Necropolis of the Russian Art Masters

IMG_6227When planning my recent Russian trip, I spent a fascinating yet morbid evening on the website findagrave.com. In Vienna I’d read that the Zentralfriedhof cemetery was a fascinating place to visit but we ran out of time and it’s somewhere I hope to revisit. I anticipate, though, that it’s unlikely I’ll visit St Petersburg again and so I wanted to make sure I ticked off paying homage to some musical heroes whilst I was there. Continue reading

Opera and outdoor picnics

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What does summer sound like to you? Maybe it’s the pock pock pock of tennis, the buzz buzz buzz of a wasp or the pat pat pat of heavily-applied suncream. For me, summer starts with the sounds of corks popping, sandwiches being unwrapped and singers doing their vocal exercises. By that I mean the season of opera festivals that signal the beginning of British summer time. I’m going to talk about four different opera picnic combo options: Opera Holland Park, Grange Park Opera, Big Screen Opera and firstly, Glyndebourne.

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How to get a Russian Visa

IMG_6477Getting a Visa can be confusing and complicated. When I booked my recent trip to Russia, I hadn’t really thought about it until after I’d booked the flights and accommodation. Luckily I am an early booker and so I had looooooooooooads of time to get this sorted, but I was a little overwhelmed by how convoluted the process seemed to be. However it definitely wasn’t as confusing as I’d anticipated. Here’s the steps I went through… Continue reading

Musical mooch in Moscow

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I’ve just got back from Russia and had the absolute best time. I can’t recommend the place enough – both St Petersburg and Moscow are drenched in music and history, and you can hardly walk down a street without seeing a plaque with a famous name on it (particularly Lenin’s).

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Lenin woz here

There are numerous individual musical locations I’m going to talk about later, but I thought I’d start off with a musical mooch I took, taking in a few locations within a 30 minute walk in the centre of Moscow. Continue reading

Versailles

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In the Hall of Mirrors

Somehow I always manage to go to places at just the wrong time for musical experiences – you’d think as a musical traveller I’d know better. Whether it’s off-season in Vienna or Versailles, I always manage to go when the music stops. It’s like I’m really bad at international musical chairs. Continue reading

Opera Bolognese

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Bologna has three nicknames – la dotta, la rossa, la grassa: the Learned (due to its 11th century university, the 2nd oldest in the world) , the Red (for the architecture) and the Fat – needless to say, I was most interested in the latter. The city is a lovely place, not somewhere I would’ve thought to visit to be honest, but I was lucky enough to have a friend who lived there so I popped over for a visit to catch up, soak up some sun and culture, and eat a lot of gelato.

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