of the Kremlin and Red Square, rode the Metro subway with its beautifully decorated stations, and explored the Novodevichy Convent and Cemetery, where prominent artists and political leaders are buried. I was deeply moved to see the graves of some of my favorite composers and musicians – Dmitri Shostakovich, Sergei Prokofiev, and Mstislav Rostropovich.
After taking the high-speed train, we arrived in St. Petersburg with its scenic canals and bridges. Our time there included excursions to sumptuous palaces and a day-long visit to one of the world’s great art collections, the State Hermitage Museum.
We also enjoyed several amazing musical performances along the way. In Moscow, our group was treated to an opera rarely presented outside Russia – The Tsar’s Bride by Rimsky-Korsakov. In St. Petersburg, we saw a thrilling performance of Cilea’s Adriana Lecouvreur conducted by Valery Gergiev at the sleek Mariinsky II Theater. We also spent a fun afternoon enjoying Russian folk music and dancing while sampling traditional foods and, of course, vodka!
I hope you enjoy these photos of our Russian adventure. We’d like to thank AHI Travel and our Travel Director, Sergei Pukhanov, for making this such an unforgettable trip.